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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Design & Learning from Viral Applications FB App lifecycle

Step 1

(Initial Growth):

Initial Growth (based on advertising principles) – all about conversion rates (#times people see profiles, canvas page, invites, activity stream, feeds). Goal MAX conversion rates for each channel. Consider long-term user experience. Effective (aggressive) methods at the beginning will not work later in app life cycle

Design/implement based on simple concepts. Viral channels are more important than features!


Step 2

(validation):

Goal: concept validation.

  • Iterate/execute rapidly. Viral loop. A/B testing. Do not complicate – it will make execution/testing/measuring. Goal: figure out features, do not be emotional, and be guided by data/metrics.
  • Use web matrix (Google analytics for conversion rates)

[Social Application classes]

  • Channel (superwall)
  • Content
  • Dating
  • Games (related to dating, affinity groups)
  • Gifts
  • Self-Expression


Understand audience, look at market size, potential penetration (set expectation right :). Ning has impressive numbers but segmented. iGoogle (10-15 Mil, virality is not clear yet, how to build initial friend list?)

  • Understand activity stream.
  • Focus on simple
  • Focus on activity stream that all users can engage into

Typical 30 releases/day during the post-launch phase.

Take extra care of 1-st impression (app about page is important!)


Step 3

(grows, tuning along the way)

Start with the call to action

Figure out conversion rate (make sure x*y>1)

Preview Page messages turning

App turning


Step 4

(Promote!)

Buy additional throughput, engage ad network

Make sure that viral loop works – otherwise money will go into drain.

Use different add network.

Cross-promote apps!


Step 5

(Engagement)

Congratulations!

How to make users to come back? How to make users to come back?

Saturated social circles. Critical mass.

Good functionality bring users back – tune for user experience! 1-to-1 becomes more important than invites. Use e-mails and messaging. Do not spam – interact by telling only when something happened.


Step 6

(disengagement)

Understand that every channel will degrade over time. Set your expectations right!

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