Today’s Burning Question: Reaction to the ‘Facebook Home’ Announcement


ADOTAS – The burning question we posed to industry leaders today is: “What is your reaction to today’s Facebook Android announcement?”

Their responses are as follows:

“Facebook continues to innovate at the intersection of social and mobile, redefining what it means to stay connected with friends and engaged with the apps you enjoy at the same time. With this announcement, Facebook has introduced a new layer of communication that extends across all of a user’s mobile activities — and we expect that Facebook Home will also present marketers with new opportunities to reach out to the unparalleled breadth and depth of the Facebook audience. This will be of significant interest to large brands that want to use mobile to build engagement and loyalty within their target audience.” – Micah Adler, President, CEO and Founder, Fiksu.

“Facebook Home takes mobile and social integration to a new level, providing an enhanced user-experience for Facebook’s 650 million mobile users that is sure to have in immediate, innovative impact across the mobile ecosystem. Its Cover Feed, Chat Head, and Notification features truly speak to the unique interactivity of social and users’ desire for real-time connectivity by placing people at the forefront of the mobile experience. Although its immediate value to marketers still remains to be seen, Facebook Home offers the perfect platform for marketers to deliver real-time promoted posts of unprecedented relevancy directly to users’ Cover Feeds and, literally, into their hands.” Compass Labs CEO Dilip Venkatachari.

“What Facebook is doing is going to be viewed as a milestone moment for the visual revolution. This will be an inflection point as phones will evolve to being used primarily as a visual vs. text device. It’s important for brands to be able to cut through the noise and pinpoint what people are saying about them as it’s happening in order to engage with fans (Facebook hashtag). Already with Facebook Timeline, users began uploading and viewing more photos than ever before on Facebook. Facebook home is entirely photo-driven, meaning that number is going to increase. The visual UGC is the new prize; users aren’t going to want to see ads on their mobile home screens. Instead, brands need to work to create brand advocates from consumers – inspiring them to create fun, relevant, and engaging content The loser here might be video – even the front of the phone is a moving image.” Gregarious Narain, co-founder of Chute.

“Facebook mobile revenue needs to continue to grow and what better way to make this happen than a ‘Facebook Phone’ to keep highly targeted ads running at all times. Provided this is a successful launch, Facebook is now seriously threatening to take the leading position in mobile advertising away from Google. With such a deep integration into the OS, Facebook also has the ability to enable location-based advertising right on the home page of Facebook Phone and to start delivering ads to users based on a mix of contextual data, including local proximity to the advertiser. They could now even close the loop with a payment system for merchants which would then tie the ad to the revenue it generated in the store. This would be the holy grail of mobile advertising, at least for direct response marketers. Facebook now has a critical mass of advertisers using the Facebook Ads Marketplace which means ads could start flowing through to phones fairly quickly, in turn generating significant mobile ad revenue for Facebook on short notice.” – Marc Poirier, Co-Founder & EVP, Business Development, Acquisio.

“I think Facebook is taking a major step by putting their strong engineering resources into modifying a version of Android that hooks Facebook very deeply into the mobile experience. This is a good move for Facebook because they can better target and advertise to their audiences. However, this raises the problem of further fragmentation of the Android operating system, which can create different user experiences for consumers – depending on the phones and carriers they have. As a result, consumers may not get all their apps on their phones – and they may not even work on all phones – which can ultimately lead to a bad experience.” John Haro, Chief Technology Officer, Vibes.

“Competition is great for the market. There are many great reasons that Facebook could be successful in the phone market, like Amazon has been with the Kindle tablet. Facebook has a tall order though; they not only have to compete with the iPhone on the Apple side, but also Samsung for Android. Our data, based on more than 750 million devices running on our mobile analytics and marketing platform, shows that Samsung currently has 8 out of the top 10 most popular Android phones. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out, and you can be sure that we’ll be tracking this.” – Raj Aggarwal, CEO of Localytics.

