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Maybe We Now Know Why Facebook and Mobile Have Not Gotten Along?




Many people complain about Facebook’s mobile experience. For the longest time their app was just not very good. Even with the latest improvements the Facebook mobile experience still leaves a bit to be desired.

While it seemed that Facebook was simply focused on building their 900 million user powerhouse and mobile was backburnered as a result, that may not have been the case at all.

CNBC reports that as a result of early investor meetings there has been a change to the filings for Facebook’s IPO which indicates the trouble Facebook has with mobile.

Facebook said growth in the number of users using Facebook on mobile devices, which is hard to monetize, “may negatively affect our revenue and financial results.”

In an amended regulatory filing, the company said the number of people logging into Facebook is continuing to grow more quickly than the number of ads delivered.

Facebook said this is in part because more people are using the social network on mobile devices, where it shows a very small number of ads.

Could Facebook actually be the victim of the world’s move to mobile which is happening so rapidly right before our very eyes? Back in February when the first announcements for Facebook’s mobile ad plan were brought to light, this concern was there. At that time Facebook had admitted that it had failed to monetize the already 425 million mobile users it had and it did not go unoticed

The disclosure sent up red flags for analysts, because the company also said it does not “currently directly generate any meaningful revenue from the use of Facebook mobile products, and our ability to do so successfully is unproven.”

Facebook’s stating this initially was concerning but moving to the new wording that seems wary of rapidly growing numbers of mobile users and its potential to negatively affect revenue and financial results is a big jump. It should also be one that makes us all wonder just what can Facebook possibly do to monetize their mobile presence without frustrating users with too many ads in too small of a place. I’m not an analyst but this sounds pretty bad. Insurmountable? No. Pretty bad? Yes.

Maybe this is why Google has been content with letting Google+ slowly grind away in the background. Google already has the mobile ad thing working with search which is further bolstered by a 95% share in the mobile search game. It doesn’t need Google+ for monetization (although that doesn’t mean they won’t try). Imagine people en masse discovering that Google+ could be the place to connect with people in a mobile environment without being pitched every 2 seconds? Could Facebook’s absolute need to monetize the mobile experience be the reason for people to finally consider Google+ for real?

Far fetched? Maybe but I don’t see this development for Facebook as something that can be easily overcome. Could Facebook have missed this one so badly and painted itself into a corner that it may not be able to get out of?

What are your thoughts and impressions? As Internet marketers what does Facebook become if it cannot deliver in the mobile space?