Nearly 3,000 apps have launched for Facebook’s timeline in the past two months, the company said Monday. But only a few seem to be for big, nonmedia brands so far.
At an event at South by Southwest, Facebook featured several of the startups (such as Foursquare, Foodspotting and Viddy) and media companies (for example, NBCUniversal’s Fandango and The Onion) that have recently created open graph apps.
All of the apps are designed to permit Facebook to automatically—with users' permission—share their interactions with the various companies’ content or services and let the companies benefit from the scale and sharing potential on the social networking site.
For example, Facebook said the platform has already helped Pinterest grow its daily active Facebook user base by 60 percent and Goodreads boost daily traffic by 77 percent.
But among nonmedia brands only a few companies seem to be representing thus far. A new integration with Nike’s FuelBand lets people find friends using the new fitness tracking bracelet and compare activity (and soon share their achievements through their timeline). Earlier this year, Ford released a time line app that lets people share badges showing their loyalty to Ford and parts of their personality.
Ricky Engelberg, an experience director for digital sport at Nike, said the new app is in line with the company’s mission of bringing “innovation to every athlete in the world, [and] if you have a body, you’re an athlete.”
Facebook's timeline platform apps not only provide brands new opportunities for interacting with consumers, but they also create a new stream of user behavior data that can be used to inform other activities on Facebook or elsewhere. Presumably, as more brands see the word-of-mouth possibilities of timeline apps, they’ll join in too.
For media companies, the new apps give people new ways to share and congregate around content. The Fandango app, for example, lets people share with friends the clips they watch, the movies they rate and the films they want to see.
“Movies are inherently social,” said Nicholas Lehman, president of digital for NBCUniversal’s entertainment and digital networks and integrated media division. “This just amplifies that behavior.”