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50 Resources for Facebook Application Developers

Note this post is from 2008 so many of the links are broken. If you’re interested in writing an updated post please contact Sean Work.

Developing a successful Facebook application isn’t an easy task. If you’re just getting started or you’re trying to figure out what it takes to create a successful application, you’ll find the list of resources below very helpful.

Planning & designing your Facebook application

Product Planner is an ideal place to further develop, analyze and perfect your application flows, but here are some more resources for planning out your application.

  1. Planning Your Facebook Application – Part one of what is going to be a series of posts on the technical how-to of creating Facebook applications. This article, however, focuses more on the planning phase of application development. It is also very current–focusing on the “new” Facebook.
  2. Is your application doing all of these? The list of Facebook integration points – A great checklist of Facebook integration points that can help your application achieve viral growth.
  3. 7 essential planning tips when developing your application on Facebook Platform – A list of things to consider before you start coding your application, including tips & tricks for successful development.
  4. How to Design the Perfect Facebook Application for the Users and You – Introduction How to Design the Perfect Facebook Application for the Users and You – Introduction – A four part series that presents 3 strategies for creating an application that users will want to use and share. (Part 2, Part3, Part 4)
  5. Product Development 101: Designing & Optimizing the DNA of a Killer App – A presentation at the Startonomics conference where Dan Olsen discusses how to use metrics and optimization to build a better application.
  6. Game design tutorial at the GDC – A quick review by Andrew Chen of the Mechanics, Dynamics and Aesthetics (MDA) game design framework proposed at the Game Developers Conference. Its not an in-depth review, but it gets you thinking about user behavior and emotion and how the mechanics of your game can affect these things.
  7. How to Create a Facebook Application – A primer on Facebook applications and the Facebook API.
  8. What Stanford Learned Building Facebook Apps – A very brief, yet informative, list of 10 tips that Stanford students learned while developing Facebook applications.
  9. What are game mechanics? – Described as a “unified definition of game mechanics that gives [developers] a base upon which to build great games.”
  10. Does High Production Value Matter? – Bret takes a look at whether or not high production value in social games is a necessity for success.
  11. Seven Steps to Graphing Your Facebook Strategy – A detailed article by Dave McClure on creating a Facebook Strategy. The articles serves as an introduction to Facebook as well as covering the Facebook Platform, monetization within Facebook applications and virtual currencies.
  12. Tips for Building Your Facebook App from the Maker of “Quizzes” – Inside Facebook talks to Joe Winterthaler about the success of his application “Quizzes.”
  13. Tips for Developing a Successful Facebook App by Zachary Allia, Maker of “Free Gifts” – Inside Facebook interviews Zachary Allia about developing successful Facebook Applications.
  14. Putting the Fun in Functional: Applying Game Mechanics to Functional Software – A slide presentation by Amy Jo Kim talks about “using game mechanics to create applications and services that are fun, compelling, and addictive.”
  15. Industry Leaders: In-Depth Interview with Playfish CEO Kristian Segerstrale Inside Social Games interviews Kristian Segerstrale, CEO of one of the more successful Facebook application developers today.
  16. Q&A with RockYou—three hit apps on Facebook, and counting – Lance Tokudoa, CEO of RockYou talks to VentureBeat about their success on Facebook.
  17. Q&A with Max Levchin: Slide more than a widget-maker – Max Levchin discusses’s success on Facebook with VentureBeat.
  18. Ypulse Interview: Max Levchin, Founder of Slide – Ypulse interviews Max Levchin on’s success on Facebook.
  19. Facebook Interviews: RockYou CEO Lance Tokuda Part 1 and Part 2 – A 2-part video interview with RockYou CEO Lance Tokuda.
  20. A Case for Cloning Games – Bret on Social Games argues that cloning successful games in big markets like Facebook makes sense.
  21. Game Design Lessons From Evolutionary Psychology: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 – Bret on Social Games applies his knowledge of evolutionary psychology to game design and makes some very interesting points.

Marketing your Facebook application and User Acquisition

If you want your Facebook application to be successful you’re going to need to acquire a large amount of users. The following resources will provide you with tips on how to market your application and acquire users.

