Native Android apps can now get distribution through Facebook discovery channels

Facebook today announced that native Android apps will now be able to benefit from the same social discovery channels as web apps and native iOS apps that integrate with the social network.

Previously native Android apps that used Facebook login couldn’t get distribution through mobile News Feed, Timeline, bookmarks and requests. These channels have been available to HTML5 and iOS apps since October 2011; in February, Facebook told us that 60 million monthly active users navigated to mobile apps from the social network. Apps like Pinterest, BranchOut, Diamond Dash and Words With Friends are among those that have seen millions of additional monthly visits by incorporating Facebook single sign-on. As part of the latest update to Facebook for Android, native Android apps can now access the same features.

Android developers who currently use single sign-on can visit their app settings to enable deep linking. After that, the native app will open when users tap on Facebook stories or requests within Facebook. For example, Spotify users will be able to instantly play songs from their Android devices when they tap on a friend’s listening activity (see example right). If users don’t have the native app installed, they will be taken to a download page.

Apps that integrate Open Graph, in addition to single-sign on, have additional opportunities for discovery on mobile. Facebook recently added game stories in News Feed as a way for users to discover apps on their mobile devices, and a new “trending articles” module gives additional traffic to social readers on the web and mobile devices. We’ve also seen expanded activity modules on mobile Timeline this week.

Developers will be able to get insights about the distribution of referral traffic from the mobile feed, versus mobile search, bookmarks, notifications and Timeline. This was first introduced in March.

More details about deep linking for native Android apps is available on the Facebook Developers site here.

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