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Can Facebook adapt for mobile devices?

January 31, 2013

To reclaim its status as a $100 billion company, Facebook has the daunting task of re-engineering itself into a mobile business, The Wall Street Journal reports. Just over a year ago the social network’s mobile business barely existed, as the company focused on growing its desktop business to a billion users. But by late 2011, many users were turning to their phones’ Web browsers to access Facebook, and mobile startups like the photo-sharing service Instagram were emerging threats.

Facebook has since bombarded consumers and marketers with new mobile-ad formats and introduced an application for messaging and photo-sharing called “Poke.” Last August, the company released faster mobile apps for the Google Android and Apple operating systems, to help keep users on the mobile app and serve them more ads. Wall Street is looking for Facebook’s mobile-ad revenue to more than double from the third quarter, and for signs that users are embracing its latest mobile products.

The world’s largest social network had expected to profit from selling virtual goods in mobile games, but instead found that many mobile-game developers were reaching consumers directly with stand-alone apps. “Consumers can be finicky,” said Aaron Kessler, an analyst with Raymond James Associates. “Does Facebook have staying power on mobile?” — Greg Beaubien


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