The primary means of app discovery on Facebook is sharing between friends, but the company is today announcing changes to the other options — search, and its Application Directory.
“Many developers have been confused about what it means to submit to the App Directory and frustrated by the length of time it took to get approved,” Facebook product manager Carl Sjogreen writes on the company blog. “As we have looked into this issue, we found that the App Directory drove less than 0.5% of all app installs while a significant number of app installs came as a result of Facebook search.”
Instead, developers will now be able to submit their apps directly to be indexed in search results, and Facebook is in the meantime “removing the App Directory (in its current form).”
Before, developers had to register through the App Directory in order to be visible in results. Meanwhile, Facebook gradually de-emphasized the directory over the years, and for more than a year has not linked to it from anywhere on the site that we know of. (The URL was still live as of publication, but is now dead.)
Developers who have more than 10 monthly actives can go to the Developer App and click on the “Submit to Search” link on the left sidebar in edit mode. Facebook will then place the app in the search index. Sjogreen says that changes to app settings will automatically be updated in the index, and that it can take up to 72 hours for search results to begin showing newly-added apps.
He also notes that “as always, there is no approval process for launching an app on Platform.” Apple’s App Store, arguably the biggest rival platform today, both requires an application process and mainly drives growth through its official leaderboards, and now Facebook has neither. While Sjogreen might have hinted that there will be some new version of the App Directory one day, the main message seems to be that it’s doubling down on its strengths: being open and social.