The Wrong Idea About Facebook Apps

I have a number of people contacting me in regards to Facebook application development. Many of these people want to leverage Facebook to help drive traffic to their websites. A number of those individuals would like to drive traffic to their social networks. This is an interesting phenomenon that I have been thinking about. People trying to leverage Facebook to build the user base of their social network or general website. Is this an effective model?

While you can use Facebook to drive traffic to your website, putting most of the functionality on your own website is not going to be an effective model. Ultimately, the more functionality that you build into your application, the more time users will spend on it. If the goal of your website is to generate advertising revenue as well as a solid user base, you should start off by building a user base within Facebook.

On the other hand I have seen models for applications in which it is not worth the investment to port everything over to Facebook. This is fine, but in such situations, the volume of traffic you receive to your application is going to be significantly reduced. As a result, you should build as much functionality into Facebook as possible and attempt to build up your user base there. You can then leverage that user base to drive traffic to your website. Any attempt at making a simple application which provides little value to the users (such as a badge) to increase traffic to your site is going to fail. You must invest in providing an entertaining and/or highly functional application to experience significant results.

While this will create an additional step in the marketing flow, you will generate a large value out of a large Facebook user base. You have to trust that some of your Facebook users will become genuinely interested in your website and not just stay on Facebook. Do you think I’m wrong here?