By Claire West
The euro zone debt crisis might be stealing a lot of Facebook’s thunder ahead of the IPO but we must remind ourselves that not only is this one of the biggest ever US stock flotations it will also create over 1.000 new millionaires.
Many commentators have expressed scepticism at the sheer numbers involved but what will this mean for the social network’s greatest asset — its users?
We caught up with Ernest Doku, technology expert at uSwitch.com
"Historically Facebook's model has been about growing the number of users and enhancing their experience, not monetising every last inch of the site. With shareholders entering the equation, that may now change.
They will want to see that Facebook doesn't miss out on the potentially huge source of revenue that mobile ads, customised to users' likes and locations, would provide. So Facebook faces a delicate balancing act if it is to keep both profit-focused investors and loyal users happy.
And if it puts a step wrong, everything could come crashing down.Facebook is close to achieving the holy grail of advertising platforms — the ability to weave brand messages into the fabric of people's social lives.
It provides advertisers with extremely detailed information, meaning they can produce very targeted campaigns. Users voluntarily divulge details of where they are, what they're doing and what they like on Facebook, all of which is diamond dust to advertisers.”
Nearly half of the 900million subscribers access the site from mobile devices — and this number likely to increase.
Doku goes on to say that,
“Facebook needs to be ready for this change. On the most basic level this means optimising the way the site looks, as the smaller screens of mobile devices mean there is less space for adverts.
The firm is already making inroads in the mobile app world. It has launched an app store and is attempting to buy the photo-sharing service Instagram. Facebook needs to ensure that it continues to move with what consumers want, which is to be able to access their favourite websites whilst on the go."