On Facebook, mobile is in everyone's mind, reports indicate people are spending more time using Facebook through mobile applications rather than on PCs. And on Wall Street, investors are putting a lot of pressure on the social network of Mark Zuckerberg to dominate the mobile world so they can accelerate growth and raise its sagging market shares.
But the challenge for Facebook, along with other companies like Google, which got its start on the Web, is to find the best way to serve ads to mobile users without cluttering up their small phone screens and away from frustration. For now, mobile ads bring less money than standard web ads, so the change to mobile revenues threatens to undermine Facebook.
Facebook top executives say the social networking giant is diving deeper into mobile, from new versions of their applications for the iPhone and iPad, which was released on Thursday. The new applications are part of what Facebook executives say is a transformation into a "mobile first" web company. The mobile product development has become a priority, said in recent interviews with the media, and each team within the company has been reorganized with the aim of integrating mobile into their mantra and DNA.
"We have restructured and focused basically moving around the company," said Mike Schroepfer, vice president of engineering at Facebook. "It was a very huge change."
As part of the reforms, product teams have been arranged so that they now make mobile versions simultaneously while new features are developed for the main website. Previously, the company would have new features to the website, and then a follow-core mobile computer with translations for mobile devices.
Facebook is also trying to spread its knowledge across the mobile enterprise. The company’s best engineers conduct training sessions every week for 20 employees at a time, teaching them how to program for Apple and Android devices. Around 100 engineers are working on Facebook mobile products, as Cory Ondrejka, head of mobile engineering said in a press statement.
Richard Greenfield, a media analyst at BTIG, mobile described the reform at Facebook as a blessing and a curse for the company. Advertisers prefer their ads to be hard to ignore on smaller screens – but at the same time, that's what annoys almost all users. "We call the mobile Catch-22," he said. "You're kind of stuck on who to prioritize."