While Facebook is being hyped for their upcoming IPO, another hype is in the pipeline: the introduction of mobile advertisements on Facebook.
Cool, but isn’t advertising all about offering a good experience? And that is exactly what the mobile apps of Facebook surely are not. Both the Android and iOS versions show a pretty low responsiveness when being used, crash a lot and are simple not really user-friendly. And the worst thing about it is that it’s equally slow on Wifi, 3G and E networks.
And it gets worse over time. I remember that the first version of the Facebook app was sluggish as well but surely not in the way it is now.
It’s no wonder that most – if not all – of my relatives no longer use the Facebook app but instead the stand alone Facebook messenger app which is way faster than the actual Facebook app. That message box is actually one of the primary reasons why many people use Facebook on their smartphones. The rest has simply become useless since the apps are pretty horrible for mobile use.
Therefor I’m not that sure if displaying ‘featured stories’ in the news feed, similar to how Twitter advertise on their main site, will have a big impact on the company’s revenue stream. Because it’s exactly because of the really bad user experience that I, and many others, have stopped using that newsfeed altogether on a smartphone. You’d almost think that it’s because they want to push their HTML5 mobile version of the platform that the rest of the apps have to stay behind.
In that perspective the statement by Facebook to potential investors that “the lack of ‘meaningful revenue’ from mobile devices, used by half of the 800 million users, could negatively affect the revenue intake as more and more users turn to smartphones instead of PCs to connect with friends” could well have a very negative outcome.
High time that Facebook starts cleaning up that mess first before it should start monetizing it. Then again, the upcoming overhyped IPO – I wouldn’t buy Facebook shares right now – is pushing Facebook to increase its revenue, and quickly.