After the topline financial results and the user data, the No.1 thing Facebook chose to highlight in its “Recent Business Highlights” was Facebook Camera, a photo-sharing app. The company said:
- Facebook launched several new mobile products, including: a new Facebook Camera app for iPhone.
If you’re puzzling as to why that got such a high-profile mention, here’s a theory.
I had lunch recently with a mobile ad executive who visits Facebook regularly. We discussed how terrible Facebook’s mobile app is. Both of us tried to open it on our phones—him/her on an iPhone, me on my Android—and we both gave up after spending the best part of a minute watching pinwheels while the thing failed to load.
I put it to my source that this was baffling to me—Facebook’s users are swiftly moving to mobile from desktop, and the company itself recenrtly opened up a mobile-only ad market. Yet the Facebook mobile app experience is one of the worst to be found. What might Facebook do about that?
My source replied that Facebook is painfully aware of the shortcomings of its app, and was working on it.
The next question, of course, is how might Facebook improve its mobile ad offering. Sponsored Stories in your news feed are OK, but they’re a little underwhelming if you want to do something beautiful or creative.
My source pointed to the new Facebook Camera app, which sits as a separate photo-taking function on your phone. You can scroll through images on the app, each one is a nice big square with well-defined space around it.
My source suggested that Facebook Camera looked a lot more attractive as a potential medium for ads than regular Facebook did.
Now put this together with Facebook’s Instagram acquisition, and the way advertisers are already colonizing that medium.
Suddenly, Facebook’s enthusiasm for Facebook Camera—top billing—makes sense. Individual, single-function mobile apps may be the future for Facebook as an ad medium.
- CHART: Facebook’s Ad Revenue Grows To Nearly $1 Billion
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