It was a sunny morning back in August 2008 when Stuzo launched its first-ever experience on a Facebook page for “Gossip Girl.” Back then, our engineers were still coding in Facebook Markup Language, and the creative was constrained to 520 pixels.
Facebook and branded experiences have come a long way since then. Specifically for pages, the canvas width has gone from 520px to 760px to 810px. While each iteration brought with it new challenges and opportunities for brands, we’re now in 2013, going through the most transformative change yet, and almost everyone except the consumer is behind the curve on this one.
“What change?” you ask: The mobilization of the consumer. More specifically, we’re talking about the shift of consumers no longer using desktops as their primary vehicle for online social interaction and, instead, rapidly adopting their mobile devices as their preferred tools for engaging with applications, both native and on the social Web. This shift in consumer behaviors is monumental — one that even Facebook, with its vast resources, is still figuring out both on the user and brand sides of the engagement coin.
For brands looking to engage consumers with experiences on Facebook, this means experiences that have lived on or been promoted through tabs now need to be promoted through the News Feed, and most important, all Facebook experiences moving forward need to be accessible via mobile.
At Stuzo, we believe in creating a seamless experience for the consumer, regardless of what device they are using to access the experience. We deliver experiences that have both mobile- and desktop-specific designs, and consumers are automatically directed to the appropriate experience based on the device they are using at that moment. On mobile, our experiences live within the Facebook mobile Web chrome, which enables consumers to engage and interact with the experience directly within the native Facebook iOS or Android apps.
Over the coming months, it will be interesting to see if Facebook extends the functionality of the new more feature on pages accessed via its native apps on mobile devices. From our perspective, we see this being the perfect mechanism for enabling brands and developers to deliver rich mobile experiences that are accessible directly within the page on mobile devices.
Regardless of whether this happens or not, the time has come where brands can no longer afford to treat mobile as an afterthought in the design of Facebook experiences. Data gathered from a bimonthly fan offer program that we launched nearly 10 times between the first quarters of 2012 and 2013 had mobile engagement going from 78 percent for desktop and 21 percent for mobile to 41 percent and 58 percent, respectively.
This drastic shift in engagement from desktop to mobile was made possible only because the app experience had both a mobile-specific design and a desktop-specific design with a seamless experience for the customer, regardless of device. If we had launched the same experience without a mobile design and with no way for the customer to access the experience from mobile devices, engagement through the 12-month period would never have catapulted to such rates, and, in the end, would have resulted in nearly a 60 percent drop in engagement.
It disappoints us when we think of the number of brands that we see out in the wild without seamless experiences and ways for their consumers to access optimized mobile experiences on Facebook, as these brands are missing out on 60 percent of their engagement potential — a number that will only increase through 2013.
Jed Singer has been studying, advising, and executing in social since 2006, and has worked with brands across verticals including the National Football League, National Basketball Association, Toys “R” Us, Coach, Procter & Gamble, Anheuser-Busch InBev, MasterCard, CBS, ESPN, and HBO. As director of client engagement at Stuzo, one of the original five Facebook Preferred Marketing Developers, Jed specializes in social strategy, management, and application development.