Facebook to Launch App Center
Calls developers to “start preparing today.”
Just in case publishers didn’t have enough platforms to push their apps through already, Facebook is jumping into the game with the debut of its App Center. In a post on its Facebook Developers page, software engineer Aaron Brady urges, “All developers should start preparing today to make sure their app is included for the launch.”
Positioned as “the new, central place to find great apps,” the App Center mandates an app detail page for each submission. FB will decide which products to promote by monitoring app success through its Insights feature, a system already in place for brand pages (the tool monitors likes, number of users “talking about this,” weekly reach and a combined social circle tally dubbed “Friends of Fans”). Brady writes, “Well-designed apps that people enjoy will be prominently displayed.”
Quality is quantified through characteristics such as “an easy-to-use interface, clear content, value to users and no significant bugs”; minimal advertising; positive user feedback; and included apps must “set clear expectations about what user activity it shares on Facebook, and when.”
The App Center will be available on the Web, as well as for iOS and Android systems. If an app requires installation, Facebook will redirect the user to either the App Store or Google Play to complete the process.
As for monetization, Brady writes, “Many developers have been successful with in-app purchases, but to support more types of apps on Facebook.com, we will give developers the option to offer paid apps. This is a simple-to-implement payment feature that lets people pay a flat fee to use an app on Facebook.com.”
App detail pages must receive Facebook approval, and those who submit completed pages before May 18 will be given review priority.
CNN.com reports Facebook operates under an Apple-like revenue split with brands selling through the social network, pocketing 30 percent of each sale. While it is unclear whether Facebook’s fees will be in addition to what the App Store typically charges for download, the announcement is generating buzz throughout the industry.
“We’re still gathering information about the App Center, but Atlantic Media currently reaches millions of monthly users via Facebook platform through our brand page and audience sharing, and thus the potential to reach one billion users with Atlantic Media Apps is certainly attractive. The App Center should become an important distribution channel for Atlantic Media as we accelerate our investment in mobile and app development on all platforms, including HTML5,” Scott Havens, SVP of finance and digital operations with Atlantic Media, tells FOLIO:. “Having said that, Facebook is smartly launching the App Center to help Facebook compete against Apple, Google, Microsoft and other social media networks, not necessarily to help Atlantic Media drive incremental revenue, traffic or engagement. So of course, understanding the ROI and/or the tradeoffs—such as using FB login—is important for a media company our size to evaluate before we invest too much time.”