Recently Facebook announced that they will be launching their own discovery platform for apps, called App Center. For more background on what publishers should know about content consumption via Facebook, check out our recent post. "The App Center is designed to grow mobile apps that use Facebook – whether they’re on iOS, Android or the mobile web," wrote Facebook’s Aaron Brady. Though much has been debated about why Facebook has chosen to announce this product now, and what it could mean for their future strategic direction, there are some points worth noting for content publishers.
Greater chance of discovery is a strong advantage of the App Center, since almost a billion Facebook users are able to find apps based on their interests.
A major complaint of developers with apps in the major on-device app stores is standing out from the crowd, given that app store search is poor and there is no built-in functionality to position particular apps in front of targeted audiences.
It is worth noting that placement within the App Center will be based on ratings and engagement levels, which is a relief for publishers and app developers who tend to shy away from paid app promotion.
App ratings are established through user feedback, which are organized by gender and age; this information is then shared with app developers within the Insights report. This means that app developers will have the potential to target their app to specific demographics based on the reviews of that particular age bracket or gender. Tailored content and increased insights lead to more engagement among targeted users (and ultimately, higher downstream sales revenue).
Cross-platform support for App Center ensures consistency on how an app will be marketed to the broad audience of Facebook users. Outside of the main on-device app stores, the world of app discovery goes quickly into the long-tail of websites and blogs that cover newly launched apps.
Increased monetization opportunities through paid apps on Facebook’s full desktop site. This is in addition to in-app purchases which are commonplace now in Facebook’s apps (15% of Facebook’s revenue was derived from their share of revenue collected by Zynga for games like Farmville). Although paid apps are currently slated to be available through Facebook's desktop site, it is fairly likely that they will expand paid apps to the mobile App Center in the near future.
What was your reaction when you read about Facebook’s App Center? We’d love to hear your thoughts on Twitter or in the comments section below.