Facebook just got super mobile serious (yes, even more than before). The social networking company is now showing to all other tech companies around that it intends to fully exploit its more than half of billion mobile users by itself with its own App Center.
The main goal of the new App Center, that will roll out in the next few weeks, is to centralize all the apps which use Facebook in one place so users would easily browse and discover those apps. Each app will have its own unique page where users could find details about it, before deciding if to install it.
Better App Discovery
Until now, discovering new apps on Facebook wasn’t the easiest thing to do- It mostly had to be relied on app developers marketing efforts and on word to mouth (post to eyes, more accurate to say) recommendations. The App Center designated to provide a very easy app discovery experience.
Unlike Apple App Store or Google Play, personalization will have a much greater role on the App Center homepage. The two most prominent features will be “Recommended Apps” which highlights apps similar to what the user recently used and “Friends’ Apps” which highlights what are the most popular apps used by the user’s connections.
There would also be smaller features that based on general popularity like “Trending Apps” and “Top Grossing Apps” but they receives a much less prominent page’s real estate spots. In addition, users would also be able to browse apps by categories on the left sidebar or (still) through the crappy search engine Facebook has.
Each and every app suppose to have a detailed page where the user will find short/detailed descriptions and screenshots. The App Center won’t ride completely solo and if an app includes installation on the mobile device, the user will be sent to Apple’s App Store (for iOS) or to Google Play (for Android).
New Opportunities For Developers
Even though the App Center is potentially a gold mine for developers, it seems that Facebook doesn’t intends to make an easy life for them. Developers should read carefully the guidelines for inclusion on the App Center, which sets high standards for both the app’s page and also for the quality of the app itself.
Not all apps with a detailed page will be included in the App Center and Facebook will review every app to decide if it’s quality enough to be a part of the App Center. If an app has been rejected, Facebook will elaborate why, so the developer could make the necessary changes before resubmitting it. Developers can use this tutorial page that could assist through the inclusion process.
To help developers analyze their app performances better based on their specific targeted audience, Facebook introduced a new rating metric on the company’s analysis tool, Insights. The new metric will provide data about how users from different gender and different age groups rate the app.
Another interesting new option Facebook is now offering developers, is the possibility to offer paid apps for users. There isn’t too much information about this new option that might turn out to be very lucrative for premium app developers, only that it will involves some sort of “simple-to-implement payment feature” for users. To sign up for the paid apps program, register in this page.
Giant Step For Facebook
Couple of days ago, comScore study revealed that more than 80% of smartphone users prefer using apps instead of mobile browsers and the launch of Facebook App Center shows that the company recognizes how widely adopted apps are. The App Center is a good reason by itself to allure more app enthusiastic users to join the social network.
It also helps the company to vary its products and more importantly, its revenue sources. Few weeks ago, the company reported that more than 82% comes from ads and the App Center can reduce this dependency with more income that comes from an in-app purchases boost and from the newly presented paid apps model.
Even though the App Center isn’t the classic competitor for Apple’s App Store and Google Play and may even send users to them, it still threatens their complete hegemony on the mobile app market. Moreover, With the launch of paid apps it will begin taking some of the profits that might have gone to Apple or Google pockets, so there are definitely elements of rivalry here.
Lastly, and this is just purely speculation, the App Center is a great infrastructure preparation for a launch of a mobile device… Although most chances are that Facebook doesn’t has any short-term plans getting into hardware, the App Center provide a great base for that purpose if and when the company will decide to do so.