If you take a look at the Facebook statistics page you will find that it has over 800 million active users with over 350 million active users currently accessing through their mobile devices. This is fairly high proportion of users.
What does this mean for developers? For most it means having some way of sharing app specific data via Facebook. However, you can do a lot better than this. Here are some ways I have seen my clients piggy back on Facebook’s success:
- Marketing: There’s a better correlation between people who use facebook and those who access the internet/apps on their phone than there is for most other media. This means Facebook is a great place to promote your apps. Set up a Facebook page and devise innovative ways to spread the word.
- Authentication: The problem with many apps is the multiple stage process necessary to register and validate people. I once read a Nokia survey that concluded that you lost half your people for every extra stage. Facebook has already solved this problem for you. Use the Facebook APIs to quickly and effortlessly pre-authenicate people. However, don’t forget to also include a backstop registration process for those not on Facebook or those that don’t want to share their login details with your app.
- Personalisation: Use the Facebook APIs (the graph API) to learn more about your users to adapt the app to their needs.
- Viral Marketing: Use Facebook to creatively push stories back via feed forms. I say ‘creatively’ because your users won’t thank you for blatant product promotion. Instead, include it as part of sharing app specific data via Facebook.