Whether Facebook have launched the App Centre amid revenue worries to keep their new shareholders happy, or as a further means to keep users engaged (if all your apps are on Facebook, you’ll be less inclined to move elsewhere), it will have an effect on businesses that create and use Facebook apps.
What is the Facebook App Centre?
Currently, the apps found on Facebook vary from addictive cartoon-style games (often played by millions of users around the world) to social news apps that share stories you read automatically to your timeline. The bulk of them are intended for one thing: entertainment. Whether it’s a game, finding out your horoscope, automatically posting pictures of cats, or sticking virtual fridge magnets on your profile; there’s less generally less useful stuff.
Store Centre (Sorry, but ‘Center’ just looks wrong) is likely to change that, since Facebook are aiming it as a platform-independent app store. So as well as the option to charge money for Facebook apps (i.e. web apps that run within the Facebook platform), they will also be showcasing apps that simply use Facebook login (such as Spotify or Viddy), but run on iOS and Android Devices. They will then refer you on to the respective app store to actually download the app.
“The App Center is designed to grow mobile apps that use Facebook — whether they’re on iOS, Android or the mobile web.”
So what does this mean for your business?
- If you have an app that uses Facebook login already (but runs on iOS or Android), then getting it showcased on Facebook’s App store will be great way to put your app on the screens of millions of potential new users. Apps will be able to be rated, and Facebook say those with poor ratings and reviews will not be displayed.
- If you have an iOS or Android app without Facebook integration that could benefit from it, now would be a great time to get coding and add that functionality. Getting it into the App Centre could give you a whole new user base who have possibly never seen your app before.
- For businesses and developers that are creating new, engaging Facebook apps; (that is to say, apps that run within Facebook – this is getting confusing, I know) they now have the opportunity to charge for them. Previously, developers could make money with in-app purchases (e.g. games where you could buy extra in-game currency in exchange for real-world money). Now, Facebook are offering the opportunity to charge upfront for Facebook apps. This option should breed quality – users won’t pay for poorly-designed apps, especially if that level of quality was free before.
- For businesses that use Facebook apps to engage users, whether it’s an integrated e-commerce solution or a marketing app that shares a user interaction (and your brand) on their timeline; the App Center will not change the way you market via Facebook too much. You’ll still be getting most new users of your apps via your own Facebook page and shares from your current users. However, if your app offers genuine entertainment, engagement, or users find it useful; then you may see an increase in users from it featuring in the App Center.
How is the new App Centre going to affect your business? As a developer, do you feel your app will be seen as good enough by users that they would pay money, just to have it on their Facebook page?