Facebook’s mobile apps and websites don’t support access to Page tab applications, which let brands host signup forms, coupons, sweepstakes, games and more. Considering roughly 40% of Facebook’s users are accessing the site via these mobile interfaces, brands are missing out on serving their content to hundreds of millions of people. But Page management platform Vitrue announced a workaround today at the Appnation III conference, inspired by encouragement from Facebook itself. Soon when mobile users try to visit tab apps on the Pages of its clients, Vitrue’s system will recognize the user is on a mobile device and redirect them to an HTML5 mobile site version of that app.
This will allow its clients to publish links to their apps in the news feed without worrying that many fans won’t be able to access them. Expect other Page management companies to copy this fix if Facebook doesn’t solve the problem for everyone first.
There are plenty of important use cases that brands with mobile Page tab access will be able to support. They could distribute a coupon that fans could pull up on their phone and show at a physical location. They could get mobile users to signup for text message alerts about discounts and news. Brands won’t have to redundantly build these Facebook Page tab apps as mobile sites since starting at the end of the December Vitrue will take care of mobile optimization for them. Any brand with local presences, such a retail or restaurant chains, could benefit from this technology.
Adam Archer, founder of GamesThatGive which Vitrue acquired in July and now the GM of Vitrue’s games unit, tells me that the company’s clients were clamoring for this type of functionality. He thinks clients of the other big Page management companies are asking for the same, so Vitrue’s competitors will probably follow suit. Archer tells me Vitrue was working with Facebook through the Preferred Developer Consultant program and it suggested they build out mobile access. When I asked if Facebook might make Vitrue’s capability obsolete by building out mobile Page tab access itself, Archer tells me “Maybe it’s somewhere on their roadmap, but it’s not a priority.”
I’m skeptical, though. Some thought mobile Page tab access was coming at f8. It’s such a fundamental platform issue it seems unlikely that Facebook would leave the responsibility to third-parties for much longer. Until then, though, Vitrue may be able to attract some new mobile-focused clients.
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