The Facebook Apps Are Coming: 4 Reasons Your Business Should Care

by Chad Wittman on Oct 14, 2011
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After Facebook’s flurry of new announcements at this year’s f8, many marketers wondered how these changes will affect their strategy.

For most marketers, the main core of previously successful strategies still remain: Create high quality and engaging content for your target market and Facebook will reward you with impressions.

Facebook Page management strategies also remain the same, create engaging content to increase EdgeRank. With higher EdgeRank, your visibility is increased when updating your fans.

Here Come the Apps

The only wrench Facebook threw in at f8, was their expansion of the abilities of Facebook Apps. Facebook users now are able to consume media on Facebook in more ways than just “liking”. Users can now “listen, read, and watch” content external to Facebook (like listening to music on Spotify), while still sharing these behaviors with Friends back on Facebook.

For anyone to “listen, read, or watch” content, they need to be utilizing some kind of Facebook App. The largest and most popular App taking advantage of this new feature is Spotify. If you haven’t seen Spotify in your news feed, you can see an example below:

Spotify GraphRank Example

Why Does This Really Matter For Businesses?

This new ability may seem like another cool feature from Facebook, but it is much more than that. It is the beginning of a new opportunity to increase a brand’s exposure. For some brands the creation of an App will simply be a natural progression, for others it will be a challenge to conceptualize an App that brings additional value to their fans. For the brands that are able to create a valuable App concept and bring it to market, they will have a new advantage.

When a user “listens” to a song on Spotify, it is published automatically on Facebook. This object may or may not be shown to the user’s friends in the news feed (dependent on GraphRank, a subset of EdgeRank for App Developers). The song “listened” to will be published in the Ticker, and also published in a user’s Timeline (although most likely aggregated). In more simple terms, this means that just by having users use your Facebook App, you can gain more exposure for your brand (most likely exponential).

1. Apps Will Become The Default Brand Connection To Facebook

As more brands begin to hit the drawing board and develop Facebook Apps, it will be easier to comprehend the value of developing a Facebook App. Netflix developed a Facebook App (although unavailable in the U.S.) that shares what TV Shows and movies your watching. Other news services have integrated “reading” of articles live on their site.

Stores will begin to develop their online stores into Facebook Apps. You may see “John Doe bought a MacBook Pro from Apple” in your news feed in the near future. John Doe simply went to Apple.com logged in with Facebook and purchased a MacBook Pro, which was promptly posted to Facebook. This obviously provides a brand like Apple additional visibility from each sale.

The other implication of this new object in the news feed is the purchase essentially becoming a mini recommendation to all of John Doe’s friends; buying from Apple is the way to go.

2. Facebook Will Get More Crowded

What does the future hold for all of these Apps?

As brands begin to pursue Apps to gain exposure in the news feed, ticker, and timelines this space will begin to be extremely crowded. Imagine all of your friends listening to music, watching movies, buying items, all being published to Facebook simultaneously.

Assuming there isn’t a massive privacy backlash (I’m not convinced there won’t be one yet), the constant flow of all of this data will be overwhelming to say the least. Facebook also foresees this issue, which is why they developed an algorithm called GraphRank (a subset of EdgeRank for Apps only).

3. Businesses Need To Know About GraphRank

In simple terms, GraphRank will control which Apps get more or less exposure in the news feed. If GraphRank thinks John Doe’s friend will be interested in his MacBook purchase, it will plant the object right into the news feed. GraphRank is essentially built upon the same principles of EdgeRank, just applied to Apps as opposed to Facebook Pages.

Facebook plans on cataloging users’ entire internet experience to better help friends share cool things with more friends (and of course increase their ad impressions). Brands will have opportunity to position their product and services ahead of their competitors. This will also create competition to best optimize exposure on Facebook.

4. Facebook Ads Will Change

This new app infusion will also drastically change Facebook’s targeted Pay-Per-Click campaigns. Imagine John Doe has been listening to Daft Punk on Spotify. I expect Facebook to expand targeting to allow a concert promoter (who is promoting an upcoming Daft Punk concert in John Doe’s hometown this weekend) to target John Doe specifically on his past listening to Daft Punk.

Can you imagine the click through rate on such a highly targeted ad?

Quick Takeaways:

  • Facebook Page’s strategies remain the same
  • Brands that can develop engaging & relevant Apps should begin to do so
  • Facebook’s PPC targeting will become much more targeted
Post Author

Co-Founder & VP of Product at Dolly, an iPhone and Android app that is like Uber meets U-Haul or Lyft for Moving. Former Founder of EdgeRank Checker (acquired by Socialbakers)...

  • Anonymous

    Hi Chad, I agree that apps is where it’s at.  I think there is a good chance that Facebook will change the look and feel of Facebook pages soon and when they do it’s possible that updates on the business page will not appear in personal newsfeeds.  Most of business updates are not that interesting.  Of course they may implement the ‘stream’ functionality but it’s harder to distinguish the type of updates you want from a business page.

    So if it becomes harder (and maybe impossible) for brands to get updates on their fans newsfeed then they will need to attract fans to their pages.  They do this through innovation apps.  And through these innovative apps they can subscribe to updates for their feeds.

    What do you think?

    Ian

  • Facebook will never take away business page updates from the newsfeed. The incentive and immediate feedback pages get for spending time (and not just money with adds) on the site all but disappears.

    Instead they focus on surfacing brand updates that ARE relevant and interesting and getting users to fan the right pages for them.

  • Tonvour

    facebook is not good for brands and you will see it in the nearly future.Adds confused ppl who dont like to see advertises on fb   tony vourtsis   twitter.com/vourtsis  κατασκευη ιστοσελιδων rightclcik

  • I’m so surprised that the Netflix application isn’t available in the U.S. Correct me if I’m wrong, but… Netflix is a U.S. based company, right? Is it still in beta mode and being tested elsewhere? I’d be very curious to know what the reasoning was behind this.

  • hi chad. any word on when facebook fan or business pages will be able to share spotify tracks? 

  • Hi Chad. Any word on when facebook business or fan pages will be able to share spotify tracks?

  • Juergen Hoebarth

    Some things will come others are just a free imagination of a person which has some insight but not all. stay excited and you will understand how probs will get safed

  • Pingback: Marketer-Speak in 2012 for Facebook Changes in 2011 « Be Well. Do Good.()

  • Fantastic post. I found this tool which helped me build any
    type of Facebook Apps for web and mobile without
    coding!                  http://blog.caspio.com/integration/create-a-custom-facebook-application-for-your-business/