Facebook Encourages Developers To Internationalize Their Apps

In a post to the developer blog today, Facebook outlined steps developers can take to help increase their international reach. It explains how translating apps into multiple languages, posting country-specific updates, location-aware tabs, and contact importation through the multi-friend-selector can help with app growth, which in turn helps Facebook’s own expansion into international markets.

One resource the post cites is Translations for Facebook Connect, a framework whereby users can help developers translate their apps into different languages. Additionally, the post recommends taking each culture’s norms, trends, and holidays into account to craft updates that resonate. Developers can set different content to be displayed to users in different locations by using the  new fb_sig_country request header in custom tabs. This way devs can offer country-specific content for countries where they have large audiences while providing a generic version for all other nations as not to alienate the rest of their users.

Also highlighted in the post is the multi-friend-selector which Facebook released for applications in June to assist with viral app growth, as well as their own. It allows a user to import contacts from many popular email services and send them invites to the app. Those who follow the link in these email invitations are prompted to create an account where the app will be bookmarked on their home page’s left sidebar.

Invites to play games are a major way in which Asian social networks have grown, like Japan’s Mixi, where application invites sit atop a user’s home page. Facebook can piggyback it’s own growth on that of apps by prodding developers to use the mult-friend-selector to generate email invites. These app initiated sign-ups may be the key to sustaining recent rapid growth in Korea as well as breaking into stubborn markets like Japan.

Interestingly, the post lumps together Korea, Russia, Germany, The Nederlands, Brazil, India, and Japan as countries where “Facebook is growing rapidly”, despite these nations having very different growth patterns. For instance, Germany’s Facebook growth is the fastest in Europe, while The Netherlands sits much lower in the pack.

Complete data on total language audience size, language demographics, and top languages for Facebook’s major global markets is available through a membership to Inside Facebook Gold. Learn more or join at Inside Facebook Gold.