60 million monthly users engage with apps on Facebook mobile platform; average 5 times per month

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By Brendan Irvine-Broque Comments

Facebook Director of Product Management Carl Sjogreen revealed that more than 60 million monthly users engage with mobile applications via Facebook, 320 million times per month since the mobile platform launched in October 2011. Sjogreen shared this statistic during a fireside chat with Founder of Inside Network Justin Smith at the Inside Social Apps conference in San Francisco.

[Update 2/9/12 12:47 p.m. – An earlier draft of this story was unclear that the 60 million users who engage with apps on Facebook’s mobile application are monthly active users.]

This means that 60 million users navigate to either mobile web or native applications that integrated with Facebook each month, and these users engage with apps roughly five times per month. With 425 million monthly active users who access the social network via mobile, this also means that roughly 14 percent of Facebook’s mobile users engage with third-party apps directly from the mobile platform. The company has not offered numbers on how many of its 425 million mobile users have smartphone devices that are capable of running third-party Facebook apps.

When asked about the value proposition of HTML5 to application and app developers, Sjogreen said, “We don’t really care whether developers build for mobile web or native apps,” noting that in his view, the decision is not either-or. Instead, Sjogreen made the point that “The people you want to play with trump whatever the platform the app is on. If your fundmental gameplay revolves around interacting with friends, then being cross platform is really important.”

Many developers face a dilemma. They can develop native apps for iOS and Android, which can include advanced functionality and graphics, but are often more costly and difficult to maintain. Alternatively, developers can build HTML5-compatible mobile web applications, which lack some of the advanced features of native apps, but can accessed on any platform, which significantly reduces development costs and enables all users to access their apps.

Sjogreen’s comments reinforce that Facebook will support all developers, but emphasizes cross-platform compatibility as an increasingly important factor to consider. This makes sense in the context of building social applications where users interact with friends across different platforms and devices. For app distribution and notifications through Facebook to work effectively for users, apps need to be accessible on whichever device an individual is using at the moment they receive a notification or see activity in News Feed or Ticker.

For more coverage of Sjogreen’s fireside chat from Inside Social Apps today, see our liveblog summary here.