How to Link to Your Facebook Tab App

There is a seemingly simple,  yet very controversial question that we frequently have to deal with: “What’s the best way to link our tab app in Facebook News Feed? What about mobile users?” It’s in the nature of the web that there is always more than one way to achieve something. So, in this quick [...]

There is a seemingly simple,  yet very controversial question that we frequently have to deal with: “What’s the best way to link our tab app in Facebook News Feed? What about mobile users?” It’s in the nature of the web that there is always more than one way to achieve something. So, in this quick Q&A we summarize our point of view and tell you what link format is the best!

(c) Libby Levi

(c) Libby Levi

When doing Facebook (Marketing) Apps, every little aspect can make a huge difference. The worst case for brands is a perfectly planned and built app none of your fans know about. It’s a myth that your fans actively access your brand page. They don’t! The most important key to success is distribution in News Feed! Learn why it’s really important to optimize your link strategy. App usage rates may vary by more than 20-30% depending on your News Feed strategy.

Doing it wrong – how to give away potential users

It’s the obvious way – and unfortunately the wrong one. Posting links to www.facebook.com/brandname/app_XXX (aka Page Tab URL) has many disadvantages:

  • The title of your feed story looks like “Brand page name | Tab title”
  • The preview of your link displays the “about” section of your brand page as description
  • The sharing-image is pulled directly from the “Page Tab Image”-graphic. It’s format is 111×74, so you’re not eligible for bigger photos (which would lead to higher CTRs)
Example with Page-Tab-Url: Appearance in timeline

Example with Page-Tab-Url: Appearance in timeline

Example with Page-Tab-Url: Appearance in newsfeed

Example with Page Tab Url: Appearance in News Feed

 

But it gets even worse: There’s a big, big show stopper:

  • People on mobile devices (Android/iOS native Apps; m.facebook.com) can see your post, but the actual link to the tab is inactive and therefore won’t work at all.
    If a user is accessing the link directly, he will even see a nasty 404:
Following a direct link to the Tab-App on mobile devices leads to this 404-Error

Following a direct link to the Page Tab-URL on mobile devices leads to this 404-Error

Doing it right – why the hell do I get so much mobile traffic?

It’s simple. Because your Facebook Tab app is basically a normal webpage, it can be accessed via its own iFrame URL (e.g. https://apps.diesocialisten.at/project-name/). Try this one and you can get rid of all the cons above. Instead you receive the following advantages for free (if you work with pro developers like us):

Correct preview text according to your needs

You can customize the preview text/graphics completely. No more annoying “about” texts and default titles which can be really misleading. The magic formula for success: OG Tags! There’s even the possibility to have bigger pictures in News Feed!

The only way to drive mobile traffic to your tab app (at the moment)

Yes, it’s correct: There’s no easy way to find page tabs in Facebook’s mobile apps (native & m.facebook.com) at the moment. But that’s not a big deal. Users People normally don’t  browse to your fan page actively to look for campaigns anyway! They browse the App Center or scan News Feed. They click on big images in News Feed which lead them to awesome campaigns.

 

Example with iFrame-Url: Appearance in timeline

Example with iFrame URL: Appearance in timeline

Example with iFrame-Url: Appearance in newsfeed

Example with iFrame URL: Appearance in newsfeed

 

The caveat

There is, of course, one little problem left. If posting a link to your iframe, you need a way to redirect your desktop users back to Facebook. How is this done? With just a simple line of JavaScript which is only included on desktop browsers:

// Desktop Browser? Then check if we're inside the Facebook-iframe - if not, redirect to it!
if (top == self) { top.location = "https://www.facebook.com/brand/app_xxx"; }

 

Screenshot of the app directly on the mobile device

Screenshot of the app directly on the mobile device

The bottom line

When having a look in our app statistics lately, we found big differences in the mobile usage statistics in one of our generic apps.

  • App A: 3% Mobile Usage
  • App B: 27% Mobile Usage

There was only one difference within these campaigns: The way how links to these apps were posted in News Feed.

Folks: Stop annoying your fan base. Start getting MOAR ROI now!

About Author

Johannes Nagl

Johannes is CTO here at Die Socialisten and always looking for ways to optimize his code. He thinks that the best moment to start something is always now. Follow Johannes on Twitter, Facebook or Google+!

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