“Today’s announcement from Facebook is a great leap forward for the app industry and will push a lot of platforms, applications and even marketers to become more app-centric. By rolling out a mobile-first series of apps integrated into Android, and based on the exponential growth Facebook is experiencing on mobile devices, everyone will have to start taking mobile more seriously. From a mobile revenue perspective, I believe that this will push the app economy forward, turning some of the mobile pennies into nickels and dimes as mobile marketing demand and usage increases.” – Oren Kaniel, CEO & Co-Founder, AppsFlyer.

“With its Android announcement, Facebook aims to put its social network at the center of people’s mobile experiences. It is a direct attack on Google and could loosen Google’s stranglehold on Android customers.  Beyond that it signals advertisers that Facebook is going mobile, which is what they have been demanding of Facebook.  It could be a major long-term win for Facebook.” – David E. Johnson, CEO, Strategic Vision, LLC.

“I think the biggest beneficiary of the FB announcement is actually the Android platform. FB has created something on Android that leverages the openness of the platform and might entice users to move away from iPhones, strengthening the growing trend.” – Paul Gelb, Head of Strategy, MoPub.

“Facebook wants to be the start screen for your life. Taking control of the mobile device and allowing people to personalize the way friends connect with one another (SMS, message, email, phone) is the first step in correcting social spam.” – Krishna Subramanian, CMO, Velti.

“Facebook Platform has been widely adopted across standard websites but this ‘social plumbing’ has yet to be spread across mobile. Facebook Home is Facebook’s biggest effort to date to extend the social experience across mobile devices.” – Rob Jewell, CEO, Spruce Media.

“Facebook is suffering from what many of its users suffer from – low self-esteem and the need for constant positive feedback. The social network is no longer a college start-up that can afford to take risks based on the fears it is facing from other upstart networks like Twitter. Let’s face it, regardless of the massive amount of people who have Facebook accounts, enthusiasts are a dwindling number. Why would someone want a device centered around Facebook when there are so many other apps folks use to do many different things? Especially a device with a lock screen, which is supposed to protect your device from others peering into it, that streams all of your Facebook content across it, publicly. Facebook is obsessed with being used. Facebook Home is nothing more than an app that is always running. Elsewhere, there is a movement right now for what we call background apps, apps that run while not open (one of my favorites being Moves). Facebook Home requires engagement using the Facebook app and is nothing more than a Flipboard-like ‘viewer’ with some basic functions that allow for liking and swiping. It still requires the actual app to do things that will show up in this new pervasive Home Screen Viewer. My initial reaction to Facebook Home running on Android is somewhat counter intuitive to what Google is trying to build with its own social offering Google+. I wonder how this will affect the ‘openness’ of Android in the future where more OS level operations are being exploited by app developers. Mark Zuckerberg made a bold statement when he said, ‘Home is the best version of Facebook there is.’ Zuckerberg’s claim leads me to believe that this is Facebook’s answer to the market’s insistence that it become more of a mobile-focused company. If that is the case, then I see this as a tremendous failure. I really don’t see this as a game changer and feel like it is nothing more than another attempt to keep Facebook afloat without addressing the real issues they face as a company which surround the lack of real social innovation.” – Craig Elimeliah, VP, Director of Technology and Digital Solutions at RAPP.

“Over-saturation. Facebook is now grasping, grasping and gasping. Its now long down its denouement. Should Apple ever get Siri right, it appears to be the ‘next wave’ for large portions of the current digital and advertising world. Go watch any of the old Sci-Fi movies (think ‘Minority Report’) and what we’ve seen is a ever-present access via voice to whatever we want. Social Media will blend into whatever the next naming term is used. Websites with PhP become obsolete, video may survive as a tool, but keyword search in video which takes us to the exact segment of a 60-second video that we want to watch becomes prevalent. Mega-corps can’t survive, because they can’t move fast enough. That’s been their problem and will continue to be. Dell is a perfect example, soon HP may follow, Yahoo re-creates itself all the time to survive. Once Google’s stanglehold on search is broken, it too will struggle. Another phone? Yawn. Let’s move on. [Mobile] Phones are now over 40 years old.”  – Christopher Laurance, Partner at Lightwire Media.



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