How to Drive Traffic with Facebook Apps

The odds are fairly good that if you are a regular reader of these pages, you already have a Facebook fan page. These pages form an essential part of any business engagement strategy and should be created soon after you create your first website.

In some cases, Facebook pages are little more than fronts for the website while in other cases, smart business owners turn the pages into mini store fronts all their own. However, what many business owners don’t consider is the idea of using custom made apps to drive traffic and sales. Here’s what you need to know:

What Are Custom Facebook Apps?

Facebook is much more than just a social networking site. It is also in many ways like an operating system. It has its own applications, many hundreds of thousands of them in fact. These apps can be very simple items which allow you to import HTML into your site (as seen below) or they can also be much more complex.

For example, McDonalds has a pretty nice Facebook app which involves answering trivia questions and then getting rewarded for them. Another example I liked was an app which involves fruit picking (from a fruit juice company). These are both game type apps. However, you are not limited to such apps.

You could also create apps which are useful for retirement planning or even for doing SEO. Bottom line, apps exist for pretty much anything you can think of sand they can be extremely popular with your potential users. Now, what you are probably asking yourself is, how do I capitalize on these apps?

Use Them to Drive Traffic from Other Facebook Pages

One thing that I love about apps is that they don’t have to live only on your own Facebook page. You can also use them on other people’s pages. A great example of this is the HTML app I mentioned above. It’s available for anyone to use and it can be installed on any page. Indeed, it is installed on tens of thousands of other pages.

So how does this help you? One word: affinity. In essence, when you create an app for Facebook, you can use it to push your own products by putting in a link back to your site or your Facebook page at the bottom of the app. Then, every time someone looks at the app on another page, you get free advertising from the affinity advertising.

Use Them to Drive Traffic Directly

Of course, you are not limited to using Facebook apps to drive traffic from other people’s Facebook pages. You can also use the apps to drive traffic either to your own page or to your website. The key is to make the apps useful and interesting so that your potential customers will want to use them and even tell their friends about them.

Use Them for Likes

Another great use of Facebook apps which can drive traffic is to use them to grab likes. As you can see, the fruit picker app actually requires people to like the page before they can use the app for anything at all.

You can also require people to tell five friends about the app before they can play or offer extra incentives within the app (i.e. If it’s a game, unlocking additional levels) to get people to tell their friends which turns the app into a viral marketing thing. The possibilities are endless.

But I Don’t Know How to Write an App

If you’re like me, writing an app is probably beyond your abilities. At least, writing a compelling app anyway. I can do some basic programming but I’m not a professional Facebook programmer by any means (or to put it another way, “Damnit Jim, I’m a writer, not a programmer” — and if you’re not a Trekkie, that went right over your head).

This used to be a problem but it’s not anymore. You can easily find someone to write the app for you by using any of the many services such as Elance  or GetaCoder to do the job. Often, you can have a custom app written for as little as $50 depending on how complex the app needs to be.

Just look for people who have some kind of feedback already and always use escrow to pay your contractors. This way, if there is ever a problem, you are protected and need not worry about your programmer walking away with your money without doing the job you hire them for.

 Finding App Ideas

Okay, so now you’re all set to have an app written. One problem. What should the app actually do? The answer is really up to you. Presumably, whatever business you happen to be in, you are an expert or at least well informed on the subject. What do your customers need?

For example, if you run an SEO company, you might want to create a Facebook app which can help people to find appropriate pages to build links from on Facebook. Or if you run a website on personal finance you could create an app which allows people to calculate how long it will take them to get out of debt.

If you still can’t think of something, the very best option is to check with your customers directly. Either send out a survey to your customers asking what they’d like to see or just check on forums devoted to your niche. Either way, you’ll inevitably find some great ideas for apps.

Then, it’s simply a matter of getting the word out there so that your potential customers know that the app exists and that it’s something worthwhile. That’s of course where a good SEO company like QuantumSEO Labs comes in…we can help you get the word out there…

28 thoughts on “How to Drive Traffic with Facebook Apps

  1. I personally like the apps that let you earn reward points and redeem them at the store the next time you go there shopping. It kind of reminds me of the rewards cards that everyone has these days but easier to keep track of. Thank you for posting this I am thrilled that more companies might be thinking about doing something like this.

    1. Yeah, that’s actually one that I didn’t think of. Good point about those kinds of apps.

  2. Thank you for providing this informative article. Just yesterday, I was searching online for tutorials on how to customize my FB page. Most of what you find when you search online is premade scripts that embed promotional ads or logos. It looks like garbage code and some of the designs don’t look custom at all. They look more like cookie cutter templates and I am trying to avoid having that kind of look for my FB page.

    1. This is a big problem. OTOH, if you get it for free you have to assume the person making the app is going to want something in return for their trouble. However, there are paid apps available which have no such advertising.

  3. Creating a FB app is a daring endeavor. It seems like it could turn out to be expensive by the time you tweak and perfect an app, especially if you hire someone who works by an hourly rate. I know not everyone does, so you have to really look on the freelance job boards, but no matter how much you try to recruit, you never really know until you start working with a person or team.

    1. No argument there. However, I have seen enough people pay to have plugins, apps and software developed that I believe it is a viable option.

