Facebook is the new Cookie, and that is how Google will crumble

Facebook this week announced their new Ad Exchange, basically extending their Video Ad network which was powered by LiveRail to Display Ads too. In short, this means that marketers spending money on Facebook can now use Facebook’s targeting capabilities on other display networks, essentially converting some of the other Ad Networks to Dumb pipes and out-performing other exchanges. People hoped Mobile RTB was going to be as game-changing as it was on the Web, the biggest hurdle was the lack of an equivalent to the Cookie on Mobile, due to which Exchanges started heavily depending on Data Management Platforms (DMPs) which tired to function like Cookies by aggregating data from various 3rd parties. But Mobile RTB never really took off, on the other hand, Facebook started to outperform Google and others on Mobile because of better targeting.
How powerful Facebook is at targeting the right user was already shown in the capability to deliver the best performance for App Install Ads, information a bunch of developers have shared with me. Other signals of this are Facebook growing at a rapid pace, and according to some estimates, they will overtake Google (and have done the same in the US already). This when they have just started leveraging Instagram and have not even though of Whatsapp.
As Facebook goes strength to strength it just shows they are sitting on the proverbial “pot of gold” w.r.t the user data. As it surges ahead, more advertisers will start spending money on it, thus more publishers will start using the exchange, thus making Facebook cash rich. And where will they spend that money? Probably rolling new products and features to keep users hooked on to the Facebook family of Apps. If they do succeed here, they will probably have the most useful data for targeting the users.
While there would be various Ad networks and Exchanges effected by this, the biggest looser here could be Google, as users go to Facebook and sister apps to talk to friends, talk to businesses and read the news, people will do few searches, which will hit Google and it’s revenues.
Photo credit: mkhmarketing / Foter / CC BY

The “Do you want to Exit” Pattern must Die!

Your users aren’t dumb.
User Experience is an interesting field, It can be something inherited by what came before your product (Motorola StarTAC) or can be forced onto you by the platform you are building on top of (Material Design by Google, The dialog boxes on Android & iOS). Once in a while, a popular design spreads its wings everywhere (Pull to Refresh)
If one were to refer to the Jesse James Garrett Model of User Experience and apply it to the Mobile ecosystem: between the first & second planes, i.e that Strategy & Scope planes, you would assume that the user:

  • Expects the App to behave in a certain way, expecting consistency in the experience of the App and that of the entire platform.
  • Knows how the platform behaves and he would be more than capable of navigating the platform.

If you look at the Android platform, Design patterns have come (ActionBar) and gone (QuickActions via Long Press). Some have been great, others not so much. But as such, why a pattern grew to be absorbed by Android or was thrown out, depending on how well that design pattern worked in the real world, and more importantly, did it make the user’s life simpler. Then someone somewhere decided to invent the “Press Back to exit pattern”. Which still lives today

These are top apps using the pattern, in an attempt to, well I guess, to make sure the user does quit the App “by mistake”.
Here is the problem

  • The user probably really wanted to quit your App. In which case, the additional back press is a pain.
  • You don’t really maintain a consistency experience, give than the user can just press the Home button and you can’t do anything about it.

This pattern does not really solve any purpose, especially one that can’t be measured.
If you are a Product Manager using this pattern I will judge you as you don’t know what you are doing, and are not depending on data. If you are a Business guy I will judge you for thinking your users are dumb. If you are a developer I will judge you because you don’t know your own Platform well.
Long story short, this pattern needs to die!!
Photo credit: orangeacid / Foter / CC BY