Tab applications for musicians look to innovate after Facebook removes default landing function

Companies that create tab applications for artists’ Facebook pages are employing new tactics like Open Graph integration to counter the loss of landing tabs.

Most page applications have experienced significant drops in daily and monthly active users now that Facebook removed the default landing tab option for pages with Timeline. Apps like BandPage, Band Profile, Vevo for Artists and BandRx – which allow artists to put songs, tour information and commerce functions on their pages – used to make frequent appearances on our weekly top Facebook apps lists. Now they’re some of the week’s biggest losers, according to our AppData tracking service, losing between 80,000 and 670,000 daily active users since Timeline launched for pages on Feb. 29. These numbers are expected to keep falling as more pages switch to the new design, which is mandatory starting March 30.

Some of these apps have already taken steps to maintain relevance. BandPage announced Open Graph integration that shares stories about videos users mark as favorites and concerts they mark as “want to see.”

ReverbNation, maker of Band Profile, announced a suite of new apps for specific functions. The icons for these apps take advantage of the larger thumbnails now available for tab applications. Instead of having a single app with videos, tour dates, merchandise and more, musicians can add individual apps with easy-to-identify icons that users are more likely to click on and use. (See “Play,” “Join” and “Schedule” below.)

Vevo was one of the early adopters of Open Graph on its music video website. The company also offers a tab app for artists, but for now, actions within those apps don’t translate to Timeline. Vevo could do something similar to BandPage and allow users to share their activity like watching videos, commenting and adding favorites.

It’s unclear whether these measures can attract the same level of traffic band apps saw while serving as the default tab for a page, but these Open Graph integrations could increase engagement overall. Previously, users would land on an app the first time they visited an artist’s page, but they wouldn’t necessarily return because interaction with pages typically happens in the News Feed once users become fans. But with Open Graph integration, users might take more action in an app to fill in their Timelines. This activity is also sent to Ticker and News Feed, leading friends to discover the app content and ultimately the artists’ page. We’ll keep an eye on daily active users as a percentage of monthly active users to see if engagement does increase.

Companies that make band apps and other tab applications will have to diversify their offerings now that they can’t rely on default traffic. Developing mobile-compatible experiences — like Wildfire’s recent example — and helping clients take advantage of Timeline and Open Graph seem to be steps in the right direction.

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