app

Discovering the Benefits of Facebook Apps

Discovering the Benefits of Facebook Apps

In our modern age, we are already spending more time online than we are with any other media. To add to that fact, we are spending a lot of that digital time with our mobile devices–and, most of our mobile device time is spent using apps.

So, why don’t you have an app for your business yet? If you focus on just the U.S. market, Americans are spending over five hours per day in the digital world–around two hours of that time is spent on mobile devices. This is up 575% from 2010. This shows that customers want and need the simplicity and focus which apps provide. And, with Facebook being the largest social media site to date, it makes sense to build a Facebook app. We will share the benefits below

What is a Facebook app?

The Facebook App Center is where you can find apps and games. All you have to do is search for a specific game or app by entering its name into the search box. You can also use the search box to find the app’s website and send the app to your phone or tablet. Facebook apps are designed to utilize the core technologies of the Facebook platform. They also integrate Facebook’s notifications, news feed, social channels and other features to help generate interest among Facebook users.

Building a Facebook app

To create a Facebook app, you need an account. You then need to add the Developer application to your Facebook profile and click “Set Up New Application.” After that, you will name it, agree to the terms and load your logo. The good news is you don’t need extensive coding skills to create a Facebook app. However, you do need to have some basic knowledge of PHP and MySQL.

Also, all apps are written in HTML, Javascript and CSS. Plus, you can use any What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) HTML editor to write the content you want displayed in your Facebook application. The Graph API is the core of the Facebook platform. It uniformly represents objects in a graph, as well as the connections between them such as relationships, shared content and photo tags. Once you’ve created your app, anyone can add it to their profiles. Of course, you can always get help.

Building a Facebook App

Benefits of Facebook apps

  1. Increased engagement. There are many reasons to create a Facebook app such as using it to promote competitions, special offers, events and contests. This helps to involve people with your brand and to build relationships. In addition, it encourages people to interact with your brand.
  1. It increases web traffic. If you promote your app through Facebook, you can then increase web traffic to your site.
  1. Improves customer retention. Your app can add value to your existing customers by making it easy to interact with your brand. They also want to know that you are active and engaged. By ensuring a steady stream of relevant content, you create more opportunities for customer retention and up-selling.
  1. Enhance brand awareness. The whole world uses Facebook. If you showcase a well-designed app, it can elevate the image and profile of your company with your target market. It shows you have technological and business savvy. Plus, you make it convenient for your prospects to find you.
  1. New customer acquisition. By creating an app on Facebook, you can find customers that you might not have found through other means such as online advertising. It can also be used as a lead generation tool for reviewing potential prospects’ profiles as a means of qualifying leads.
  1. It’s cool. Having an app on Facebook is deemed as exciting. You can never tell who is using Facebook. To illustrate, a prospect may be doing research on your company and check Facebook to see if you have a presence there. They see your app and a few positive posts about your brand. This could be one of the deciding factors over whether or not they utilize your goods and services. The fact is, Facebook continues to gain in popularity and that isn’t not going to decline significantly any time soon.
  1. A viral effect. Facebook has the leverage to make content go viral. One post or one app can be shared millions of times. This takes word-of-mouth to an entirely different level. Crowds attract more crowds. When prospects see their friends using and liking your app, that will influence their decision.

Some of the most popular and successful Facebook apps include Buffer and Glassdoor.

Facebook continues to break down walls and expand in ways no one ever expected. It is a social media giant in every sense of the word. This is why, you need to have an app on Facebook and the sooner, the better.

Facebook [Next Generation] Open Graph Apps

Everyone has likely seen Spotify popping up in their News Feeds since last year, but Facebook continues to roll out new Open Graph apps – over 60 in just the last few weeks. With that in mind, I wanted to share a quick overview of how Open Graph apps are starting to (and can) be utilized.

Entertainment is the most robust category so far, with over 18 associated apps available. It is also important to note that Timeline, once optional, is now mandatory and is rumored to be available for businesses soon. With that in mind, OG apps should be developed with Timeline in mind to ensure the widest audience.

