Now that Facebook is $16 billion richer, we can all speculate on what the company might buy next with its big fat allowance. At this point, it looks like we might not have to wait long to find out. According to techcrunch.com (http://techcrunch.com/2012/05/30/as-facebook-rumors-swirl-opera-plays-up-its-social-cred-in-new-opera-mini-7-browser), Facebook is thinking about snatching up Opera Software. For those who are not familiar with the name, this company is the maker of the Opera web browser. While everything is still speculation at this point, launching its very own browser could be huge for Facebook as a social marketing platform.
With more than 900 million registered members, it is clear to see that Facebook has no problem attracting users. Keeping those users engaged – now that’s another story. Facebook is always looking for ways to boost engagement, and a browser could be the solution it has been seeking. Just take a look at Chrome. Seamless Integration with Google+, YouTube, and other tools has led to more people using Google services. Integrating a browser into the platform could produce similar results for Facebook, and if those users come in more engaged, it might mean big things for social marketers.
Lately, much has been made about visibility, or lack thereof, social marketers have on Facebook. Back in February, the company let it be known that updates from a brand page are only seen by about 16% of the page’s fans. While Facebook has recently released a number of tools designed to help marketers extend their reach, that reach could be extended even further with the introduction of a web browser, particularly if Opera truly is the apple of its eye. Opera is a veteran in the browser market with more than 200 million users. Its Opera Mini is the number one option for mobile users, so a Facebook deal could result in a significant boost in exposure for those targeting the platform. This could be a game changer for Facebook, with it’s current surprisingly low mobile platform activity engagement statistics to date.
Facebook’s strength as a social marketing tool could increase tenfold if the speculated web browser launch is followed by what many observers have in mind – a search engine. As you may have noticed, web browsers and search engines go hand in hand, and can lead to profitable partnerships for both sides. But the added functionality such a relationship might bring could serve as a huge perk for brands. Search not only offers more visibility, but more opportunities in the form of traffic, engagement, and conversions.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Some say launching a web browser is the next logical step for Facebook. Although we are dealing with a wait and see situation here, this certainly wouldn’t be a bad move for the social giant. It would be a smart move for Facebook to follow in the footsteps of other big players such as Google. Google is doing quite well with Chrome, and considering the pull Facebook currently has, it may be able to produce similar results. This potentially game-changing story is one to watch, for sure.