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Facebook Mobile more popular than its Website Interface

Facebook is increasingly accessed on Feature phones than on website and Smartphones
 Facebook Read Receipts.
 
 

Using mobile phone to access Facebook (for reading news feed, messaging friends over lunch, and browsing photos while traveling is becoming) more popular than accessing Facebook on website or Smartphones.

According to the latest report from comScore that Facebook users are increasingly using the mobile site m.Facebook.com (a service that's friendly to Web-enabled feature phones, the next step down from smartphones) than all of Facebook's smartphone and tablet apps combined.

Time spent on Facebook’s mobile site and apps per month (441 minutes) has finally surpassed usage of its classic website (391 minutes) — for Americans who use both Facebook interfaces.

Could be a problem for Facebook’s source of revenue

Facebook shows four to seven ads per page on its website, but very few ads per day in its mobile news feed. That means it makes a lot less money on these little devices. In fact, this week Facebook had to warn potential investors in its IPO that the more people who access it from mobile instead of the web, the worse its business is doing.

When Facebook launched in 2004 it was just a website, and it hardly showed ads at all. Over the years it launched a special mobile website called m.facebook.com, and apps for Smart devices like iPhone, Android, BlackBerry.

At first these smaller interfaces were just a way to glimpse Facebook while away from home. But as phones grew more powerful and Facebook’s apps got better, we could friend, chat, and Like no matter where we were. Now there’s 78 million Americans age eighteen and older who use Facebook mobile, and they spend 7.3 hours per month there on average, compared to the total 160 million Americans who use Facebook and spend an average of 6.5 hours on its website per month. That’s a big shift from when the web was preferred.

Facebook realized it had to start making money on mobile, but people hate traditional mobile ads. CEO Mark Zuckerberg didn’t want annoying banners that took up most of your Facebook screen. so Facebook’s solution was mobile Sponsored Stories. First showing up in March, these ads were marked “Sponsored, and could be about a friend Liking a company’s Page, a game your friend started playing, or a post by a Page you already Like. Seeing them occasionally isn’t bad, but if Facebook shows too many it could make people angry and less likely to visit.

So Facebook must definitely be working out a way to sort this and keep its mobile users engaged as Facebook also recognizes that feature phone users represent a huge and largely untapped mobile Web market -- far bigger than the current smartphone market.

Feature Phones more popular than smartphones

According to comScore, as of March, nearly 70% of all mobile handsets in use in the U.S. were feature phones.

While some smartphones are gradually getting cheaper and many feature phones are getting smarter, the high cost and typical two-year contract commitment required for most smartphones in the U.S. mean that feature phones will probably remain a huge part of the U.S. mobile market for some time.

In April, Facebook announced an upgrade to m.facebook.com optimized for phones with touchscreen browsers. This move was part of Facebook's strategy to streamline its mobile development efforts to create "one mobile site to rule them all."



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