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Get Ready for Facebook Mobile

Facebook is making a quiet push to gain access to your mobile phone number. In recent weeks they have made two noticeable changes that suggest preparations to dominate the mobile marketing space.

First they have started warning users who have not provided a mobile phone number that their Facebook security is low, and the first step to increasing their security is to provide that mobile number. This does boost security, as people tend to have only one mobile phone number, and a number can only be associated with one Facebook account. As a result, Facebook will have the the most detailed information available on every person who uses SMS messaging and web-enabled mobile phones.

The second move is a more recent change where they have removed the “suggest to friends” feature on pages, and replaced it with a “subscribe via sms” selection. This limits the ways business pages can be shared virally. No longer can a brand suggest to their fans that they share the page with their friends to build audience. As a result, more brands are pushed toward other forms of Facebook marketing like advertising, which typically has an abysmal click-through rate unless you offer something appealing for every click.

This change also encourages interest in alternative ways to reach the massive Facebook audience. Nothing encourages an appetite like having your dinner taken away. While online marketers are still trying to figure out ways to drive audiences to their Facebook pages, Facebook is cooking up an opt-in mobile marketing platform that dwarfs every other platform in both size and segmentation.

Facebook is constantly tweaking and experimenting with their user experience, and I can’t tell you with any certainty where this is leading. Only Mark Zuckerberg know’s that, and he’s not talking. But these changes indicate that Facebook is very interested in connecting your mobile number to your other account information. It also serves as a poignant reminder to businesses that use Facebook as a marketing platform that when we’re playing in their sandbox, Facebook can change the rules whenever and however they want.

5 Comments

  1. 1

    Its becoming a nightmare eventually Facebook along with others including Google will know everything about us. Eventually possible employees will be able to access this and assess you for the role you have applied for.

    • 2

      Simon, I can find stuff that I published on USENET in 1992. This predates Google. For that matter, it pre-dates the web. On the other hand, I’m not that gay guy who works in the photo department at the Wal*mart in Birmingham. The only way I can prevent a potential employer from mistaking me for someone who shares my name is by leaving very deep and clear footprints when I traverse the web. Unless your paranoid or have watched too many dystopian science fiction thrillers, it’s better to own your identity than to obscure it.

  2. 3

    If people could be bothered to spend 30 seconds to look, the ability to share pages hasn’t been removed at all. It’s simply been moved to the bottom of the page in the form of a smaller “share” button.

    Personally I hated the “Recommend this page” feature because I would get several recommendations a week for pages which clearly had no interest to me simply because people were just recommending them to all of their friends. Now, if you really want to share a page with someone you either post it on your wall or take 2 minutes to write a message explaining WHY you’re recommending the page.

    • 4

      Alex, you are partly right. Upon further investigation I learned that there was a bug that affected many, but not all business pages. The bug the Share button and since their new roll-out of business pages eliminated the bug, they just ignored it for several weeks.

      It appears the ability to Share feature is back for everyone who updates to the new business page format.

      I absolutely agree that taking the time to explain why you are sharing a page is important. Even my dearest friends send me crap I ignore because there’s too little time to read all of it, but then I later find out that there was a gem hidden amongst the crap that I completely blew by.

  3. 5

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