Facebook’s earnings were announced yesterday, and it shows some interesting statistics. About 53% of their $2.53 billion in revenue is from mobile advertising. With a bit of a late transition to mobile, Paper looks to be the start of something big for Facebook, but it doesn't erase their first few forays into mobile.
In 2012, Zuckerberg made a bold declaration to staff: Facebook would be “mobile first”. Though a bit behind the curve, Zuckerberg and crew are trying hard to make the switch. Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, said “Mark had to learn how to run a mobile-first company in the last two years, which meant thinking differently about how he ran teams, how products were built, and which engineering skills we needed”. That has led to considerations of building their own phones, and even brought us Facebook Home. It’s also bringing us Facebook Paper — February 3rd for iOS, and hopefully soon after for Android.
It’s also caused Facebook to buy Instagram, and make a bid for Snapchat. Rather than rely on purchasing services and apps, Facebook wants to build their own. Via Facebook Creative Labs, the social giant is altering course, much like they did in 2012. Going from desktop to mobile was tough enough, but now Facebook wants to give users the mobile experience they want, and that’s done via apps. “We just think that there are all these different ways that people want to share, and that compressing them all into a single blue app is not the right format of the future” says Zuckerberg.
Not all of the mobile ideas have been winners, though. Facebook Home was widely panned on release, which may have served a s precursor to Zuckerbeg’s stance on forcing people into a little blue box. Paper looks the part, but we’ve not been able to use it yet, so there’s no way of knowing. Poke may have served as the first wobbly steps for Facebook as a mobile entity, though, and shows they didn’t always get it. “A few people built it as a hackathon thing, and we made one release and then just kind of abandoned it and haven’t touched it since” Zuckerberg said. When looking to the next wave of mobile offerings from Facebook, let’s hope we get a bit more 'Paper' and a lot less 'Poke'.