Facebook: The big cheese of the mobile industry?

Hiten Shah’s retweet of this comment from @sbergel really made me think. Here’s the tweet:

RT @sbergel: Two billion pieces of content shared on Facebook each week –

The link leads to this InsideFacebook blog post on recently revealed statistics from Facebook.

So there are two billion pieces of content shared on Facebook each week?

So that’s 8 billion items a month. Or 104 billion items a year. Or, with the aid of a calculator, just under 200,000 items shared per minute.

Sheeeeeeeeeeeet! (to quote Senator Clay Davis‘s catch phrase from The Wire)

Facebook announced at Nokia World a few weeks ago that more than 65 million people are actively using their service via mobile device. And when they say ‘active’, they mean it. I can’t quite remember the specifics, but it wasn’t some namby pamby ‘logged in this year means active‘ rubbish. It was within the last 30 days or something like that.

Looking at Facebook’s published stats, I find it fascinating to consider what’s coming soon.

Here’s the mobile section:

# There are more than 65 million active users currently accessing Facebook through their mobile devices.
# People that use Facebook on their mobile devices are almost 50% more active on Facebook than non-mobile users.
# There are more than 180 mobile operators in 60 countries working to deploy and promote Facebook mobile products

What’s going to happen when those 180 mobile operators have actually delivered something?

Where would we be if, for example, Orange’s Motorola DEXT (or ‘Cliq’ in the States) along with their MotoBlur offering (which integrates Facebook directly into the main phone apps), becomes a category best seller?

That kind of future is rather exciting to behold. Where will we be when a full 30 million Britons login to Facebook via their mobile device every day?

Is that possible?

Could we, conceivably, get to that stage, any time soon? I wonder just how many Britons, just as an example, have got a mobile data plan? It’s still a *real* problem for your average consumer who’s still accustomed to the sad reality of 4-5 pounds per meg data pricing.

Facebook came along at the right time. It’s Facebook — way more than any other brand today — that’s galvanising the masses.

“What, you mean I can Facebook on this?” is oft commented when I’ve seen people evaluating handsets in shops. Indeed it’s a popular tactic, to include that as a ‘feature’ when you’re selling some of the more capable handsets.

The company’s efforts to either directly develop (or heavily assist) in the design of a dedicated application for as many device platforms as possible has certainly been useful.

If you thought the rather bollocks looking Facebook widget on the N97 and N97 Mini were a little limited, fear not. I briefly met the chap from Nokia who’s part of a team working with Facebook to integrate it properly (and one would hope, wholly) into the manufacturer’s handsets. The huge consumer draw for status updates and photo sharing is lifting millions out of ‘mobile poverty’. When new handset time comes round, I’m anecdotally seeing tons of normobs (“normal mobile users”) prioritising the feature of Facebook as a key buying decision.

What’s more exciting for me is that these consumers aren’t buying the ‘here’s a bollocks widget’. A lot — again anecdotally — that I’m meeting and interacting with, are specifically choosing their handsets based on how *good* the ‘Facebook stuff’ is on them. Witness, for example, that rather brilliantly integrated Facebook for Blackberry app. There’s many a twenty-something female normob walking about the city of London now, sporting a new Bold or a Curve with Facebook continually on in the background.

This is exciting, very exciting. Because Facebook is showing the way for the consumer. What’ll be really, really interesting is if they make good on the rumours, the conjecture, the potential that many have been talking about for some time — a Facebook mobile platform and framework for applications (and services). You only have to look at what they’ve done with their latest iPhone App — have you seen the second screen ready for an array of Facebook-deployed mobile applications?

We shall see.

In the meantime I’m delighted by the fact that new mobile users, having got hold of their new Blackberry or their new [whatever handset] principally for the purposes of Facebook are, naturally, looking at other applications and services that might be interesting. Since they’ve dealt with the billing/data/worry nightmare that may well have kept them from experimenting in the past, I’d hope that the trickle-down effect will continue to grow and grow. So that once you’ve done your 15 minutes of Facebooking, you might want to go and download a mobile audiobook via GoSpoken or even book a flight, hotel or hire a car with ShopQwik (who, by the way, is doing a roaring trade on flights at the moment).

It’s all good. Nice work Facebook. More of the same, please!

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

2 replies on “Facebook: The big cheese of the mobile industry?”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.