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Android Ambitions Spur New Facebook Purchase

As it launches a new look for its Android app, it would seem that Facebook is also in the market for a new way of analyzing its performance. The social networking giant is on the verge of purchasing Bangalore start-up Little Eye Labs, a company whose expertise in mobile software could help Facebook to get the edge it needs within the mobile market.

To make the deal sweeter, it seems that Facebook has got the edge on Twitter, which had also been interested in purchasing the start-up. The deal is very sweet for the Indian tech market, which has been booming in recent years yet has hitherto failed to attract the attention from big international players. Other Indian companies will now be hoping their products can more easily get noticed. The Little Eye team, however, is thought likely to leave Bangalore when the deal is finalized, moving to California to work within the mobile engineering team at Facebook's headquarters.

Already well ahead of rivals in the mobile market, Facebook seems willing to invest a great deal to secure its advantage. Earlier this year it spent $85m to acquire cloud app company Parse. The Little Eye Labs deal is expected to cost it between $10m and $15m, with the final papers to be signed in mid-January.

Facebook is particularly interested in India as an emerging market where millions of people are gradually getting online, but acquiring Little Eye Labs would give it advantages the world over. It is a signal to businesses that they need to start making their Facebook advertising campaigns more mobile friendly.

This does not mean worrying about formatting, as Facebook itself will take care of this; however, it does mean thinking about the type of ads most appealing to the mobile demographic, such as more youth-orientated campaigns – where they make sense for the product or service being sold – and more use of images or video. Mobile users do not like reading lengthy passages of text; therefore, it will also be necessary to work on getting messages across in fewer words.

Facebook is also working on adapting its Android presence to fit in with what users say they want. This includes updating Cover Feed to include content from Instagram, Flickr and Tumblr, enabling marketers to take advantage of the Facebook mobile focus by working harder on their Instagram campaigns – already a smart move in the current market.

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