Facebook's jump into the public sector with an upcoming IPO is big news for the entire Internet tech community. Everyone is waiting to see if this NASDAQ debut will be another boost of Google proportions and how the company becoming publicly traded with impact other Internet tech businesses, but few people are more excited than the app developers that use the Facebook platform as their main source of interaction with customers.
Considering that the number of visitors Facebook is sending to mobile apps and games has almost tripled in the past two months, according to the latest reports from Facebook. More than 160 million users access apps Facebook in April, up from 60 million visitors in late February. In the same time frame, those mobile users were in turn generated more than 1.1 billion visits to mobile apps, up from 320 million in late February.
This is big news that get these developers chomping at the bit to see what will happen when Facebook can focus, full-speed ahead on its mobile integration rather than wooing investors.
Facebook reported that seven of iOS' top 10 grossing and six of Android's top 10 grossing apps were integrated with Facebook social professional networks, such as BranchOut have grown from 400,000 monthly active users in December to more than 13 million in late April -- since its mobile app was integrated with Facebook. Those are some impressive stats. BranchOut is a job search, recruitment and recommendation tool in the form of a Facebook app. Where LinkedIn is aimed at the top 10% of office professionals, BranchOut wants to extend tools to the remaining 90% of the workforce.
I got a chance to sit down with BranchOut CEO and Founder Rick Marini to find out his take on the Facebook IPO and what it means to app developers like him.
Marini explained his elation that Facebook should be able to speed up app capabilities and innovation as soon as it is done with all the formalities and care that are needed in a public filing.
"As Facebook evolves its utilities for more diverse apps, you will soon see that add-ons for the service can be more enriching than the games that immediately come to mind," Marini said. "The IPO will be good in legitmizing Facebook to the Wall Street types and the advertisers that still haven't fully converted -- and thats when we developers will really be able to shine."
BranchOut has gotten to speak with the executives at Facebook at great lengths to help grow the app ecosystem into something that allows Facebook to dip its hand into everything that the Internet allows. Since Facebook wants to keep growing and offering more services, apps are the real tool to do that.
"Facebook knows that it can never be the best at everything," Marini explained. "So it has decided to focus on being the best platform and letting the apps come in to add their layers of value so that it is a customizable experience for users."
With HTML5 growing as a promising method and developers not having to go through Apple's app vetting process, Facebook stands a chance at really leading the app revolution. App developers are now just waiting to see what ideas Facebook has ready to unleash on them when the veil of pre-IPO silence drops so that they can pick up their speed and create more ways to function in this online community.
And the financial incentive is defiantly there since Facebook gets a 30% cut for any virtual or digital goods bought through its platform or extensions and most app developers are willing to hand over that cut for access to a pool of users 900 million strong.
"I think we have only begun to see what apps will provide in richness to Facebook," Marini said. "And once investors understand that any transaction, any service and any communication can run through Facebook it will just be a matter of keeping up with the changes to come."