Facebook helps mobile apps monetize with payments today, so it can monetize their data with ads tomorrow. Facebook has just announced it drove 160 million visitors and 1.1 billion visits to third-party apps last month, up from 60 million visitors and 320 million visits in February. Now seven of the top 10 grossing iOS apps and six of the top Android apps integrate it to power social.
The fundamental misunderstanding of Facebook’s mobile prospects is that it’s trying to compete with iOS and Android for in-app payment revenue via HTML5. It’s not. That revenue is a nice bonus, but what Facebook really wants is their content. By showing that it can drive traffic to mobile apps, devs will keep integrating Facebook and sending it news feed stories that the social network can monetize the consumption of through ads.
Facebook has powered many of the big recent mobile success stories. Apps like Viddy (now at 16 million registered users) and SocialCam have jetted to the top of the free charts thanks to traffic from their Facebook Timeline integrations. The Flixster movie review and info mobile web app saw Facebook referral traffic soar to 480,000 hits a day, up 10x in the last four weeks.