Another big change for viral app marketing on Facebook: Invitation limits now dynamic

Following last week’s change to notification limits from a fixed to a fluctuating limit based on user spamminess ratings, Facebook announced tonight that invitations, a mainstay of viral growth for Facebook apps, will soon be following suit. Starting next week, applications will no longer be limited to 20 invitations per user per day, but instead the daily invitation limit will depend on a formula including the following factors:

  • Your historical invitation acceptance rate
  • Whether your application overrides the user’s choice to invite no friends, but instead forces users to invite friends
  •  Additional undisclosed factors that “reflect the affinity users show for the application as a whole”

Facebook Platform’s Tom Whitnah said, “Our hope is that requests will be better aligned with a user’s intention to share a good experience with an application and engage with friends in ways their friends will appreciate, not just with how frequently an application requests users invite friends.” Facebook will be adding invitation limits and metrics to developers’ app Insights pages, just as they did with notifications.

Earlier today, Facebook sent warning to developers whose apps forced users to invite friends in order to use the app, turning off invitations altogether for those apps until that behavior was corrected. This was a major user experience problem that now should exist no more.

In the long run, these viral channel rule changes should better align developer and Facebook goals. So far, there has not been much outcry from the developer community about the effects of last week’s changes to notification limits. Assuming Facebook’s invitation limits are not on average significantly lower than the current fixed limit of 20, I imagine developers of quality applications will accept these changes similarly. Ultimately, they should keep invitation conversion rates higher than if the invitation channel were to become increasingly dominated by spam.

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