Two days ago, Jerimiah Owyang wrote about news feed optimization being overrated. As someone who builds applications, I can say that it isn’t completely overrated but it is definitely not the new search engine optimization. One problem is the measurement of success. For search engine optimization you end up at the top of the search engine rankings. For news feed optimization you show up in other people’s news feed. There is no effective way except trial and error and polling.
Additionally, there are many factors that are beyond your control with news feed optimization. The more friends an individual has, the more difficult it is to get something displayed in their feed. While appearing in an individual’s news feed is valuable, I believe that showing up on their profile is extremely valuable as well. If you view the statistics of how people end up adding applications, I would guess that viewing through an individual’s profile is extremely high in the rankings.
Currently there is a lack of data pointing to the most effective features within a Facebook application. Whether it is news feed optimization or how your application shows up in someone’s profile, there is still a lack of data. As better analytics are shared among successful applications, we will slowly begin to learn what truly makes Facebook applications successful. We can already learn some valuable lessons from the existing successful applications. Soon enough though, this information will be shared among the majority of applications and application developers. At least if I have anything to say about it 😉 .