  1. Arch Viral: Creating Social Apps for Social Platforms – A presentation at Startonomics in San Francisco by Lance Tokuda of RockYou that “talks about the essential ingredients for creating a viral application on social platforms.”
  2. What’s your viral loop? Understanding the engine of adoption – Andrew Chen looks at what viral loops are and how you can build them into your application to (hopefully) lead to exponential growth.
  3. Viral Facebook Apps: Going from Zero to 1 Million Page Views in One Month – In this video presentation, Siqi Chen talks about how his application “Friends for Sale” grew to 1 million page views in just one month.
  4. Rethinking Facebook’s “Daily Active Users” – Andrew Chen warns against relying to heavily on Daily Active Users (DAU) as a measurement of your applications success.
  5. Viral marketing, activation, and retention metrics – Commentary on one of Dave McClure’s presentations regarding “Acquisition, Activiation, Retention, Referral and Revenue.”
  6. Viral marketing is not a marketing strategy – Andrew Chen argues that you should build your application around viral principles, not the other way around.
  7. Facebook Users Just Want Entertainment – A look at usage trends on Facebook applications and conclusions that can be drawn from the data.
  8. User retention: Why depending on notification-driven retention sucks – Food for thought regarding applications that use notifications and depend on them for user retention.
  9. Q&A with two Standford Facebook class teams who reached 1M users in 30 days – Inside Facebook talks to Stanford students about their experiences creating Facebook applications and acquiring a large number of users.
  10. 10 tips for releasing your Facebook application, and maximizing growth – An in-depth look at acquiring users and what kind of user base your application might need to sustain it.
  11. Facebook Application Marketing – A set of slides that looks at the various communication channels available within Facebook and how they can be used to promote your application.
  12. Inside Facebook, NFO (News Feed Optimization) is the new SEO – Looks at how to take advantage of the most important marketing channels on Facebook: the News Feed, Notifications and Messages.
  13. Make Your Millions with Facebook Applications – Despite the title of this post it mainly focuses on how some of the more successful Facebook applications have acquired their users and the lessons that can be learned from the tactics they’ve used.

Monetizing your Facebook application

Monetizing a Facebook Application can be tricky. Check out the resources below for tips on how to successfully make money from your application.

  1. What every Web 2.0 entrepreneur should know about virtual goods – Andrew Chen looks at how to use virtual goods, how to monetize these goods and how they can be used to acquire users.
  2. Social Networks Part 3: How To Maximize Your Facebook Application’s Profit Potential – Looks at “how to maximize your application’s profit potential by incorporating some tips during the development, marketing and monetization phases” of application development.
  3. Making money off facebook – Looks at the challenges of making money with Facebook applications.
  4. The Internet Wants to Be Free, but You Need to Get Paid – A presentation at the Startonomics conference where Andrew Chen talks about understanding your traffic sources and how to monetize them.
  5. Counting Your Big Pile of Benjamins: 5 Startup Tips for Maximizing Ad Revenue – A post that covers “some of the key milestones that any ad-supported startup will have to face.”
  6. What CPM is your app making? Data from Facebook Developers – Briefly discusses trying out different ad networks and gives you a general idea of what some other developers are making from some of those ad networks.
  7. 5 factors that determine your advertising CPM rates – A brief write-up on how to determine how well your site will monetize with advertising.
  8. How much is a Facebook user worth, anyway? – Andrew Chen looks at the reality of making money from advertising within Facebook applications and make some suggestions on how it could potentially be improved.
  9. 5 things that make your social network monetize like crap – Andrew Chen takes an in-depth look at the challenges that affect social network monetization.
  10. Virtual goods starting to pan out for Facebook game app developers, and not just the venture-funded ones – VentureBeat looks at applications that are making a lot of money with virtual goods.
  11. How are facebook applications making money? – A brief list of the ways that Facebook applications are able to generate revenue.
  12. Slide’s Levchin on making money in social media – A video interview with Max Levchin that looks at how his company, Slide, makes money on Facebook.
  13. Monetization Options for Facebook Application Developers – Andrew Wee looks at ways to monetize your Facebook applications.
  14. Facebook Monetization Service $uper Rewards Officially Launches – A look at $uper Rewards, a “Facebook Application monetization widget” that many of the top Facebook developers are using to monetize their applications.
  15. Business Models for Social Networks: Monetizing Social Capital, The Long Tail of Cool & The Friends List – Dave McClure of 500 Hats takes an in-depth look at the strategies that can be used to make money on social networks.
  16. Virtual Goods: the next big business model – Susan Wu look at the success of virtual goods on social networks and why people choose to purchase virtual goods.
  1. Some graphic artists who are less concerned with the game mechanics and monetization topics might find these posts useful. They cover the design restrictions of the canvas and boxes within profiles and notification and email requirements and limitations.

  2. Jessica Castiglione Jun 27, 2009 at 7:42 am

    How do I create my own app game I want to create a life game similar to yoville or the sims. I don’t have a link how do I get one? Is it free ?

  3. it’s a great list of facebook applicaiton resources. i want to thank you for sharing it with us.

  4. Facebook applications is really getting popular after the popularity of facebook and many developers are developing promising facebook applications for their users. The market is really growing great

  5. Woo.. really impressed thanks a lot for sharing this

  6. Great links and resources.

  7. Great list! Thanks a lot.
    Hope to see some updated version. :)

  8. Interesting!!!!
    Thanks for sharing this.

  9. This is a great list of Facebook application. What a comprehensive list of links and resources.

    Thanks for compiling it – much appreciated!

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  13. Growing popularity of facebook encourages more and more application developers to come and start designing an application for their choice.

  14. Thank you for this list!!

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  16. Superb List. Have bookmarked this bad boy!

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