On the Path to 1 Billion Users: Facebook’s Feature Phone Strategy
The Israeli mobile startup Snaptu confirmed on its blog today that it has been acquired by Facebook. The terms of the deal weren’t disclosed for Facebook’s first acquisition outside the U.S., but the sum was pegged at $70 million.
Snaptu builds applications for feature phones, and the startup worked with Facebook to develop its feature phone app, released at the beginning of this year. That app expanded Facebook’s mobile app availability beyond just smart phone users, bringing a Facebook app to over 2500 different mobile devices.
Expanding to New (Mobile) Markets
The acquisition of Snaptu is an interesting move for Facebook, indicating perhaps its plan to expand to new markets via new mobile markets – as the company continues on its trek towards 1 billion users.
The feature phone app built by Snaptu was one part of that, as it followed Facebook’s launch of Facebook 0 last year, a site where users in certain countries could go to visit Facebook and incur no data charges.
Making mobile apps available beyond the smart phone may be crucial to gaining new users as not-so-smart phones still make up around 75% of the mobile phone market. By making itself easily accessible via feature phones, Facebook is opening itself to those who might otherwise have the resources to visit the site.
Mobile Facebook Users are Active Users
Facebook says that more than 200 million users currently access the site through mobile apps. But here’s a more important stat, perhaps: Facebook says that people that use Facebook on their mobile devices are twice as active on Facebook than non-mobile users. That makes a resource like Snaptu important for helping Facebook make itself the central social hub for all mobile phone users, not just iPhone or Android owners.
The acquisition of Snaptu is the latest in a string of mobile startups that Facebook has picked up recently, having acquired the group messaging app Beluga earlier this month and the local mobile advertising startup Rel8tion in late January.
Image credits: Paul Butler
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