Facebook’s F8 Developer Conference has just wrapped for 2015. The conference is dedicated to Facebook’s developer community, and this year there were plenty of big announcements for app developers.

With these announcements comes a new wave of opportunity that we can take advantage of.

I’m going to outline my 2 favourite new tools available to app developers and show you how you can take advantage.

Messenger Platform

In 2014 Facebook made a decision to split Facebook Messenger out into a separate mobile app. Mark Zuckerberg later said that the reason for this was to make it easier to build other features into the product.

Facebook kicked this off recently by adding a peer-to-peer payments feature to the Messenger app. This allows people to send money to each other using Facebook Messenger.

Facebook’s ‘Messenger Platform’ announcement at F8 will add even more features to Messenger. And the interesting part is that a lot of these features will be created by developers outside of Facebook!

Messenger Platform is a way for third party developers to build add-on content and services for the Facebook Messenger app.

[pullquote type=”left”] In other words, Facebook is opening the doors for developers to build apps that integrate closely with Messenger.[/pullquote]

Why is this so exciting? Because there are over 600 million users on Facebook Messenger each month! And the Messenger Platform will allow us to create content and get our apps in front of this massive user base. This creates huge opportunities for growth and engagement.

With the Messenger Platform, app developers can build apps that interact directly with Messenger. We’ll be able to create apps that allow users to share content like images, videos, audio and stickers via Messenger with a couple of taps.

I’m seriously excited about the potential this offers us as developers! Let me expand a bit more on why I’m so pumped.

An All New Social App Discovery Tool

The Messenger Platform gives us an awesome new way for our apps to be discovered.

As I just mentioned, Messenger Platform allows users can share content from in our apps directly to Facebook Messenger. What I didn’t tell you earlier was that each time someone shares a piece of content from a third party app, the content is attributed to that app and there is a download button right there in Messenger! The person receiving the message can then click that download button and install your app from inside Messenger. How incredible is that!

This is one of the best ways to generate installs that I have seen. The reason I think it’s so powerful is because there is a social recommendation attached to each message. Each time someone gets a message from a friend with an install link in it, it’s like that friend is personally recommending the app.

Here’s an example from the F8 presentation. On the left you can see what it looks like when someone receives a message in Messenger from the Giphy app. The recipient just has to click that install button and a modal view pops up for them to install Giphy.


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An Additional App Discovery Channel Outside Of The App Store

In addition to generating installs by having users share content, there is another way that Messenger Platform will help your app get discovered.

Within the Messenger app, users can access a ‘More’ screen. This screen lists apps that are using the Messenger Platform. The user can see apps that they have installed, as well as a list of suggested apps that they can download immediately. 

Getting your app featured on the ‘More’ screen within Messenger is an amazing way for your app to get discovered by Messenger’s 600m monthly users. And with relatively few apps integrating Messenger Platform right now, this is your best chance!


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Skyrocket Your Re-Engagement

Messenger Platform also opens up opportunities for re-engagement within our apps. It’s another way for people to be reminded about your app and to bring them back to it.

Each time someone sends a video, image or audio file to Messenger from an app and the recipient has the app installed, there is a ‘Reply’ button right there. The recipient just has to hit reply and the app will open for them.

The possibilities are huge. The obvious beneficiaries are photo & video editing / sharing apps, sticker & emoji apps and audio recording apps.

If you have an app that encourages and gives users a reason to share, this could be an amazing opportunity to send engagement through the roof!

But this could have much broader applications that just those types of apps. Any app can create a picture or video and share it. Off the top of my head, here are a few ideas. If you’ve got a game you could let users share short clips of in-game footage or cool screenshots. Fitness apps might share images of new records. Or a navigation app could send a picture of your location on a map to a friend.[/text_output]

Facebook App Analytics

Facebook also announced a new App Analytics tool during F8. There are already some dominant analytics tools in the app industry, but Facebook’s new tool offers a few key features that really got me interested.

Before I start listing the most interesting features, I should mention that this tool is completely free to use.

Track per user instead of per device

In a mobile world, it’s common for people to use an app on multiple different devices. However most mobile analytics tools track based on device, rather than by user.

Facebook Analytics tracks activity by user, instead of by device. This gives us much greater insight into exactly how our users are interacting with out apps.

Instead of simply seeing activity on one device, we can track a single user across multiple devices.

This will be particularly useful if your app is available on multiple mobile devices, or if you also have a web site.

eCommerce apps are a perfect example of how developers can benefit from user based tracking. A user may browse for products on mobile, but not complete the checkout process. That same user might then visit the retailer’s web site and complete the purchase process.

Usually it wouldn’t be easy to track this activity, but with Facebook Analytics the entire flow can be tracked from start to finish. It’s a fantastic way for developers to get insights into user behaviour that may not have been available to them previously.

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Ad Network Attribution

This is a feature that is usually reserved for high-end (aka. expensive) analytics tools.

Ad network attribution is the ability to segment users based on the ad campaign that brought them in to the app. We can then track which ad campaigns brought in our high value users and which ones were less successful.

Here’s an example:

Let’s assume you are running app install campaigns for your app across 2 different ad networks, Facebook and Applovin. With Facebook Analytics, you can measure the lifetime value of each ad campaign.

Using Facebook Analytics, you can look at the users who came in as a result of the Facebook Ad Campaign and the users who came in via Applovin separately.

This allows you to understand the value of each campaign and use that knowledge to make intelligent marketing decisions.

Better Targeting For app Install Campaigns

Facebook Analytics lets you research and understand particular groups of users. This alone doesn’t make it stand out above other analytics tools. But this feature coupled tightly with Facebook’s ad platform gives us something powerful.

Let’s look at an example:

With Facebook Analytics you can identify your top 20% of purchasers. Next, you can easily to create an audience that look like that group of high value users.

With a few clicks, Facebook will find people who are very similar to these users. You can then target these people with a Facebook App Install campaign. Being able to identify these users in an Analytics tool and quickly & easily create a target audience just like them is an incredibly effective tool.

Will You Be Taking Advantage Of These New Opportunities?

As you can see, there are some awesome opportunities here for developers here. Between Messenger Platform and the new App Analytics tool, there is a lot we can do as developers.

Do you have plans to use either of these new tools? Tell me all about it in the comments!