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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Leave a Reply

14 Responses to “Another big change for viral app marketing on Facebook: Invitation limits now dynamic”

  1. Hellonline (Eran’s blog) » Blog Archive » Being Evil Online Doesn’t Pay says:

    [...] least not in the long run. In most cases. Well… here’s a glimmer of hope anyway. Earlier today, Facebook sent warning to developers whose apps forced users to invite [...]

  2. John says:

    WOW. This is actually a really big deal. I think we’re seeing the signs of F8 going bye bye. Can you imagine what limiting growth of certain applications by say half is gonna do?

  3. Facebook changes invite process for apps — latest step in refining the platfo » VentureBeat says:

    [...] were forcing users to invite friends in order to use the app, Inside Facebook’s Justin Smith reports. Those apps will be disabled until they correct their [...]

  4. Jason Peck says:

    I applaud FB for these changes. The number of useless, spammy apps is out of control and turning users off to apps. I agree that in the long run, these changes will lead to more innovation and reward the apps that actually provide value.

  5. Jojo says:

    That´s cool news. I hate applications who are users forcing to invite friends and decided that my applications must be user-friendly …

  6. admagazine » Blog Archive » facebookowa kampania audycji “top gear” says:

    [...] zwany viral app marketing to coraz prężniej rozwijająca się branża. Pojawiły się już nawet pierwsze nadużycia i sposoby walki z [...]

  7. Andy Merrett says:

    Are you a developer, John? This is not about saying bye bye to Facebook. This is about keeping USERS happier — I’m sick of being spammed to death with notifications and app invitations. Admittedly, most apps don’t force users to invite, but friends feel compelled to “spam”.

    Application developers have access to a HUGE base of users on Facebook. If their app is actually any good, it will spread virally anyway, without the need to force invitations, which only alienates users.

  8. Weekly Digest of the Social Networking Space: Feb 20, 2008 says:

    [...] Facebook preserves user experience By limiting the amount of invites an application can send to users, Facebook preserves the user experience and hopefully will prevent members from becoming inundated [...]

  9. Inside Facebook » Facebook hints at upcoming Profile changes says:

    [...] a spate of recent changes that have curtailed some developers’ Platform enthusiasm, Facebook this [...]

  10. Inside Facebook » 2008 » February » 28 says:

    [...] first reporting the change in app invitation limits, I said, “Assuming Facebook’s invitation limits are not [...]

  11. Inside Facebook » Incentivized Invites No Longer Allowed on the Facebook Platform says:

    [...] latest announcement takes Facebook’s February policy update forbidding forced invites further by no longer permitting applications to offer incentives to users [...]

  12. Facebook App Adoption: New Rules, New Expectations? says:

    [...] Over the last couple of weeks, Facebook has launched some promising and arguably much-needed changes to their how virality works – first implementing notification limits and then making those limits dynamic based on an apps reputation. [...]

  13. Ryan says:

    I think this is a great change. Let’s keep the quality high and work in the best interests of both ourselves as developers and the FB users out there.
    Great movie, FB!

  14. Eric Allen says:

    I agree that its a good thing to eliminate poor performing apps.

    But, does the current method take into account as users micro networks grow overtime, the ties that bind become weaker? Thus conversion will naturally decline.

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