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Group to Page Migration How To

Group to Page Migration How To

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The Mini Feed is a powerful part of the Facebook Platform API that allows developers
to publish news about a user’s engagement with their applications. Like the profile
box, your feed items must be compelling to the profile owner while not being
spammy, AND attract your user’s friends to click on the feed item and explore the
app. If you mess up in either direction, users will hide your feed item, and thanks to a
recent new feature from Facebook, uninstall it in-line.

As I mentioned earlier, the Facebook News Feed offers immense value by syndicating
your feed items to thousands of users’ home pages inside Facebook.

Strategy: Designing High Performance Feed Items

1. The most important thing you can do as a Facebook application marketer is
to publish engaging, authentic Feed items.

Whenever a user performs an action within your application, consider whether
hearing about that action would be valuable to that user’s friends. If so, publish a

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Feed item about that event.

For example, the Moods application invokes a Feed item when a user changes their
mood. The feed item simply contains this contextually appropriate “news” about
my friend Holly–she has updated her mood within the Moods application (I’m glad
to hear she’s feeling happy).

Likewise, the Books application publishes a Feed item when a user indicates that
they have started or finished reading a book. This is also news that I find
appropriate and interesting about my friend–I might even casually follow up with
Jonathan about this “news”.

In January 2008, Facebook banned using the word “message” anywhere in your
feed item copy in order to prevent user confusion regarding whether or not
applications had access to the Facebook Inbox. While it may create a short term
performance boost, your feed items should not be so aggressive that it creates
confusion with Facebook itself – Facebook is likely to ban more words in the future
that could cause this same issue.

2. Be sure you optimize your Feed items for all of the Feed item elements
made available to you by Facebook: title, body, and images.

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The Facebook Developers Feed Item documentation describes the requirements
and limitations of each Feed item element as the following:

• The title is required, and is limited to 60 displayed characters (excluding

tags).

o The a tag is allowed, and there can be zero or one instance in the

title.

o One fb:userlink tag is allowed, and the uid parameter must be
populated with the user id on whose behalf the action is being
published. If there is no such fb:userlink tag found, then one is
automatically prepended to the title.
o The fb:name tag is allowed, and there may be multiple instances of
this tag.
o No other tags are allowed.
• The body is optional, is limited to 200 displayed characters (excluding tags),
and can include the tags fb:userlink, fb:name, a, b, and i.
• Up to 4 images can be displayed, which will be shrunk to fit within 75×75,
cached, and formatted by Facebook. Images can either be a URL, or a
facebook PID. If it is a URL, you must own the image and grant Facebook the
permission to cache it. Each image must have a link associated with it, which
must start with http://

As you notice above, both Moods and Feeds use short titles to get your attention
and longer, more descriptive bodies. Moods also includes an image, which is very
attention grabbing.

Be careful, however, to resist the temptation to always max out the images you
include with every feed item just because they’re “essentially free ad space”. This
could make your Feed items seem spammy and adversely affect your Feed item
conversion rate.

3. Include inviting, provocative calls to action that lead the reader to install the

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application directly.

Ultimately, the value of the News Feed the application developer is that it’s
powerful, free marketing. The News Feed can be used to convert your users’
friends to do things you want them to do - like install your application. You need to
make this conversion process as quick and easy as possible.

For example, you’ll notice that the Moods application asks the reader, “How are
you feeling?” immediately after the Feed item body. Clicking this link leads to the
Moods application installation page. As a result, the Moods application has
experienced significant growth despite not doing any active marketing.

The Books application prompts the reader to click on the title of the book my
friend just finished reading. However, clicking this link does not lead me to install
the application, but rather through an affiliate link to Amazon, where the Books
developer will earn a commission on anything I purchase.

Since the Platform launch, Facebook enabled a new way of increasing the selection
frequency and distribution breadth of feed items called Feed Templates.
By
registering feed templates in your Developer Settings, your feed items can now be a)
lumped together and shown more often, and b) shown to friends of your app’s users

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who don’t have the app installed (previously, only friends who had the app could see
your app’s feed items in their News Feeds).

News Feed Optimization: Strategies and Techniques

In January 2008, Facebook made a change to the way these “templated” feed
items are distributed to users without the app: if the feed items link to application
pages that require the user to install the app in order to be viewed, Facebook will
lower that feed item’s rank. Apparently, Facebook wants application developers
to give new users more of a “taste” of applications before requiring them to install
the app. Whether this translates into a deeper philosophical shift remains to be
seen, but it could be interpreted as a sign that Facebook wants more applications
(or at least application elements) available to users without requiring installation.

In February 2008, Facebook made another change to the way feed items work to
prevent an often-spammy practice: “passive” feed items. Passive feed items were
those that were published without your explicit action – for example, “Justin was
invited to play Poker” instead of “Justin has been playing poker.” This became a
problem when aggressive developers spammed users’ Mini Feeds even when they
weren’t using the app. It is now deprecated.

Testing, tracking, and optimizing your feed items is definitely a worthwhile
investment for any application developer. You should instrument your feed items as
early as possible.

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