Welcome to the second instalment of our series covering the latest happenings on Facebook.
Facebook Status Update
Real Cash Gambling now on Facebook
Bingo Friendzy is a new app to hit the Facebook App Center. The difference with this app is that it has been launched by UK Gambling company, Gamesys and it now lets Facebook users in the UK over the age of 18 to compete for real cash prizes.
One concern is the overly cartoon like graphics, which could easily be confused with an app that a younger audience would use. I’m not sure why the decision was made to take this visual approach, and it appears that i’m not the only one who is concerned with its child-like design which coincidentally look remarkably similar to Moshi Monsters.
After substantial media coverage this week, it is interesting to see that there are only 1700 people signed up to play. Maybe the UK isn’t quite ready to part with their hard earned cash on Facebook just yet.
Facebook release iOS SDK 3.0
This week Facebook announced that their newest iOS SDK, version 3.0, came out of beta and is ready to you in production apps.
The release has several new features and enhancements, including new UI controls, better session management, improved integration with Facebook APIs and more modern Objective-C code, as well as some small bug fixes.
New UI controls
Facebook have added some popular UIViews out-of-box right out of the box to help speed up application production and improve consistency and stability across Facebook iOS apps. Two new UIViews/Controllers include FBPlacePickerViewController and FBFriendPickerViewController pickers, plus there's now support for fetching the user's profile photo.
In our experience of building Facebook apps, especially iOS apps, authentication has always been a big headache to get working across all devices and operating systems. With this SDK update some of those issues have thankfully been resolved. Facebook have introduced a new FBSession object to improve the authentication flow and session management.
The main feature of this release is the ability to batch up API requests which will significantly improve latency in your apps. Facebook have also improved and simplified the syntax required to make calls to their API, so you should find yourself writing less code too!
Since Apple released iOS 5.0, Objective-C programming has become far cleaner, with simpler memory management (Automatic Reference Counting), blocks and the addition of some excellent APIs. Using third party SDKs written for previous versions of iOS occasionally caused problems. We often found ourselves rewriting chunks of code in order to get apps to compile. Facebook have now helped developers out a lot with this release - everything's been rewritten and simplified!
For more information on the release head over to Facebook's developer site.
Facebook Launch Mobile Ads for Apps
Facebook has this week launched a new way for mobile app developers to gain a wider audience with an ad unit that will help them reach and reengage their users.
Facebook has been increasingly promoting apps, with the recent launch of the App Center and mobile ads look set to accompany this along with attempting to generate some additional income as more and more people are using Facebook via mobile devices rather than desktop pc's, where traditional advertising is dominant.
The ads will appear on the news feeds of mobile users. If a user is tempted and clicks the ad unit and they already have the app installed on their smartphone, the app will launch. If they don't have the app installed they will be redirected to the App store or Google Play where they can download it.
One potential downside of this could be users news feeds becoming cluttered with ads from large companies promoting apps that they are likely to be already aware of, whereas smaller independent developers are unlikely to have the budget to set aside for advertising and depend on word of mouth to promote their apps instead.
The ad unit is currently in beta to limited developers and integrates with the Facebook SDK 3.0 for iOS.
Facebook Now Lets Brands Target Posts By Age, Gender
Facebook has recently announced new options for brand Pages to make their posts more targeted. Previously, page admins could only target by language and location, but they now have new options which include targeting by:
- Interested In
- Relationship Status
An example given illustrates targeting students for a back-to-school campaign. Now you can drill down specifically to students aged between 18 and 21. This new functionality comes hot on the heels of Twitter making it possible for marketers to send targeted tweets based on location, devices and platform.
Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
An Olympic based Facebook application has caught our eye this week. Not one of the big brands associated with the Games, but one with a slightly different take. For the duration of London 2012, Nigel (an ordinary man from Kettering) will ride on London public transport and take insporation from the conversations he overhears to write song lyrics. Overnight, those song lyrices will be turned in to full songs for you to hear the next day.
As we're now approaching the end of the games, there's a backlog of songs to listen to but it's interesting going back through them and hearing what had inspired him on key dates during London 2012. The application is a Mother London project, with lyrics from Nigel, music by Racket Music, performed by TD Lind in support of Family Action.