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What Is Facebook Home?

Facebook Home is the social media giant's newest innovation. But what exactly is it and how can it help you? Read on to find out 

By
Diane S. Thieke,

 

You may have seen the odd commercials: a man on the plane with his friend in the overhead, his nephew who suddenly appears with a face full of chocolate, the flight attendant who finally tells the man to turn off his phone.

This is Home – Facebook Home – now available on your Android phone. Within a week of its launch, the software already had been downloaded a half million times.

If you’ve been wondering what it is and what it might mean to digital marketers, here’s a quick primer:

What Is Facebook Home?

Available only on the Android phone for now, Facebook Home essentially takes over the lock screen on your phone. Instead of photos of your kids or your favorite vacation spot, you’ll now see regular updates from family, friends, colleagues and brands. This puts social interaction right at your fingertip.

What Does it Do?

Facebook Home puts several frequently used tasks up front, most notably Facebook’s News Feed. You can now interact with the feed – like and comment on posts – without ever launching the Facebook app.

While that might be a self-serving feature, Home does make it easier to multitask, allowing you to surf the Web and get notifications of calls and social updates at the same time. 

Chat Heads consolidates text and Facebook conversations in one place. You and your friends are represented by profile pictures, which help you visually navigate between conversations. This is a feature that every teenager is sure to love.

The App Launcher allows you to save your favorite apps and launch them easily from the home screen, eliminating extra steps.

What, No iPhone or Windows?

Facebook is rumored to be in discussions with Apple and Microsoft to make Home available for iPhones and Windows phone, but Chat Heads became available in the last Facebook app update for iPhone. Only Facebook Messaging and News Feed are integrated, however.

Why is This Important?

Facebook Home is significant because it’s Facebook’s first product for mobile, an area where the company has been lagging. It’s also innovative in the way that it tightly integrates features. Chat Heads, for example, enables multitasking: You can play a game or browse the Web while answering text messages.

Further, it makes Facebook omnipresent, a move that could strengthen Facebook’s dominance and extend the social graph. People are likely to spend significantly more time on the social network. Or – maybe not. There is equal chance that people may reject Home as “too much Facebook,” as Wired recently said.

What Does Facebook Home Mean for Marketers?

This is certainly a first step toward Facebook’s mobile advertising platform, and we just may see the company break new ground in this space. Facebook CTO and VP of Engineering Mike Schroepfer told AllThingsD that they were looking at a variety of advertising formats for Home, especially video because it “is a very interesting way to build an emotional reaction.”

This focus on content as advertising rather than banners provides an intriguing glimpse into the team’s thinking. Content is what keeps people coming back to the social network, so it makes sense that it would be at the center of Facebook’s advertising model for Home. Schroepfer and his team are likely to look for ways to integrate advertising that is not only relevant, but also compelling.

That kind of thinking makes the launch of Home a big deal and why we want to keep an eye on it.

Diane S. Thieke is the president and founder of Simply Talk Media, a digital media marketing consultancy. With more than 25 years in digital media and technology, she helps clients build stronger relationships with their customers and communities, using both social and traditional channels. Follow her on Twitter at @thiekeds or visit her blog at www.simplytalkmedia.com/blog.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

About the Author

Diane S. Thieke
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