Last week, Mark Zuckerberg announced a new Facebook mobile experience dubbed “Facebook Home”. It’s not an OS or an app but seems to fall somewhere in the middle. It will run on select Android devices starting April 12th and will be optimized for an exclusive AT&T device, the HTC First, which can be pre-ordered now and will be released on the 12th as well.
Facebook Home essentially replaces your Android home screen with full screen images from your news feed. This is the “Cover Feed”. You can flick through these aesthetically pleasing (assuming what you follow is pretty) posts and see captions with transparent backgrounds directly on the top of the post.
Facebook Messenger also has a new form – “chat heads” – little circles that can be moved around your phone’s display which expand into a message UI that includes Facebook and SMS chat. For more information visit Facebook Home’s dedicated page.
What do these announcements mean for media folk?
Facebook Home is another step towards full immersion of users into the Facebook world. Recent developments in Facebook Search and Promoted Posts have created opportunities to deliver advertiser impressions. In Facebook’s new post sizes, advertisers could conceivably serve a full mobile screen takeover to a Facebook user that has installed Home on their device. Facebook also plans to develop Home for tablets which leads us to wonder if there will be an announcement about a Chrome app or other desktop formats that similarly immerse users in a Facebook UI on other devices.
It will be interesting to see how many users want to replace a picture of their daughter on their home screen with their friend’s cats or uncle on his 5th vacation to the Bahamas this year. Or more importantly, how far Facebook will allow advertisers to go in order to capitalize on Facebook’s increasing share of user attention and screen real estate; full mobile screen takeover advertisements may be a bit much for users.
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