Nowadays you don’t need to wait for an annual report from Gartner or Forrester to tell you what the major trends are in the technology industry. Just look around at what the 800 pound gorillas are doing…such as Facebook.
With Facebook’s release of its Snapchat-killer (aka as Poke for Mobile), it clearly spells out a number of interesting insights that all mobile devs should take note of and exploit. After all, Facebook has the usage patterns of a billion+ users and they can clearly see where the mobile ‘happy path’ is going.
Single function, features app FTW. Ask the best iOS devs in the business and they’ll tell you, users want to accomplish 1 core usage scenario on mobile devices. You start loading it up with other capabilities and your user engagement really suffers. Facebook is getting really good advice on mobile…or simply has finally figured this out.
Messenger, Camera must be KILLIN’ it! In supporting point #1, Facebook must be seeing off-the-charts type of engagement and utilization from their other standalone apps. Like, engagement numbers that must rival their main app #s…or getting close to surpassing them at the feature-level. I.e. more users using Messenger to communicate with friends or more users using Camera to upload photos than the comparable feature within core Facebook app.
Messenger must be REALLY KILLIN’ it. So, why didn’t Facebook simply integrate Poke for Mobile into Messenger? Once again, Facebook must be seeing levels of usage with Messenger where this app is no longer an experiment and there’s no way in hell they’d take the chance of creating feature-bloat with something that’s already a runway success. And, they probably want to see if this feature is more of a fad, and a standalone app would give them very clear analytics on its uptake and user behavior. But, in the end, they probably just didn’t want to fuck up the already very successful Messenger app.
Poor Android users. Yup, this app is iOS only. There’s not even a mention of when the Android version will be available. Facebook just don’t give a damn. And why should they with all the established fragmentation issues around Android for consumer apps. Once again, Android users are left out in the cold. At this rate, Android may be only viable for mobile devs in the enterprise or government deployments where being ‘open’ is a clear advantage.
Low-cost of entry, low-cost of exit on mobile. It may surprise some that Facebook developed this within weeks and had it up in Apple’s App Store just, like, that. But really, what’s the cost to Facebook’s users? Not much. With the iOS app experience being nearly frictionless, there’s no real risk to Facebook in throwing it out there. It’s just so easy to add an app (really a feature in this case)…or to remove it. Even if this thing is a flop, they really don’t burn any users along the way from the core Facebook experience. User simply delete the app…poof, done.
Facebook is ruthless. Snapchat isn’t even a clear success yet and Facebook is already trying to suck the air out of the category. Like that…within weeks. Why? Because they can…and they are ruthless. They will not allow themselves to be blindsided again by another Instagram, for which they had to pay nearly a billion dollars just to catchup. I’ll take it a step further. Everyone assumes that the Shapchat phenomenon must be segmented in the teens demographic. But guess what, maybe Facebook has data that suggests otherwise…just think about what you have messaged using Facebook!! They know everything and are exploiting it. Ruthless.