Ever since Facebook tasted success with Facebook Messenger, where the company spun off the messaging app to make it stand on its own legs instead of being merely an in-app functionality on its core platform, Facebook is steadily going down the road of standalone apps.
Facebook Messenger indeed earned its fair share of criticism as the company forced its mobile users to install the messenger separately.
“The real reason that Facebook is pushing chat into its Messenger is to create another platform or silo from which Facebook can access you as a user. This might seem an odd decision on the surface, but viewed through the lens of a company that wants to spread its tendrils as far and wide as possible, it makes sense.” – Guardian
Apart from the benefit of being a completely separate application from the user’s standpoint, standalone apps hold value for the company as well.
First and foremost is the ability to keep adding more features specifically designed for the app and its exclusive user base.
The second is the ability to tailor the advertising on these channels based on the demographics of that specific user base.
On a larger scale, Facebook has been doing the same thing with Instagram and WhatsApp as well. They’ve been allowed to continue growing as separate entities despite being owned by Facebook, and in WhatsApp’s case they’re integrating even more functionality into the app in the form of photo and video editing – something they announced recently.
Facebook isn’t even trying that hard to exploit the synergies that are possible from the combination of three massive user bases totaling more than 3 billion accounts. Except for extending their ad platform to include ads to Instagram users directly from Facebook’s Ad Manager, they haven’t tried to push their own philosophies on to Instagram or WhatsApp.
That successful strategy is now being transplanted into their plans for standalone applications like Facebook Messenger. Facebook has now spun off one more application from its core platform, called Events from Facebook. According to the company, it is designed for people who want to keep themselves abreast of events happening in their local community.
The app allows you to keep track of all upcoming events and have your activity updated to your Facebook account. After all, if your Facebook friends don’t know what you are doing then what is the point in doing it, right? The added advantage of that is that your friends will see your updates on Facebook and get curious about the app which, for Facebook, obviously leads to another potential user.
We’ll be watching closely to see what other app Facebook spins off in the coming months. You can be sure there will be more to follow because the company needs a multi-app ecosystem where it can keep users “within the fold”, so to speak. That’s the only way they can nurture their advertising business and keep their multiple user bases coming back again and again.
In a way, Facebook is becoming more like Google, always looking for opportunities to add to its advertising revenues. Google did it with YouTube, making it the second largest search engine and feeding its ad business; they did it with Android by pushing device makers to install Chrome and Google Search as the default apps, again siphoning users back to its ad base; and they’re now doing it with the Google Pixel smartphone, Google Home smart speakers and many of their other recent initiatives.
And that’s why I’m certain we’ll see more standalone apps coming from Facebook’s stables. Intentionally or not, Facebook is following in Google’s footsteps and creating another ad empire on top of a massive user base, and that’s the crux of their entire strategy moving forward. They will do it with video very soon and they will continue to do it every chance they get so they can keep growing and keep their investors clamoring for more success.
Thanks for reading our work! If you’re reading this on Apple News, please favorite the 1RedDrop channel to add us to your news feed, or Like our page on Facebook. Please bookmark our site for more insightful articles on current and future technologies that are changing our lives.