Facebook is running a simulation for its employees to help them better understand the needs of the consumers. Every Tuesday, Facebook will be slowing down the site to give employees a taste of how some users in developing countries experience it.
Facebook hopes the initiative, dubbed “2G Tuesdays”, will help employees to understand how users in developing nations experience their website. The experience will help employees to understand where they need to improve their product to enhance worldwide use of Facebook.
“They’re going to see the places that we need to improve our product, but they’re also going to see the places where we have made a lot of progress,” Facebook’s engineering director Tom Allison said.
A 2G connection is a reality for many Facebook users. Of the 120 million active users in Africa, 57% of them access Facebook through a phone feature using a 2G connection.
Earlier this month, Facebook optimized its news feed to allow quicker access for users who had slow internet connections. Other initiatives the company supports, such as Internet.Org (an initiative to beam internet to African nations via satellite) and Facebook Lite (a mobile app specifically designed for 2G connections), show that Facebook is committed to gaining its next billion users, many of whom will be using a 2G connection.
The initiatives aren’t all in altruistic spirit. By expanding and optimizing its interface, Facebook is hoping to continue to build its user base in markets such as Nigeria and India. These two markets hold major potential for Facebook to increase its revenue.
Facebook has become a major advertising entity, with the most recent estimate of 1.42 billion active users a month. In this year’s second quarter, 96% of Facebook’s revenues were generated from advertising. Of that, 76% came from mobile advertising. If Facebook wants to continue to grow profits, it is clear that they must continue to optimize their mobile products, especially for those in developing nations.
Facebook is making billions of dollars in revenue in North America and Europe, but revenue in developing countries is lagging behind significantly. The revenue earned in North America is ten times that of the developing world.