The general concept to embrace is frictionless sharing. Open Graph apps require users to allow continuous publishing permission and feature actions that can be automatically shared, rather than explicitly asking users to share individual actions (i.e. the Like button plugin).

A few high-level notes on who and what has rolled something out:

Brands:

  • Ford Mustang
  • Ford Grab-a-Badge (http://social.ford.com/grab-a-badge)
  • AutoTrader

Apps:

  • News – Washington Post, Yahoo! News, USA Today
  • Travel – Where I’ve Been, TripAdvisor
  • Giving – Causes
  • Food – Foodily, Foodspotting
  • Shopping & Fashion – Pinterest, LivingSocial (no Groupon!), GiftRocket
  • Fitness – MapMyFitness, RunKeeper
  • Entertainment – Hulu, TicketMaster, StubHub, DailyMotion,

Noticeably absent:

  • YouTube
  • Groupon

There is also a distinction to be make between how app activity appears in the News Feed/Ticker and users’ actual Timelines. In short, there are more aesthetic and functional options available now than ever before.

In terms of visibility, there are two algorithms at play in the News Feed: EdgeRank and Graph Rank. EdgeRank priority is mostly governed by an item’s affinity, weight and time, relevant to a user’s personal network. At this point, not much is known about the parameters for Graph Rank. In brief:

  1. EdgeRank dictates what “normal” status items appear in any given user’s feed.
  2. Graph Rank determines how Open Graph application activity is distributed.

Feel free to browse all 60 apps and watch some of FB’s ultra PR-friendly video overviews. Enjoy.

Facebook Static FBML App Decommission Roadmap

I recently wrote about a Facebook security update for apps that kicked in on October 1st. It looks like Facebook will be making some changes to FBML as well in the near future. While you haven’t been able to create FBML apps since March, they still work.

That’s not going to be the case in the future. If you currently have old FBML apps which are currently grandfathered in, they will need to be rewritten or replaced by next June. Our recommendation is to make the updates even sooner.

From Facebook:

  1. January 1, 2012: FBML will no longer be supported. We will not fix FBML bugs after this date with the exception of security and privacy issues
  2. June 1, 2012: FBML apps will no longer work on Facebook. All FBML endpoints will be removed.

What this Means to You:

  1. Broken FBML apps will likely stay broken. You should no longer promote or depend on any FBML apps.
  2. FBML apps go away completely. At this point, any FBML apps should have been completely decommissioned or rewritten as HTML5 iFrame apps.

Resources to Migrate to an iFrame Solution:

  1. The Preferred Developer Consultant Finder on Facebook is a great tool to find Facebook Preferred Developers to help guide you through the upgrade process.
  2. Facebook and WildFire have created a step by step tutorial to guide your migration.
  3. Lastly, visit the Facebook Developer Blog to learn more – https://developers.facebook.com/blog/post/568/

Do you use FBML apps? What are your migration plans?

Get Alerts When A Picture Of You Is Added On Facebook – Tagged Or Not

Israeli facial recognition tech startup Face.com made quite a splash when it launched Photo Finder, its first Facebook app, back in March. It soon followed suit with a new app called Photo Tagger, a tool that finds photos of people that were uploaded to Facebook albums even if they remained untagged by users.

The auto-tagging app was only available in private beta so far, but today the company is debuting the public version of Photo Tagger and is free of charge.

Here’s how it works: after you install the app on Facebook, you can select any public album (either their own or from friends). Photo Tagger then scans the photos, batches subjects into groups using its facial recognition technology and suggests tags for faces it has identified as such. Confirmed tags are then pushed directly onto Facebook, mirroring the social network’s privacy settings, and the result is a custom album made up of tagged photos.

Face.com claims faces can be recognized regardless of facial expressions, lighting, quality, backgrounds, angle and focus of the pictures.

This turns Photo Tagger into quite an impressive social search engine for faces on Facebook, where millions of images are uploaded to albums every week. It also doubles as a handy notification tool, because it has a system in place dubbed Face Alerts that lets users know when pictures of them appear on Facebook, with or without tags.

Face.com says the private alpha edition of Photo Tagger attracted over 30,000 users and identified 5 million faces on Facebook within three months.