Is Facebook Home a Big Deal for Retail?

Discussion
Apr 15, 2013

If you’re a freak for Facebook and you own one of the few Android smartphones that can run the social platform’s new Home app, then you may be in social media heaven right now.

Home, for those not familiar, enables users to replace their normal mobile start screen with their Facebook feed. Turn on the phone and you’re instantly connected to Facebook. Another benefit if you like to stay connected through Facebook is that messaging is one of the features of Home. Users can tap on a friend’s face on the screen and begin chatting away.

The development of Home is part of Facebook’s strategic push into mobile. The company is looking to broaden the channels in which its core users engage, thereby also attempting to attract new customers and recapture former ones.

If Facebook is successful in expanding its reach through Home, it may become more attractive to retailers for consumer marketing and relationship management purposes. Ads and messages from companies users have "liked" will appear in the Facebook home screen feed along with friends’ postings.

While there has been a fair amount of hype associated with the app’s launch, many are finding the experience less than satisfying. The average rating of the 3,754 individuals who reviewed Home on Android Apps on Google Play as of 9:58 ET last night was 2.4 stars out of five.

Is Facebook Home a big deal for retailers and brands trying to reach consumers via mobile? How can marketers use it to better connect with consumers?

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10 Comments on "Is Facebook Home a Big Deal for Retail?"


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Ryan Mathews
Guest
9 years 1 month ago

Right now my vote would have to be, “No.”

To begin with the social media research I’ve conducted in association with A. T. Kearney tells me most branders don’t “do” social media very well. The ability to access a failed approach faster is just a formula for faster failure.

Also Facebook is in constant danger of becoming the next MySpace. The more it adds rules, changes formats and tries to monetize the more precarious its perch on the top of the social media heap becomes.

Also the user base—for now at least—is relatively small. In general I think it’s a mistake for any marketer—retailer or manufacturer—to keep jumping on every new platform without more careful evaluation.

Marketers need to understand the era of broadcast communication to consumers is over. It’s been replaced by this radical new concept called listening and responding thoughtfully.

Max Goldberg
Guest
9 years 1 month ago

Facebook is not a big deal for retailers and brands trying to reach consumers via mobile. Most consumers “like” a brand page to receive discounts, not because a brand is integral to their lifestyles. Once “liked” many fans rarely return to the page.

There is so little real estate on a smart phone screen that consumers are not going to want to see their FB information crowded by ads. FB Home may make the website more relevant to users, especially when its usage rates are trending downward, but it is not a mobile panacea for brands and retailers.

Camille P. Schuster, Ph.D.
Guest
9 years 1 month ago

Could be. Consider why people use Facebook—to connect with their friends. Will they want the first thing they see to be an ad? Will they be happy to have more ads intruding into their social time? Will they be concerned with the privacy issues being raised?

If people get around these issues and if advertisers find a way to interrupt social time in an effective manner, then it could provide a great opportunity. It will also provide more complexity by having to create material specific for this version of smartphones that is not common across all Android phones.

Cathy Hotka
Guest
9 years 1 month ago

I’m with Ryan. Both of my kids left Facebook for the next flavor of the month (Pinterest and Twitter.) I don’t think Facebook Home has legs.

Lee Kent
Guest
9 years 1 month ago

I’m not sure I think Facebook Home is going to be a big deal for anyone. Us older folks seem to be the ones using Facebook the most. Sharing pictures of our grand children, nieces and nephews, weddings, etc. Staying in touch with extended families and old friends.

The younger folks have moved on to Instagram, Pinterest, etc., and did I mention that they HATE being sold to? The young people will ‘like’ for the promotions, but when they get crowded out from their chat time with friends, they will move on.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest
9 years 1 month ago

In a word: No. In twenty words: nothing FB does—or will ever do—will be “big ” for retailers…it’s a social site, not a retailing one.

Shilpa Rao
Guest
9 years 1 month ago

Over the years, phones have evolved from devices that helped one to make a voice connection to a device which is the user’s window to the external world. Now most people check and draft emails, chat, play games, track their calender, calories, goals and many other things. Facebook is just one of the things people do on their phones. So in its current state, Facebook Home has to become a lot more to get accepted.

Most people have ditched Facebook to apps like Whatsapp and Kick which provide convenience at the finger tips, and this trend will continue. More than anything else , retailers need to focus on analytics platforms which could understand customer behaviour and help drive significant ROI for every investment that they do in marketing.

Ralph Jacobson
Guest
9 years 1 month ago

The biggest challenge for retailers and CPG brands with social channels is how to “monetize” them. Facebook and the other popular ones have not consistently proven profitable for the resources poured into them. I believe this new app may hold some interest with consumers, however, there is no long-term guarantee of its viability.

Martin Mehalchin
Guest
Martin Mehalchin
9 years 1 month ago

From what I have read, the Home interface makes it difficult to seek key information like one’s calendar or missed calls at a glance. Very few people’s lives are so Facebook-centric that they would subordinate the core uses of a smartphone to quicker Facebook access, so I doubt that Home will catch on at a scale that would be worth retailer’s focused attention.

Dan Frechtling
Guest
9 years 29 days ago

Facebook Home “Makeover” is too heavy handed for mobile users. The first impression leaves most users disappointed, and the novelty will wear off for the rest until Facebook creates more settings to dial it down. Right now it’s “in-your-Face”book.

On the other hand, retailers CAN connect with consumers effectively with Facebook Graph Search. The targeting is powerful because it includes age, gender, geography, interests, hobbies, relationship status and “likes.” You’re not buying impressions to reach a market segment. Instead, you’re targeting on a personal level.

And in contrast to Home, the reviews for Graph Search are strongly positive.

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