FaceBook’s purchase of Instagram is being interpreted as a first salvo in FaceBook’s attempt to become relevant to mobile devices. It currently has 400 million people that access the network through mobile devices, and yet FaceBook is not a necessary part of mobile usage. The lack of money from mobile apps is also a huge concern for FaceBook, who must now answer to shareholders.
Some of the speculation is about a FaceBook OS for a smartphone. That would be the most comprehensive way for FaceBook to attack Google and Apple’s dominance. Instagram does not do that, per se, but it does provide an important foothold into mobile devices. The Instagram purchase is also about bringing aboard the talent into the FaceBook design team. Clearly that talent pool was onto something that FaceBook engineers have not been. FaceBook’s app does have integration into many mobile apps, so in a sense it is already the functioning platform outside of the OS. Expansion of that de facto status should not be too difficult.
The social media agency should begin preparing for a world where FaceBook’s mobile platform is not only monetized but also ubiquitous. Someday, possibly soon, digital brands on FaceBook may also find themselves well represented on mobile devices, which will force a difference in orientation towards the customers. Some of the differences in the new approach are a focus on broadband issues as well as multiple device viewing. Those will come at the cost of comprehensive information and entertainment qualities of a digital campaign.