Josh Sturgeon is a Boston-based entrepreneur and search marketing consultant. He is the founder of FacebookAppRush.com, a community that gives away 7 figure strategies to create and monetize Facebook apps. Follow @FBAppRush
You already know the recipe for success online, don’t you?
Develop a website with a fantastic user experience, compelling content, add a pinch of paid traffic, and stir vigorously with social media.
The goal of most web publishers is simple: generate enough traffic to your website such that Google AdSense gets in the habit of writing you a check every month. Maybe it covers your car payment. Maybe it’s enough for your mortgage. If you are fortunate enough, you actually make a full-time living as a content publisher.
But what if there was an alternative to the conventional web-publishing model?
The Facebook Factor
With all of the hype surrounding the Facebook IPO this past spring, it seems that all eyes are trained on the fortunes made by Mark Zuckerberg and his clan of brilliant executives.
What most people miss in all of this noise is how much money other people are making through the Facebook giant.
Take Zynga for example, the popular social game developer who accounts for nearly 15% of Facebook’s revenue. Zynga realized over $300 million of revenue in Q4 of last year alone!
My intention isn’t to convince you to abandon what is working now. Only a fool shuts down something that makes him money. Instead, I hope that you discover the massive financial opportunity that exists in the world of Facebook app monetization.
5 Advantages of Monetization with Facebook Apps:
- Acceleration of unique visitors through viral channels
If you have ever developed a blog from scratch, you know that growing your community of readers is kind of like watching a child grow up. For a long time the baby doesn’t do a whole lot.
Sure, they eat, cry, and poop themselves, but they aren’t exactly leaving a major impact on the world yet. Over time, you see them take their first steps and speak their first words. But sometimes it feels like the diaper changes will never end.
Okay enough with the metaphor, let’s face it, it’s hard to get traffic and even harder to get the right traffic to your website.
With Facebook apps, it’s like having a child who was nursed with steroids. Overnight they can grow from infancy to a full grown adult.
We have the built-in viral nature of Facebook to thank for that. By design, Facebook is an environment where content can be rapidly shared between trusted sources. In fact, recent estimates count the number of interconnections on Facebook at over 100 billion!
Case in point: In a little over one year since its inception, “Socialcam”—the popular video sharing app—garnered nearly 55,000,000 monthly active users.
Have you ever seen that type of growth for a traditional blog or website? Facebook is the only candidate that comes to mind.
- More analytics
As a Webmaster, you know that data is powerful. The more you know about your visitor, the better you can market to them and deliver more targeted advertising. Ultimately, more targeted advertising equates to more revenue from your website.
One of your best friends in the world is Google Analytics. But where Google analytics ends, Facebook “insights” is just getting started.
Most analytics packages give you visitor information like:
- Referral keywords
- Geographical location
The analytics that support Facebook apps are far more robust. More importantly, they include demographic information, which is vital for choosing more relevant ads.
In addition to the core data in Google Analytics, Facebook insights includes age and gender.
Those two key pieces of demographic data make a world of difference when it comes to choosing relevant ads. Let’s be honest, a 13-year-old boy sees the world differently than a 49-year-old woman. Traditional website analytics treats them both the same, labeling them a “visitor”.
Facebook insights appropriately makes a distinction.
- More visitor engagement
Every 20 minutes on Facebook, over 1 million links are shared.
Facebook has ridiculous levels of user engagement. In fact, legitimate studies have been conducted to investigate if social media channels like Facebook are breeding addiction and dependency!
With an engaged user base, you have more opportunity for page views. This is pure gold when it comes to a CPM monetization model, but more importantly, engaged users create viral growth. Check out our viral growth calculator to measure the exponential growth capabilities of a Facebook app idea.
- No competition in organic search rankings
I love search marketing. In fact, I’ve had the opportunity to advise some of the world’s most prominent brands when it comes to their search marketing strategy. There is incredible value in white hat SEO.
But a well-executed strategy takes a lot of time and consistent effort.
In certain verticals, the competition is so fierce that companies may spend six figures a month to rank on the first page for their target keywords.
People fight for rankings because they want targeted traffic.
That’s the beauty of growing a user base through Facebook apps. There is no link building, optimization or bidding wars. There are no algorithm updates or penalties.
If you have a great idea for an app and develop a compelling user experience, your app can grow in popularity overnight. Ever heard of the app “Song Pop”? If not, you probably will soon. They grew to over 2 million daily active users within two months.
How long would it take for you to build a website that brings in 1 million unique visitors a month? The power of engaged Facebook users blows that threshold to smithereens.
- The cure for ad blindness
As a user of the web you are developing blindness.
Luckily this blindness is only for online ads. The more you see the less you see—know what I mean?
We have become increasingly skilled at tuning out banner ads that don’t matter to us. That’s where Facebook monetization is different. Sure, you can use traditional advertising within your app using a CPC or CPM ad model. But the real money is made with in-app purchases.
Developers like Zynga have made their millions by selling digital goods within the app. Running low on poker chips? You can easily purchase a new stack right within the app.
This used to be accomplished through buying and selling Facebook credits. Recently, we learned that by the end of 2012, this method will be phased out and replaced with a system much like the Apple store.
That means worldwide, Facebook users will be able to use their own currency to make a purchase. With new localization options, developers can also create a document translation for their app data—reaching a massive audience worldwide.
Beyond in-app purchases, developers will also be able to sell their apps in the new Facebook app center. The opportunity to monetize the most viral platform has never been greater!