Quick Take: New Facebook Events
Facebook launched a new event browsing experience on iOS. It suggests and allows users to look for events on specific days as well as to adjust their location to see what events are going on anywhere in the world. It can also suggest events based on categories such as Music, Food, Nightlife, Sports & Fitness and more. This is another in a series of steps to revamp the Facebook Events experience. Facebook Events had 450m monthly active users in July this year, an audience worth concentrating on.
Facebook’s ecosystem has managed to become an omnipresent digital companion to consumers’ social life. Its end user strategy has always offered a digital improvement for consumers’ social life first, and then leveraged the data to come up with further improvements and drive ad sales. Facebook event suggestions is a good move, not only because it is a natural continuation of an on going strategy, but also because its positioning bypasses rather than competes with the efforts of Google.
This matters because the competition between Google’s and Facebook’s ad dollars is heating up. But as illustrated by the failure of Google+, their future prosperity is unlikely to revolve around strategies trying to steal users from each other’s core propositions. Both companies have gotten too good/big at their respective fields of expertise (Social life vs. Web Search) for their existing user bases to be meaningfully threatened by one another. Developments like Facebook events cement this further. The more each company’s offering improves around their core use cases, the less likely they will be replicated and challenged by ad-supported competitors. Also, the more unique/distinguished value is provided to digital advertisers, the more of a reason there is to extend their digital ad budgets.
Thus, it will be crucial for both to keep improving what they are best at (i.e. lean back Social Life Companion vs. lean forward Information Search Companion) and making sure that their propositions stay relevant to both users and advertisers in the digital environment for decades to come. The competitive battle of Facebook and Google is about capturing these new digital environments fast, not about driving each others’ products out of the market.
We are currently witnessing one such battle, where both are trying to grab enough of the mobile environment for their core (initially desktop) propositions to thrive in it. Owning the top 8 out of 10 smartphone apps with most users, it’s safe to say both Facebook and Google are succeeding so far.