How did you find the mobile apps you use the most? I’m guessing that some of you came across them on a blog or in a mag somewhere (10 Apps Every Developer Should Own). You might have found others browsing through an app store of whatever flavour. But, if you’re anything like me, you’ll have found quite a few simply through the recommendations of your friends (both real and virtual).
Considering how many thousands of apps there are, they can be surprisingly tricky to find. In my experience, the search function of most app stores leaves something to be desired (and I’m being kind here). And even though most stores feature user reviews, it can still be hard to distinguish the reality between the ‘This is the best app EVER!!!’ reviews and the ‘This is total rubbish, I want my 69p back or I’m going to sue!!!’ ones.
So what about Facebook as a platform for finding (and distributing) new apps? Techcrunch recently pointed to a new feature Facebook are trying out – placing links to third-party apps at the top of its mobile newsfeed instead of hiding them down the bottom. This, of course, follows on from the launch last October of its mobile app platform (which offers the company 30% of the revenues generated by in-app purchases).
So is this the answer for developers? Put your app on Facebook, run a bit of promotion and let the social world Like it to stardom? It’s an appealing idea.
However, as Techcrunch points out, Facebook’s app platform hasn’t exactly been a roaring success so far. So is it destined to go the same way as their previous Facebook Marketplace idea? Or could we see the same stellar performance as social gaming?
Putting my developer hat on, the question for me is: Will Facebook give my apps access to a larger audience than they’d get elsewhere? Certainly the user numbers are there but what about engagement? And crucially, can they harness the recommendations that are lacking on other platforms?
If they manage this, they could become a serious contender for app distribution. But I’m not holding my breath just yet.
What about you? What would you need to see on Facebook before you’d commit to putting your apps on there?