Facebook’s answer to the app store has been discussed for a while now and now it has finally arrived – for U.S. users at least – and has 600 apps available. If you’re unable to access it directly from your home page on desktop or mobile, you can find it here.
But now that it’s finally here, you’re probably wondering how to get started and add your app onto the list. Facebook say that while submitting to the App Center isn’t mandatory, it is highly recommended as it will give your app further exposure and increases your chances of gaining new users. After exploring the App Center and taking into consideration Facebook’s tips, here’s what you need to consider if you’re submitting an app to the center.
Think Portal Instead Of Store
While you have the option to include in-game purchases with your app, there’s a very good reason why Facebook used the word ‘Center’ instead of ‘Store’. The App Center is an easier way of finding all the apps currently available on Timeline, allowing users to discover more and integrate it into their profiles.
While there are certain apps and games that you can access straight away, certain apps like Hulu and Pinterest will direct you to the website directly. So for developers, it’s important to set up your website so that users aren’t presented with a “Login with Facebook” button and allow them to use the app immediately. So developers need to make sure that users are immediately signed in when they’re redirected to your site as prompting users to sign in a second time will only annoy them. In short: Ensure that the process from downloading to using your app is done in as few steps as possible.
Web, Mobile or Both?
An obvious one, but important to note. When you’re creating an app for Facebook, you need to decide whether you want to design one solely for mobile users, timeline users (desktop) or for both. The latter would be trickier as not every app is designed for mobile (Branchout, Hulu, Tetris Battle etc.) and vice versa so if you want your app to reach the largest audience possible, you need to make the necessary adjustments to ensure it functions on both platforms.
With that in mind, users will check your app page to see what platforms it’s available for. For the most part, if it’s available for mobile, you have the option of “Send to mobile” so that you’re sent the download link directly to your phone.
If you’re accessing the store from mobile, then the only apps that will be presented to you will be mobile specific apps. Developers must decide what platforms they should list their app under, the three being Website with Facebook Login, App on Facebook and Native iPhone App. If you select both Website with Facebook Login and App on Facebook, only App on Facebook will be displayed to help reduce confusion.
Before you can submit your app, you must create a detail page telling users what it’s about. This is something that Facebook is very strict about as how you present it and wants to make sure that your description is to the point. For example, when you’re writing the name of the app, you cannot add any additional keywords to it so if your app is a game like “Farmville,” you can’t write “Farmville – Fun & Entertainment.”
Also for your app description, Facebook recommends that you remove any unnecessary symbols from them, like stars, hearts, emoticons and multiple exclamation marks. So a brief summary and high quality screenshots will work to your advantage. Speaking of which…
Prepare Images & Screenshots
Alongside the expected details of name and description, Facebook is strict about what size of images you should use when creating it. Visuals play a massive part in showcasing your app as the preview page will determine whether a user downloads your app or not.
For desktop apps, each app requires a minimum of six images (eight max) that range from 16 x 16 to the cover image that’s 800 x 150. Mobile apps require three images ranging from 136 x 88 to 272 x 176. And that’s before you even include screenshots of your app as well.Cover images, which are only displayed on the desktop site, require an 800 x 150 image. You should also keep in mind that, similar to a personal profile, the 128 x 128 icon will obscure a small part of your cover photo.Full details of images dimensions and descriptions can be found here.
Preview Before Submitting
Before you click on the submit button, you have the opportunity to preview how your app page will look when it’s accepted. Use this time to make any tweaks or adjustments to your page and don’t rush it. What might work for desktop users may not come across as well for mobile users so if you’re creating a page with both users in mind so it’s essential you get it right the first time round so that users will download your app.
Once you’ve submitted your app, you can’t change it until the submission has been approved or you cancel the submission so make sure it’s up to scratch the first time around. For further details as to how you can register your app, Facebook has provided a step-by-step guide which you can find here.