Friday, January 27, 2012
When Facebook announced in October that it would extend its platform to mobile social apps, social marketers everywhere were fired up. After all, Facebook is increasingly becoming a mobile magnate: currently, more than 350 million active users log in to Facebook on their mobile devices -- that’s nearly 40%of Facebook’s membership!
So how can brand managers take advantage of these new capabilities? Wildfire’s Page Manager offers brands the ability to create a seamless end-to-end Facebook experience, regardless of whether users view Facebook content on their desktops or their mobile devices.
Facebook’s Mobile Platform
Prior to the December 2011 release, the only way to deliver app content to mobile users was to host it on a mobile website outside the Facebook ecosystem. By using this approach, a brand could link to an app from its fan page, and a mobile user who clicked the link was redirected to a website in his mobile browser, outside Facebook. This was less than ideal for a few reasons. First, numerous studies have shown that Facebook users are inherently distrustful of processes that route them outside of Facebook (doing so can result in high bounce rates, among other things). Second, removing users from the Facebook ecosystem prevents the app from tapping into the viral nature of Facebook’s platform, such as the ability to share app content with friends.
The mobile app platform that Facebook created solves these problems by driving mobile users to canvas pages, where they can directly view and engage with app content after clicking links that appear in their newsfeeds.
Wildfire’s Mobile Solution
To provide an optimal user experience for Facebook mobile apps, marketers must deliver content to mobile users in a way that allows users to view and interact with it in the native Facebook app. Let’s walk you through an example using Wildfire’s mobile page management.
Our fictional company, Big Grin Greeting Cards, wants to spark conversation with its community of fans. To achieve this, Big Grin launches a Wildfire “Storyteller” application, which it uses to ask fans compelling questions within the application (and also allows users to easily post the conversations to their news feeds, spreading earned media about Big Grin!). By leveraging Page Manager’s mobile app capabilities, Big Grin can extend a branded experience to Facebook users on their mobile devices. The screenshots below depict the user workflow:
1) Within Page Manager, Big Grin publishes a new question to its Storyteller application. The page administrator then posts a status update on the company’s Facebook fan page that includes the question (prompting users to submit their thoughts), and a mobile-friendly link to the Storyteller application. Desktop users click through the link and land on the application page as usual. Mobile Facebook users see the update in their news feeds, and click through for a mobile-optimized Facebook app experience.
2) After Big Grin’s fans submit their responses to the community question, the Storyteller app posts users’ responses to their news feeds and Timelines (the functionality works for mobile and desktop users alike). These posts display branded content and link back to the application on Big Grin’s fan page. This generates earned media for Big Grin.
Now that Facebook has developed the technology necessary to publish apps to mobile, Wildfire provides a marketing solution that gives Facebook users a seamless viewing experience, regardless of whether they consume branded content on a mobile device or desktop. As speculation increases that Facebook will soon support ads on its mobile site and push Sponsored Stories to users’ news feeds, having the ability to launch mobile friendly Facebook apps like the Storyteller app is a great way to begin monetizing your mobile efforts!
Have questions about mobile functionality for Facebook apps? Drop us a line in the comments, we’ll do our best to help you!