The following post comes courtesy of Resolution Media, an Omnicom Media Group company. For more information visit www.resolutionmedia.com.
Long rumored to be building a Facebook mobile phone, Facebook upset this expectation on April 4th with the announcement of a new mobile application they are calling Home. The app, which will initially be available only for select Android models, adds a slew of new and noteworthy features to the native operating system. New features include the replacement of the phone’s lock-screen with a stream of Facebook News Feed updates, effectively making Facebook content front and center in the user’s mobile experience. A partner phone, the HTC First, was also announced and will come pre-loaded with the app.
How it Works
Starting on April 12th, you will be able to download the apps onto select Android devices or purchase the HTC First phone which comes preloaded. Once Facebook Home is enabled, turning on your phone or pressing the home button brings up a stream of posts from the News Feed. The “Cover Feed” as Facebook refers to it, turns your entire phone screen into a Facebook News Feed.
Facebook Home displays notifications on your phone for both Facebook as well as other Facebook compatible apps such as Instagram. It will also enable you to see Facebook chat notifications complete with profile picture even while using other apps. An app launcher will help you control which apps you’d like to have most accessible.
The HTC First has partnered with Facebook and will have Facebook Home pre-loaded, all you need to do is login to your Facebook account once to make it work. Currently the phone is exclusive to AT&T and available in the US only, priced at a modest $99.
Facebook Home will keep Facebook at the forefront of a user’s mobile experience, likely increasing usage and interaction with the social network for those who download.
Choosing a phone with such a reasonable price point ($99) reduces barrier to adoption. The lower price point and mobile focus may also be a move to drive higher engagement amongst the under 21 set who have started to drift away from Facebook.*
Here are three more key thoughts about the future of Facebook Home:
1) Advertising – No advertising will appear on the feed at the current time but according to Facebook will be integrated in in the future. If a user follows a brand or friend on Facebook, they will be able to see organic status updates as part of Facebook Home. These status updates will show as a full-screen takeover on a user’s mobile device, as part of the new Home feed. As such, for brands, publishing mobile-friendly content will be more important than ever, as that content will be more visible than ever.
2) Location – Facebook Home has a potential to become a stronger location-based platform, giving advertisers an opportunity to target users in real time, sending buzz alerts on their phones as customers pass by a store or engage with other of the phone’s location-based features integrated with Home.
3) Graph Search – As Facebook Home gets traction with users, we anticipate that Graph Search will see wider adoption and will become a focus for Facebook and advertisers. As Home is essentially a master app that serves as a gateway to other phone features, it pushes traditional search functionality to the background, potentially making way for Graph Search as a primary search tool for mobile users.
* Information about habits of Facebook users under the age of 21 came from Facebook’s annual 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Facebook’s announcement of Facebook Home introduces both a pseudo operating system (family of apps) as well as a partner phone, the HTC First, which comes pre-loaded.
This will keep Facebook at the forefront of a user’s mobile experience and may increase engagement amongst the younger generation.
No immediate action needs to be taken by marketers as Facebook Home will not feature ads at launch but should be followed closely for future opportunity.
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