From The Market Ticker
Failbook is out screaming again about “revenue” and the mobile space.
Look folks, let me tell you what my view of their mobile offering and potential is: Zero.
First, I have extensive data on the efficacy of “display ads” on a mobile platform. How? Because The Market Ticker and Tickerforum have run distinguished ads on any device detected (by the forum code) as a “PDA” now for a couple of years. The code that runs this blog, along with the forum (same software), detects a “desktop” (or other “large format”) display distinct from a “small format” display on its own and applies its own ideas as to formatting to fit.
The mobile user clicks on 1/10th as many ads on a per-impression basis as does the desktop user. This is consistent across more than two years of data. That’s a problem for anyone who is “focused” on the mobile “market” in the “advertising” space.
Second, Facebook, like so many other companies, is utterly incompetent when it comes to their mobile application. They simply do not give a damn about data economy.
Bring up The Market Ticker or Tickerforum on your handset. Do it on 3g service and 2g service. Notice that the load time is very reasonable in both cases. That’s because the code knows it’s on a PDA and gets very economical about what it sends and how.
In short the code is intelligent about what it does and adapts to the environment so as to maintain the user experience. It does this because I have an IQ greater than my shoe size, I wrote the code, and I understand that user experience is literally everything and thus used every trick in the book to optimize that experience over what may be a limited-bandwidth connection.
Facebook has done none of these things. Their native application is horrifyingly bad when it comes to data economy, to the point that from a cold start to having a consistent display you simply won’t wait on a 2g connection (I sure don’t!) and even on a 3g/4g one it can be 20-30 seconds or more before consistency is achieved. That’s horrible folks — simply horrible — and points to the people doing the work and review at the company simply not understanding the dynamic that they’re trying to interact with. I’m willing to bet that the model there is to use “rapid development” (e.g. IDE) style tools to build the app instead of taking the time to do it using native code where you can get very involved in data transport economy and optimize for user experience and performance instead of “how fast can we get this app out there to the users?”
This company appears to have children in the executive and software development executive offices who got punch-drunk with the 2000s-era craptastic so-called “software developer” and drank that Kool-Aid — with utterly-predictable results.
Disclosure: Positioned on the couch with a big bag of waiting for the inevitable “kaboom!” when this fad turns into dust.