Tech press buzzed on Thursday with news about Facebook Home
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled Home during a press event on Thursday afternoon. The event focused on the consumer’s experience with Home, but the software could affect the way brands approach Facebook.
Here are three things PR and marketing professionals should know:
1. It makes your mobile device all Facebook all the time.
What, exactly, is Facebook Home?
First of all, it’s not a phone, as some people had thought the social network would roll out on Thursday. It’s also not a simple app, but a suite of them that take over your phone. (Don’t worry; other apps can exist on your phone along with Facebook Home.) And it's only available for Android-powered devices.
Your phone’s home screen, for example, becomes your Facebook news feed. Facebook is calling this your cover screen. Here’s how The New York Times
“Pictures take up most of the real estate, with each news feed entry scrolling by like a slide show. Messages and notifications pop up over the home page. To ‘like’ something on the news feed requires no more than a double-tap. Facebook apps are in easy reach.”
Other features of Home include Chat Heads. This enables you to chat with your Facebook friends as you use other apps, whether that’s email, the Web, Words with Friends, you name it. When you get a message from a friend, one of these chat heads—that is, a picture of your friend’s face—appears on your screen. Chat Heads will appear when you're communicating via Facebook and regular old text message.
This minute-long video from Facebook offers a glimpse at the mobile software:
2. Organic brand posts will (likely) appear via Home.
If Home is successful, mobile engagement on Facebook will increase. If it’s wildly successful, engagement on mobile devices will spike.
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Now imagine your brand’s status update appearing on the cover screen of someone who has “liked” your page. Depending on your goals, this might be the holy grail of social media marketing.
According to a Facebook spokesperson, several, though not all, organic posts from brand pages will be included in Home's news feed when it launches.
“The types of organic content initially supported will be text Page posts, photo Page posts, and link Page posts,” the spokesperson explained. “Video Page posts will not be supported at launch but we expect to include them soon.”
Social media managers should prepare to create status updates tailored for mobile devices. Here’s a guide
to doing that.
3. Advertisements will not appear via Facebook Home—yet.
From a shareholder’s perspective, Home was big because it gives Facebook another venue on which to sell ads—which, let’s not forget, is the way Facebook makes money. And Wall Street responded favorably to the announcement: Facebook's stock price was up more than 3 percent at the close of trading on Thursday.
Currently, ads will not appear on cover screens, but they will down the road.
“We’re designing and working on a lot of really high-quality ad units in [news feed] already,” Facebook’s Adam Mosseri said at the launch event on Thursday. “We will bring those to cover feed and make sure they are aligned with the aesthetic and quality bar of everything else in cover feed.”
Mosseri's remarks appeared on Wired
Typically, Facebook rolls out new features to be very consumer friendly. Once users get accustomed to the format, Facebook introduces advertising components to be as non-intrusive as possible—though it’s not always the case.
Therein lies Facebook Home’s greatest challenges, according to Jan Dawson, chief telecommunications analyst at Ovum.
“The biggest obstacle to success for this experiment: Facebook's objectives and users' are once again in conflict,” she said in an email. “Users don't want more advertising or tracking, and Facebook wants to do more of both.”
The software for mobile phones will be available starting April 12, via the Google Play online store. A phone with the Home software built in will also be available. That mobile device is from HTC.