What does Facebook success mean to social business?

Facebook Inc. had a good week by Wall Street standards with a surge of about 28 per cent. Facebook’s stock price is still behind its initial public offering, but that should not be a factor for the channel. What is a factor is what Facebook is doing on the mobility side.

The company produced a second quarter profit of more than $333 million and while ad revenues went up the key was Facebook’s gains in mobile ad revenue. According to Facebook, mobility accounted for 41 per cent of ad revenues. That’s a jump of about 30 per cent from the first quarter.

This is a key stat that the channel should be paying close attention to.

Just this past April, Facebook made an interesting announcement that was pure social, while also being mobile. Called Home, it’s a new way to turn a smartphone into a living, social phone. The strategy for Facebook with Home was that users would keep coming back to Home often enough that Facebook could increase its relevance on the mobile side.

There was no word from CEO Mark Zuckerberg on if Home contributed to the success Facebook is seeing now with mobile ads. But you have to think it must have made a dent. When Home launched in April one pundit from Ovum Research said it would broaden Facebook’s appeal on mobile devices. It looks like that strategic bet is paying off initially.

Will it, however, lead to new social business models for channel partners?

My guess is that it will. Ovum said that there is a huge installed base of hundreds of millions of Android users, which will be a large chunk of Facebook’s total user base of more than a billion people.

So there is a market that wants to share information. The next step is can that information be vital business data? And, can that data be used easily in a collaborative fashion with other stakeholders? That’s the challenge for solution providers.

One point of interest from the analysts call was how Zuckerberg got defensive on the question of if teenagers were abandoning Facebook. I think that is a side issue. What’s become more valuable in my mind is how many businesses and enterprises are using Facebook.

Facebook quoted a stat: 699 million daily active users, up by 27 per cent from a year ago. I’m sure not all of them are teenagers. Meanwhile, mobile platforms are up 51 per cent to 819 million. How many of them are business people?

A more telling stat is that approximately 70 per cent of monthly active users in Canada and the U.S. are connected to a local business on Facebook.

Here in lies the business opportunity for channel partners to create meaningful collaborative solutions.

Beyond Facebook, social media in general may be hitting that proverbial wall, according to social media guru Bill Glaser of OverNear.

He says that social networking has predominately been about showing where people are or have been and who they are connected with. “You can only do this in so many ways,” Glaser added.

As a result, social media innovation is slowly beginning to be depleted and the purpose of social media is changing. The social aspect of social media is going to largely be determined by re-establishing meaningful and personal connections between users as a way to connect within the real world and building the mobile experience around the user, Glaser said.

That to me means there will be a heavy emphasis on business communication and collaboration. But there is still a long way to go especially if you look at the latest research from Flurry Analytics, a research firm from San Francisco that measures audience reach on mobile devices. Flurry found that more than 50 per cent of the people who respond to an outreach or request for information using social media like Facebook never get a response in return. That has to change.

Glaser says that the next two years will see a drastic change with social media as it transition into the realm of big data and cloud computing.

This trend could be a new avenue for solution providers to increase their portfolio of mobile and social business solutions for the marketplace.

One quick hit before I go.   OKI Data Americas of Mount Laurel, N.J., announced the promotion of Carl Taylor to Vice President of Marketing for North America.


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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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