  4. Facebook is growing fast now. The number of Facebook users escalates in thousands and millions. It means that Facebook apps owners get increasingly more potential users every single day. But this coin has a reverse side too: due to Facebook rapid evolution tools for the application development – Facebook API (Application Programming Interface), etc – are changed quite often as well. Owners, designers, and developers should keep track of such new features because they can affect appearance, functionality, and operability of existing applications.

    1. True enough. If you create an app, you do need to be prepared to spend the money to continue to have it developed or risk seeing it break as Facebook changes things. This is especially true if you want to work with Facebook’s newest iteration which works on older feature phones common in developing countries.

  5. Developing – or I should say, volunteering trust = can be a difficult thing. There are so many freelance developers who may not be up to the task, or just as troublesome, they may not communicate well with you enough to understand your vision. This can lead to lots of wasted hours and money. I hope FB apps are more simple to write than Android or Apple apps. That would make me feel more confident about this strategy.

    1. This is true with any human endeavor. However, ultimately, you cannot do everything yourself so you need to experiment and find someone you can trust. Yes, it costs money and yes it can be frustrating. However, once you find someone, the results can be astounding. Case in point — I’ve been writing for Yasir’s blog for nearly three years now because he is happy with my work and I’m happy with him as a client.

  6. Facebook has changed all of our lives. Whether you’ve ever had an account or even visited the website, it’s difficult to ignore the hundreds of Facebook’s “Like and “Share badges seen all around the modern web. The blogosphere is constantly buzzing with comments and shares over Facebook. So making engaging apps for your page sounds exciting because I think it is still an unexplored country, so to speak.

    1. Well said. Love it or hate it, Facebook is here to stay. I myself have recently started to engage more with it and am already seeing positive benefits from having done so.

  7. It sounds like you are onto something big, Yasir. Ever since the social networking site of Facebook Inc. opened itself up to outside development, there has been a flurry of Facebook applications created by independent programmers and companies. Since Facebook Platform launched in May, more than 5,000 applications that run on Facebook have been developed. And the number is steadily growing by the day. A big reason why this has been happening? Money — or the hope of it, to be exact.

    1. Trust me, it’s going to be hundreds of thousands before long. Facebook apps will be at least as big as iOS apps.

  8. I have to admit looking over my friends shoulder when she’s playing on her ipad I’m starting to lean toward ios having been a die hard android fan for a long time. I have an s3 and its great but the browsing experience on her ipad is simply smooth as silk something i can’t say for my galaxy. and the face book app is so bad i actually use the browser for facebook which is only slightly less terrible than the app.

    1. Have to say, I’ve never tried the FB app on Android. However, I am a huge Android fan otherwise. Not sure why iOS is supposed to be so much better. I ditched my iPhone for an Android phone and never looked back.

  9. There are more forms of communication and potential marketing channels with which to engage and reach your target audience than ever before. Marketers are struggling to pinpoint the most effective outlets for reaching the largest and most clearly defined audiences. With hundreds of millions of apps in existence, app developers are looking for ways to make their apps stand out among the rest. I wonder how did apps like “Angry Birds,” Instagram, and the slew of Zynga’s social games manage to make their way to the forefront.

    1. Partly, it was luck — they were in the right place at the right time. Partly, it was marketing genius. Make it something easy to figure out and addictive and people will flock to it.

  10. To advertise a product that’s not a Facebook app, such as food or cars, you would use a Page. I have noticed how large companies such as Pringle’s and Coca-Cola have done so with great success. The Canvas Page works only for applications that tie into the Facebook experience directly by posting on users’ news feeds or requiring Facebook updates. I’m not opposed to developing an app either.

  11. It’s important for people to know that Facebook has updated its Platform Polices, prohibiting apps from linking to or promote apps on competing social platforms, and from rewarding users with virtual currency, goods, or downloads through a third-party for taking an action. These policy changes, reported by TechCrunch, will prevent developers from directing traffic from their Facebook apps to off-site destinations, or from incentivizing user actions unless done with Facebook Credits or without the aid of third-parties.

  12. In case some of you didn’t know, the Facebook-owned mobile photo sharing app Instagram is the No. 1 most popular app in terms of monthly active users logging in with Facebook. One year ago, Instagram had only 3 million Facebook-connected MAU. Now it has more than 44.8 million MAU, first taking the No. 1 spot on Dec. 29, as it surged and FarmVille 2 and TripAdvisor declined.

  13. You mentioned checking directly with your customers to find out what they want in an app and that is an extremely good idea, thank you for sharing the ideas on how to do that. I also like the idea of spending sometime in the forum world talking about this as well. What a great idea on how to get a feel for what they are doing out there.

  14. You gave some really good tips on finding an app that works for you and your business. This is something that I have been struggling with for a while now and I think that the tips on writing an app are great to because how many people actually know about writing an app out there? This is a great post and I see a lot of people benefiting from this.

  15. We just opened our little store and we were looking for ways to advertise and I think this is a great idea for that. I understand that you might be talking about cyber traffic here but I think this will work for door to door traffic as well. Thank you for posting this information I am looking forward to trying this and making a Facebook page for the business.

    1. You just need to add a hook which would get people to visit your store, like a coupon built into the app.

  16. You gave some really good tips on finding an app that works for you and your business. This is something that I have been struggling with for a while now and I think that the tips on writing an app are great to because how many people actually know about writing an app out there? This is a great post and I see a lot of people benefiting from this.

    1. Thank you. Glad we could be of help. Please feel free to come back and keep checking out our posts.

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