Facebook Continues To Improve Notifications

By Justin Lafferty 

Facebook wants to push more notifications, alerting users that there are games to be played and applications with which to be interacted, but it wants to make sure that it doesn’t spam people. The site announced Friday that is putting more controls in place to ensure that users aren’t bombarded with notifications that will only be ignored or hidden.

Facebook made a significant change to its notifications application-programming interface in August, as users started to see more notifications, such as friends’ victories in games or reminders that they hadn’t used certain apps in a while. However, Facebook wanted to ensure that this wasn’t a way for app developers to spam users. The site gave people control over notifications, allowing users to hide or block notifications from certain apps.

On Nov. 9, Facebook will put into place two more control measures to make sure users receive higher-quality notifications:

  • Apps will be unable to send notifications to inactive users. Facebook’s Charles Jolley wrote that apps should only send notifications to users who have visited the app within the past 28 days. Apps can be flagged as spam for sending notifications to users who have been inactive longer than that.
  • Additionally, high-volume senders must maintain at least a 17 percent click-to-impression on notifications. If the app goes below that figure on a weekly basis, Facebook might block access to notifications from that app.

Jolley wrote about how Facebook is striving for high-quality notifications that users will want to click on:

As an increasing number of developers use notifications, we’ve found that those who focus on sending high-quality notifications to active users, as we suggest in our guidelines, are seeing click-through rates of 25 percent or higher, which is significantly higher than rates typically seen for other direct-response channels, such as email.

Games like Kixeye’s War Commander and King.com’s Candy Crush Saga, and apps like TripAdvisor, have seen high engagement with their notifications as a result of their quality implementations. For example, War Commander sees a 30 percent click-through rate for notifications it sends to users when their base is attacked.

Readers: How often do you click through a notification, or how often do you hide it?