In light of their falling share prices, Facebook has turned to their mobile market in another attempt to boost advertising revenue.
The social networking site has rewritten its iOS app, converting it from HTML5 to the native Apple Objective-C code. The refined app will address the issues of the previous HTML5 version making it much ‘faster, more reliable, and easier to use’, according to Facebook’s Jonathan Dann. It is hoped this will lead iPhone and iPad users into staying on the site longer and thus, ‘increasing their exposure to adverts’.
The news follows a string of attempts by Facebook to increase their advertising revenue. Already, the site has begun to trial ‘sponsored stories’, a move which sees adverts connected to the users, and their friends’ ‘likes’, crop up on their news feed. In this case, businesses can increase the likelihood that their advert will be seen by paying a fee to the site. Earlier this month, Facebook also announced that ‘third-party app developers could start placing ads in users' mobile-device news feeds’. By clicking on one of these adverts, the user will be redirected to the particular app store to potentially purchase the app. Facebook gains revenue through this by charging a fee for each click.
Addressing their mobile audience is a smart move from Facebook as users increasingly turn to this platform. As well as the iOS rewrite, it is also hinted that ‘other mobile platforms are on the way’. This is both through the blog post and from reports that Facebook are aiming to recruit around 200 engineers to write for mobile by the end of the year. At present, the site is even running training sessions on writing code for iOS and Android.
The move has sparked the native-app debate and whether Facebook’s creation will see an increase in the number of these. Initially, Facebook bucked the current trend, creating an Objective-C code app, but this was later replaced by the HTML5 version. The reasons behind this were, in part, because of Apple’s software review system and because the HTML5 version ‘made it easier to make changes to the multiple platforms simultaneously’. This reasoning has been mirrored by numerous apps but recently, moves towards native apps have increase due to the advantages they afford. With Facebook actively stepping up their mobile app services, this is likely to see rivals and other app makers make similar changes. The US music service Pandora has reflected Facebook’s pioneering move, creating their own native Android app to add to their current HTML5 and iOS services.
Overall, the rewritten app from Facebook should be beneficial all round. Not only will the move potentially fulfil Facebook’s aim to increase their advertising revenue, but it may also see the further creation of native apps from other developers. Instead of merely opting for ease, these developers may now realise the real benefits from native apps and how they are appreciated by users.
Josh Bennett, Content Writer