In order to understand Workplace, you need to look at it in the context of Facebook’s global strategy, which for a few years now has been clearly focused on extending and diversifying its target market. And to be clear, the enormous amount of financial resources available to the world’s most famous and widely used social network definitely help, but they’re not enough.
Acquisitions, new features and expanded products and services are a risky modus operandi… and now there’s a new, never-explored target. B2B is Facebook’s new frontier.
And still, Facebook hasn’t missed a single step (almost)! From the acquisitions of Whatspp and Instagram, to the redefinition of Messenger with the introduction of “Live”, we’ve witnessed a constant expansion of the user base and contexts of use, where Facebook oversees and monitors our habits. Workplace is a logical (but not a given) piece of the puzzle: corporate B2B.
Workplace and Facebook: so alike and yet so different
Let’s address this right away – even if Workplace looks very similar to Facebook at first glance, that’s actually not the case. We have to examine how it works more closely. Facebook is open, public…and its goal is to widen our circle of contacts and interactions. Workplace is closed, limited to a company’s components, and resembles a business suite of services more than a social network.
Its aim is to replace a series of tools that are currently fragmented: video conferencing, chats, file sharing and data on the cloud. At the same time, it’s interesting to see the simplicity with which it manages to achieve all that. Basically, it has all the services already important to companies, but provides them in an innovative and stimulating way that also aids productivity.
So if Workplace is not a quite a social network, and not a social B2B either, surely it’s also not a competitor of Linkedin, or of Slack and its accompanying (and not well received) Google Drive / Google Plus.
The B2B business model
Another interesting element is its pricing model. It costs $3 per user for up to 1,000 active users, drops to $2 per user for up to 10 thousand users, and then just $1 per user beyond that
So the way a company pays for the service is different from the traditional Pay as you go model. This innovative pricing isn’t so favorable for smaller operations, but it works for highly structured companies. This feature seems to confirm Facebook’s desire to hit the “Corporate” target, which has been largely ignored by other social media companies.
The question that remains is: up to what point will Facebook have the strategic and economic capacity to cannibalize spaces and services? Will its product-centered approach work? We’ll soon find out.