Admittedly, Mark Zuckerberg has made it known that his biggest roadblock with Facebook is monetizing mobile. Over the past few months, it has been evident that shareholders “share” that same concern. On May 17, 2012, Facebook’s initial public offering (IPO) was a lofty $38/share. Now, it’s a measly $20/share (give or take). Unfortunately, Facebook’s stock price was driven by speculation and historical growth. However, as the world changes, the question is, “How much will Facebook change/evolve with it?”
There are probably a plethora of very smart people who work at Facebook, but how does one company so vast make ends meet between mobile and $$$? In a video featured within an article on CNN Money (clixbee.com/mobileistough), Zuckerberg mentioned that forecasting the next 3-5 years of Facebook meant constructing a tangible plan for mobile.
Let’s hypothetically explore this topic for a moment. What kind of plan would you throw out on the table if you were sitting next to Zuckerberg inside of Facebook’s Palo Alto’s headquarters?
- Exclaim, “Hey Mark, let’s go ahead and charge users for something like… oh, highlighting posts!”
- Then rebuttal: Okayyyy, maybe not… Forgot about New Zealand. How about we clutter Facebook with advertising then charge users to use a “clean” Facebook? I mean, everyone is already so darn invested in the thing…
- Counter: Alright, so I’m getting a little warmer… What if we created a search engine to compete against Google and its Ads?
Let’s say, you were the one that convinced Zuckerberg to enter the search fray – you sneaky devil. Granted, there are over 1 billion searches on Facebook per day (most of them not related to business), however Zuckerberg and his team see an opening here. What better way to beat Google at their own game than to leverage social information. In this regard, Facebook has a heck of a start. Think of it this way, Facebook already has business pages with vast amounts of information on engagement, history, employees and so on…
Today, a search engine is no longer just about finding the right website for you (getting you from point A, Google, to point B, website). Gone are the days where 10 sites show up on Google’s first page with minimal distractions in hopes of providing you with just a “better experience”. Thanks to advertisers, distractions increased, Google’s revenue went up and the search engines had to change. How do you milk the most out of a huge cow? Add another. This is where I connect the dots. Enter the “middleman” (point A.5, a business page). This business page, Google + Local for example, will allow users to stay on Google longer and get their answer faster (i.e., a phone number, email address, list of services, products, etc.). Ultimately, more time on site = more money.
This is where Facebook has it made. They already have developed business pages within a social network that is actually… social. We have the Yin and Yang of search. Facebook has the social element ready for shipment (Facebook) but an undeveloped search engine (Yin). On the other hand, Google has an undeveloped social element (Google +) with a search engine ready for shipment (Yang). It will be interesting to see where Facebook will go in years to come, but if I were a betting man, search may be the key cog in how successful Facebook will be in the future, especially in regards to mobile.