Single Purpose Mobile Applications Threaten Facebook

By November 15, 2013Social Media

We are seeing more and more teenagers who are constantly on their phones. Whether it’s socializing on their phones through text messaging, Instagram, WeChat, Vine and other applications, we rarely see teens without their phones in hand.

According to a study from GlobalWebIndex, there has been a jump in active users for the mobile messaging applications WeChat, Vine and more, but what does this mean for Facebook?

It seems as though each time there is a new “top” mobile application, Facebook has to get their hands on it. Is Facebook afraid of losing its users to newer applications?

In 2012, Facebook bought Instagram. One of the top charted mobile applications from founders Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom for $1 Billion and recently put in an offer for application SnapChat, which said offer was not accepted.

With each new mobile application hitting the top of the teenage user charts, teens are less inclined to only use Facebook.

This chart from Global Web Index shows the active usage of trends in mobile applications.

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Which mobile applications are you using lately?

There is a noticeable trend toward single purpose mobile applications these days. The entire app can be optimized to serve one purpose. Examples include Instagram and Foursquare.

Instagram is an online photo/video-sharing application that enables its users to take pictures and videos, apply digital filters to them and share via social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

Where as Foursquare is a location-based social networking application that allows users to check-in to specific venues from their mobile devices.  Users can share where they are via Facebook and Twitter.

Although Facebook has the ability to share pictures, statuses, videos, articles and more; the single purpose applications like Instagram, WeChat and Vine are becoming more widely used among teens and their peers. Even businesses are adapting to this trend.

Examples of businesses adapting on Instagram:

  • Nike
  • Starbucks
  • Walt Disney
  • Ford
  • Whole Foods

Businesses like Nike use Instagram to target their main demographics. Nike’s demographic is aging and as their demographic ages they need to keep up with the latest on social media.

Examples of businesses adapting on Vine:

Lowe’s Vine account shows a great example of why they are using this specific mobile application.  They show two great examples of how to incorporate your products into features on their videos. If they offer lots of handy DIY tips, then that would give people a reason to follow them.

Examples of businesses adapting on Facebook:

  • Coca Cola
  • Apple
  • Target
  • Unilever

Companies like Coca Cola, Apple, Target and Unilever are all companies that are universal, producing many different products for many different types of people. Facebook is at the top of the list for most universal social media sites. Their demographic is everyone.

Each new mobile application adopted by teens could be harmful to Facebook because its core value revolves around peer to peer public sharing.

Another service included in the research from GlobalWebIndex is Snapchat. It was stated in the blog post, that in Q3 2013 their results showed that “10% of teens globally are using the popular photo messaging service, making it bigger than Pinterest, Vine, WeChat, Line, and LinkedIn.”

Moving forward it will be interesting to see the increase in growth rate with not only SnapChat but with the other widely used mobile applications. How big of a threat are these single purpose applications to Facebook? As more and more single purpose mobile applications are developed there is a likelihood that Facebook will slowly get phased out.

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