It isn’t easy having a billion friends. Just ask Facebook.
Wall Street wants more profits, users are constantly threatening to leave with every new update, and Facebook Home is such a disaster that AT&T is calling an end to the HTC First after just one month.
The stakes could not be higher at Facebook headquarters. The company has made one thing clear though about what its future depends on: mobile. Getting there hasn’t been so easy. In recent years, the company’s strategy in spearheading mobile growth can be summarized into three main tactics: strangle, buy, copy.
The other day, news surfaced that Facebook blocked a game called Social Roulette which gives users a one in six chance of deleting your account. I can think of a couple people who could use this.
This isn’t the first time Facebook has brought down the hammer on a fledgling app. There was push-to-talk messaging app, Voxer, which Facebook viewed as a competitive social network. Most recently, Vine users were blocked from the ability to search for their friends on Facebook. The arguments for these are varied: competition, replicating core functionality, reciprocity, the list goes on.
Zynga and Branchout are two companies that became incredibly successful because of their deep integration with Facebook. Today, Zynga is the butt of all jokes and Branchout…when was the last time you heard about them?
It seems that success on the Facebook platform is only short-lived.
Facebook’s surprising acquisition of photo-sharing app Instagram last spring for a cool $1 billion became one of the most talked about stories in the tech community in 2012. Since its inception, Instagram grew exponentially, surpassing 100 million monthly active users by the time Facebook bought them. Was Facebook threatened by Instagram, a service that is based on Facebook’s most popular feature, photos? With its impending IPO just a mere month away, Facebook needed to build its profile as a healthy, formidable company to prospective investors. What better way to accomplish that then to snag one of the hottest apps on the planet?
Snapchat is crazy popular these days and isn’t just a sexting app for high schoolers.
Did Facebook try to buy the company as well? Who knows. Maybe they did and were turned down. “Oh yeah? We’ll show you what’s up!”
Boom. Facebook Poke.
Line is a messaging app that is crazy popular in Asia, with over 150 million users worldwide. The app lets you send “stickers” which are like emoticons on steriods.
Boom. Facebook Messenger is updated…with stickers.
Whose cereal will Facebook eat next?
You might’ve heard Facebook’s philosophy: “Move fast and break things.” That might work when you’re a nimble, young startup but now that Facebook has reached this stage in its life, things are different. All eyes are now on them. Mistakes are compounded. Everyone wants a piece of the pie.
How do you manage? Well, by acting like most big companies whose best days are now a distant memory. *cough* Microsoft *Cough*
Facebook isn’t going away anytime soon, but the challenges it faces today are formidable. Its current mobile strategy isn’t enough if it expects to continue to hold the throne as the king of social networks.