We are the Facebook generation'the ones who obsessively refresh our News Feeds, discreetly thumb through photo albums during morning meetings, plow through group chats, and communicate in likes, comments, shares, and statuses. We're fueled by social, inspired by visual, and entirely transfixed by real-time, real-life, right-now communication.
Mark Zuckerberg's recent announcement of Facebook Home'the free app for Android that transforms the mobile experience into an all-encompassing News Feed'has teenagers squealing, social enthusiasts buzzing, and marketing nerds dreaming of the exciting possibilities. Facebook Home isn't a 'Facebook Phone,'? as early buzz had suggested; it's an app that integrates with your current device to make social the key component of your day-to-day activity. So, whether you're reading today's headlines from the New York Times, working out with a Pandora playlist, or responding to work emails, you'll see a constant stream of Facebook chats, statuses, photo albums, birthday messages, and more.
What's in it for me?
Facebook Home is loaded with exciting social capabilities. Coverfeed'a mobile-friendly, highly visual iteration of the News Feed you know and love'is one click away (seriously, you don't even have to unlock your phone). Coverfeed gives you instant access to status updates, photos, and relevant links'it allows for easy scrolling (or stalking, if that's your thing), and it updates constantly so you're always in the loop. For the social animal, Coverfeed is like your best friend, love-to-hate enemy, and creepy uncle rolled into one: you'll never miss a beat'but you may be a bit too informed'and having instant, 24/7 access to Facebook may be hazardous to your health (and productivity).
Another exciting feature of Facebook Home is Chat Heads, a function that allows you to chat with friends from anywhere on your phone. No more clicking on the Facebook Chat app to load recent conversations'now, your coworker may pop up on the side of that Buzzfeed article you're thumbing through, or your mom may check in while you're scrolling through AMP's blog. This may be dangerous'no more hiding in your copy of 50 Shades of Gray on the Kindle app, or taking a break to edit that big presentation for work. You'll constantly be in the social loop.
What's in it for Marketers?
Facebook Home is the new baby of the Android world, and marketers are itching to understand what's in it for them. Though there is no ad space on Coverfeed (yet), Zuckerberg is excited about the possibilities as he strives to make Facebook a 'mobile-first company.'?
Right now, we can be excited about the access to more data. With Home, Facebook has access to a wealth of information on consumers'GPS tracking, phone usage habits, text information, and more'which should be able to greatly inform mobile marketing strategies. Still in its early stages, mobile marketing has yet to truly benefit from informed, targeted ad placements. Facebook Home should be a game-changer in this arena, and Zuckerberg could champion the effort to bring smart marketing to mobile.
Facebook Home will also allow brands to increase their social visibility. Home will allow for your brand's message to reach consumers quickly, efficiently, and frequently. Engagement with fans will also be sleeker'Coverfeed places a large emphasis on the visual'so there's an incentive for marketers to develop content that's bright, engaging, and stimulating.
With Home, integration is the name of the game: chats are seamlessly woven into apps, and your home screen is a constant flow of photos, updates, and messages. Bottom line: social comes first'and apps and hardware are secondary' but they all exist harmoniously in a world that's intuitively driven by interaction. Marketers should take heed and join the conversation accordingly. When posting on behalf of your brand, don't be spammy. Start a conversation that deserves a 'like'? or comment'one that creates conversation, not clutter. For brands to thrive in this mobile world, we need to adapt.
Android users can start playing with Facebook Home today. For the iPhone devotees, Zuck has said that Home should eventually make its way to Apple territory. Either way, it's an exciting time for mobile marketing. We're on the brink of something big.
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