A Facebook Framework for User Acquisition

By Matt Monahan

DISCOVERY beyond in-application user ACQUISITON

There are at least 7 areas for new user acquisition and discovery (Figure A). I will focus this framework on the two areas with the largest return of new users to the application Share the Love to help articulate some of the most effective acquisition and discovery methods for developers.

Invites: Facebook’s Virality

Figure A charts the 7 areas of acquisition that exist both within the application and through the Facebook referral features during a one day period for the application Share the Love - 70k daily active users, 10 % of total installs.

More than 95% of user acquisition for this application occurs within the application through invites. The 40k+ users acquired during this one-day period can be attributed to 2 techniques that apply across many viral Facebook applications – “action based invites” and “point systems”.

“Action based invites” refer to invites sent as the core functionality of the application. For the application Share the Love, the invite action is to “share the love” with friends. When the invitee receives a notification, this call to action activates emotional impulses and leads to new users and subsequently, more new users. This is a very powerful cycle and a key to creating virality inside of applications.

The “point system” in Share the Love is referred to as the user’s “love meter” (see Figure B). The “love meter” lets users know how many people they have shared the love with and the percentage of the user’s love circle that is complete. The existence of a goal structure seems to drive considerable invites from existing users who repeatedly log into Share the Love to add 20 more friends each day to complete their love circle.

These two methods drive the engagement and the virality of some of the most successful applications in the class this quarter (Share the Love, Hugs, Send ‘Hotness’, Kissme, ect.). However, these methods are limited in their virality because of the cap that Facebook has put on invites per user per day.

DISCOVERY: Expanding New User Base Beyond 20 installs per user per day.

Figures C and E show the install breakdown for users who discovered Share the Love through Facebook’s referral features. It is interesting to note that about 50% of new user discovery happens in the news feed. Application news feed stories seem to be most effective in driving discovery of new, interested, and invested users.

Given the overwhelming user discovery effectiveness of news feed stories over the other methods, it makes sense to focus marketing happening outside of the application itself in the news feed. Figure D shows the news feed story images that a Share the Love discoverer would see when browsing their newsfeed. Notice the calls to action present in the news feed: Discover, Publish, Make, Click to Share. These calls to action pull users into the applications that their friends have added.

Figure D

Based on a few experiments, I have discovered that Facebook’s features have a news feed prioritization under the right conditions. The current features functionality offer application marketing solutions and expanded new user discovery.

Facebook’s own applications (pictures, videos, shares, and notes) allow for users to tag up to 25 friends over and over again on separately but identical content (Figure F). Once a group of friends is tagged using a Facebook feature, the news feed displays the media to everyone within the 25 friend’s networks who have that feature installed and viewable on the news feed. Tagging friends in hyper focused networks (one Stanford fraternity) tends to be most effective on the Facebook algorithm. Building out a larger percentage of discoveries will help an application grow beyond the limit of 20 invites per user per day.

Firgure E

Figure F