Facebook is only a business platform around the edges. Folks who use it for work most likely are breaking a corporate rule or two. No matter: What happens to the behemoth, good and bad, has both a direct and indirect impact on the state of the Web.
Mobility is a huge piece of the puzzle for Facebook, which famously struggled adapting to the new world of smartphones and tablets. That struggle went hand in glove with its initially disappointing IPO.
The ship has righted itself: The stock price is healthy and its mobile fortunes are rosy and getting rosier. eMarketer reports that Facebook’s share of mobile advertising revenue increased from 5.35 percent in 2012 to 15.8 percent this year. The result outstripped eMarketer’s predictions by 2.9 percent.
Google, of course, continues to dominate all forms of the online ad market. It slightly increased its mobile portion from 52.36 percent in 2012 to a projected 53.17 percent this year. That increase should be seen within the context of an expanding pie: Total net digital advertising revenues across all companies monitored increased from a bit over $104 billion in 2012 to a projected total of more than $117 billion this year.
Google’s supremacy was a given. The real news is Facebook’s strong numbers, which are a sign that its overall transition to mobile is succeeding. GigaOm notes this in its report on the eMarketer research:
The news shouldn’t come as a surprise — Facebook’s share of mobile users’ attention has been on an upswing. U.S. smartphone owners spend about 18 percent of their phone time on Facebook. The company gets more usage on mobile devices than on the web, a fact that was reflected in the blockbuster financial results reportedby Facebook for the three months ending June 30, 2013. During the quarter the company said that nearly 41 percent of its revenues come from mobile.
Facebook’s mobile initiative is ongoing. In mid-August, All Things D reported that the company planned to test a service that would enable shoppers to make mobile purchases using their Facebook login information. The goal is to make it easier to buy, the story suggests:
The product, sources said, would allow any shopper who has previously provided Facebook with their credit card details to make purchases on partnering e-commerce mobile apps without entering billing information.
The service would not be unique. The story points to others, including PayPal and services from Google, Amazon and lower-profile startups, that offer payment services. Each has its own spin, of course. The point is that the entity that “owns” the customer, or has the primary relationship, which may or may not include holding the actual payment card data, has a great advantage.
The company also is attempting to do good and do well. There is little doubt that Internet.org, announced in August by Facebook CEO and Co-Founder Mark Zuckerberg, is altruistic. The organization, which includes Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm and Samsung in addition to Facebook, aims to bring the Internet to the 5 billion people who currently don’t have it.
That’s a great thing for those 5 billion people. Adding a few billion people from which to draw customers wouldn’t hurt Facebook, either. Most of those people are in developing areas and therefore beyond the wired infrastructure, so the focus no doubt will be on mobile platforms. Regardless, they have some money to spend now – and will have more as time passes.