Facebook has quietly changed the conditions that determine whether an app is eligible to be shown as a Sponsored Story, according to the Ads API documentation.
The change reduces the amount of time required for a user to engage with an app before displaying the activity as a Sponsored Story, but shortens the window during which the activity is considered relevant.
Previously, “app used” activity was eligible to be shown to a user’s friends as a Sponsored Story if a person used an app twice in the last 28 days or for longer than 10 minutes in one session within the last 28 days.
Now when someone uses an app for at least four minutes in the last 14 days, that activity can be shown to the person’s friends as a Sponsored Story like the one seen right. The story is also eligible to be featured if the user has used the app twice ever with one of those times occurring in the last 14 days.
The new threshold seems to strike a better balance for users and developers. Four minutes in a single session is more reasonable requirement than 10 minutes since many apps and games are meant to be used in short bursts.
Reducing the relevant date range to 14 days rather than 28 means Sponsored Stories will be more timely, though it might reduce the audience a developer can target. Previously a user could have stopped playing a game or using a seasonal app two weeks ago, but the activity could still be displayed in an ad unit. This is an improvement for users, however, the “twice ever with one of those times occurring the last 14 days” stipulation might not be. This change gives developers more people to target, but might not always be representative of a user’s true activity with an app.
We imagine Facebook will continue to vary the requirements for Sponsored Stories, especially as it tests new types of ads surrounding Open Graph app activity.