The Post-Notification Era on the Facebook Platform: Viral Marketing Isn’t Dead Yet

There was a lot of hand-wringing by developers prior to Facebook phasing out application-based Notifications on March 1st, especially among smaller developers who relied heavily on them to remind users to come back to their game or application. Making matters worse, the new features designed to replace Notifications had their own issues:

  • Proxy email messaging wasn’t fixed until over a week after Notifications disappeared (see the bug) and some developers were caught off-guard that proxy emails have a restrictions on acceptable HTML and FBML tags
  • The Games Dashboard and Counters have been extremely ineffective in driving traffic (one developer shared that of 150,000 referenced visits, 1202 were from the dashboard)

Illustrating the immediate impact of the changes, one developer posted this graphic of their application’s engagement metrics, highlighting the relative impact of Notifications versus the games dashboard in driving engagement:

In the two weeks since Notifications, Zynga’s titles are a mixed bag with PetVille and FishVille down 4-6%, Mafia Wars and Café World flat and YoVille and FarmVille up 3%. Zynga’s use of email is fairly sporadic and limited to a few titles…

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