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Capturing Growth: Photo Apps and Open Graph

July 17, 2012ByRick Armbrust

People upload an average of more than 300 million images to Facebook every day, making photos a core part of the Facebook experience. Developers tap into this enthusiasm by creating a variety of apps that make sharing photos more fun and that help people to easily enhance images. They are effectively incorporating Open Graph into apps and tapping into Facebook's key social points -- Timeline, News Feed, and Ticker -- to increase referrals, signups and engagement.

The Bigger Picture

PicCollage: A fun app on iOS and Android for creating social photo collages, PicCollage’s Open Graph implementation increased its mobile referrals three fold, its click-through rate by 20% and its weekly active users by 40%. PicCollage has grown through the use of multiple actions, email notifications, the built-in Like action, and prominently featuring Login with Facebook (mobile and web) when the app launches.

Cinemagram: This app brings photos to life through GIF animation and makes it easy to add them to Timeline. Cinemagram -- which utilizes Login with Facebook, Facebook’s Comments Box and Like button plugins, and enables Open Graph stories with User Generated Photos. The integrations have boosted the number of people logged in to Cinegram through Facebook by a fourth to 15% of overall users. People logged into Cinemagram through Facebook are engaged for twice as long as people who aren't, and they generate 60% to 70% of Cinemagram's total referrals.

Hipstamatic: "The little plastic camera with the golden shutter" launched an Open Graph implementation at the start of July. Since then, mobile referrals have doubled and daily active users are up 50%. One of the top grossing iOS photo apps, Hipstamatic publishes activity via Open Graph, provides clear user controls for sharing, and leverages Timeline so its community can authentically represent their Hipstamatic usage (lenses, films, and gear).

Instagram: Launched User Generated Photos in April and mobile based referrals have grown 4x since then. On both iOS and Android, Instagram also launched built-in Like action at the end of June and now one-third of all of its Open Graph actions are Likes, boosting mobile referral traffic 10%.

But these developers aren’t alone, and they're not just based in the US. PicsArt Photo Studio has its developer team based in Armenia and is the #1 free Android photo app, while FxCamera, also available on Android and currently with more than 10 million installs, is based in Japan. Popset and Gifboom also have notable Open Graph implementations (See this Facebook Apps post on Top Free Photo Apps).

Best Practices

Login with Facebook: This is the first essential step for enabling developers to immediately create a social experience and for leveraging Facebook's key distribution channels. Featuring this option when the mobile app launches helps establish this connection right away. Find more information here.

PicCollage utilizes Login with Facebook when its app launches.

Provide Simple Controls: Enabling an easy publishing experience is important for both developers and people using their apps. People get more value from an app the more they understand it so developers with photo apps that publish by default should provide easy opt-out controls. Find more information here.

Once a person has logged in with their Facebook account, PicCollage enables Facebook sharing with an easy-to-use control.

Hipstamatic prominently promotes timeline functionality and provides easy access for adjusting personal settings.

Hipstamatic uses custom Open Graph actions and objects to allow people to showcase the unique lenses and cameras they use.

Built-In Like: This is the easiest way for a developer to enable sharing from an app. The Open Graph built-in Like action allows developers to build their own Like buttons for mobile or web apps and drive distribution across Facebook. Find more information here.

Instagram's integration of the Like API drives powerful distribution through Facebook. When a person's Facebook friends like a photo within Instagram, he or she will see a notification on Facebook.

Open Graph Photos API: This feature enables people to upload, interact with and experience photos through an app the same way they do with any other photo on Facebook. Find more information here.

Using Open Graph, PicCollage's images get the same design treatment that users expect to see photos on Facebook.

We’ve always been excited about the role of photos on Facebook and we look forward to innovating further on the tools that Facebook developers have available to them so that they can keep creating great apps.