Facebook Lite is no lightweight

Three years ago, Facebook debuted its ‘lightweight’ app as the answer to poor data connectivity in developing countries. Now, with space on phones coming at a growing premium, more apps are joining the Lite party. Data-friendly Instagram Lite was quietly launched in Mexico in July, and Spotify has just released a pared-down version of its music-streaming app.

Today, Facebook Lite is the fourth most-downloaded app in South Africa on the Google Play Store and accounts for much of Facebook’s growth, with 200 million users worldwide. And it’s not just data-cost-sensitive users who download the app. Taking up just 2MB of space on an Android device (compared to 195MB for the regular Facebook app), it is suited to lower-end and older smartphones, where memory space is limited – devices that make up the majority of the smartphone market penetration in South Africa. Lite also runs pretty well on low bandwidth connections.

Text size and buttons are smaller through the app, and the overall design is incredibly simple with no in-app animation. Essentially, it’s a no-frills application, with all the bloat removed, leaving you with key functionality.

What do marketers need to know about Facebook Lite?

Despite the Lite market growth, there are no major changes needed to your social media strategy. Currently ads are placed and delivered in the same way as ‘traditional’ Facebook, and brands can’t choose to serve posts to only Lite users – yet. But two subtle tweaks to your creative can boost engagement rates: