You can say this about Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg: once they got the memo about mobile, internalised it and then made it an operational imperative.
The company has moved to create an ecosystem of services for app developers that, to my mind, is approaching a level of comprehensiveness that we typically associate with companies such as Apple or Google.
If you look at the announcements from last week’s f8 Developers Conference, the move to develop their own mobile advertising network, the Audience Network, committing to two-year API stability for its core developer platforms (aimed at giving developers more notice for important changes), and a handful of other improvements such as anonymous log-in that lets consumers try an app before having to fork over their personal info — show us a company that’s coming to understand the notion of building and maintaining an ecosystem.
While it’s not doing an OS or a new piece of hardware (yet?), the company’s strategic and tactical moves of the past 18 months are starting to make advertisers and app developers forget about the period a few years ago where it didn’t seem to occur to FB management that smartphones were going to be important.
For marketers, Facebook’s ecosystem has the advantage of bridging the Apple and Google ecosystems. The motivation to unleash Facebook Messenger is aimed at delivering on that strategic imperative.
Given that we’ve also heard rumors that the company is considering suites of apps, versus a single monolithic approach, marketers need to watch to see how Facebook’s ecosystem will support such new species.
By Mike McGuire - Research VP, Gartner