When it comes to social media there is no website, statistically, which comes close to the number of members. In early 2014 the amount of users on Facebook was reported at 1.28 billion people with an account. Being that so many individuals use this website, it should come as no big surprise that marketing and app development has played a major role in the websites success.
More diversification from a single app
Facebook has continuously evolved in its interactivity. However, apps have proven to be a bit cumbersome for users. With the launch of App Links, Facebook is hoping to eliminate the frustration of its app which links to other general app information. Instead the App Links are focused on sending users from the Facebook app to a specific location within their app. For example, if an user clicks on a real estate ad on his Facebook app and has the real estate app installed on his device, he will be redirected to the app directly. Developers will quickly see the advantage of having the system set up to be more target oriented. A single app can be programmed so that a user can access web data, load the app (if it is installed), buy the app (if it is not installed), or direct the user to the full app. Furthermore, if the app is developed to point to specific sections within that app, as is the purpose for app links on mobile devices, then someone can share just the liked information on his or her Facebook page. In effect, you can develop one app but have it function as several different applications without needing to have multiple apps with the same functionality.
Should you partner with App Links
One of the questions that a developer needs to address is whether or not to partner with Applinks. Where it is quite true that there are advantages to the program, the developer may find that it is a bit frustrating working with the stipulations that Facebook has put on app incorporation using App Links.
What does this mean for the App Industry?
As Facebook is a dominant force in the internet world, one may see that other social media platforms start to use App Link integration as the standard. One can already note that Twitter has taken up the call with similar integration. It would not be at all surprising if the top social media platforms take up the call. Facebook has claimed that there have been over 1 billion apps have been linked up to what they are referring to as the “new standard”. If these numbers are correct than it is reasonable to conclude that a developer would be wise to learn the ins and outs of App linking and quickly.
The only major drawback that developers will face with the app link is that Facebook requires that you work with one of their developers. Of course this is a marketing tool for the site though they may claim that it is to ensure that the apps are developed and integrated within the mobile site without complications. This really should not discourage any seasoned developer. As the numbers continue to rise, it can be predicted that Facebook will lift or at least modify their requirement to those who are proven app developing professionals.
App Link Requirements
App link is based off of the Apple system. This being stated the best integration will be with apps that are written for the iOS 8 platform. As the App Link is a new development by Facebook, and as iOS 8 is the newest platform, it would only make sense that a develop cater to the newest trend. Those which are not particularly iOS based in their development may find that at minimum the creation of an Apple iOS redirect link would be required. One is encouraged to research the specific requirements off App Link within Facebook as the site’s policies and procedures are constantly evolving.
While it is evident that not all the technical bugs and stipulations have been worked out of this new development, the integration seems to be taking off at an accelerated pace. Being as the company can experiment with different aspects that work and those that fail, do not be surprised if one day there is a feature which is available and the next day there is something which is no longer the standard. As a developer, focus on creating an App link app that caters to the specific needs of the Facebook user while at the same time maintaining the individuality of an iOS 8 app. Remember the app is still a third party app. You are not developing for Facebook, per say, but developing a methodology for incorporation of your app within the social giant to where users will actually want to look at and (if applicable) purchase your development.