Facebook prompts some users to return to non-game apps

A new Facebook module directs users to go back to apps they previously added but haven’t visited in a while.

Earlier this month we saw the social network test a similar module called “Play It Again” that exclusively promoted games. Now some users are seeing prompts in the right sidebar for non-game applications, including apps developed by brands. This is likely to increase the number of users who return to apps they’ve tried before but perhaps forgot about.

Games discovery has been a large focus of “Operation Developer Love,” Facebook’s efforts to improve relations with the developer community. The company has also been heavily promoting Open Graph apps, but it hasn’t shown the same attention to other types of apps. In some ways, Facebook is actually limiting discovery by removing the ability to set a third-party app as the default landing tab for a page. And at a marketing conference in New York, Facebook Global Brand Experience Manager Paul Adams told the audience, “Stop building these huge, richly branded, heavy apps that you think people are going to sit in front of for 20 minutes. They’re not.”

Interestingly, the branded apps we’ve been prompted to “try again” are utilities, not purely promotional. For example, Target’s Give With Friends app allows users to pool money together to buy Target gift cards for friends; Princess Roll Call lets users join event pages specific to cruises they’ve booked in order to interact with others who will be on the same trip.

It’s unclear what criteria make an app eligible to be promoted in this module, whether it’s a particular number of active users or some other factor. It is likely related to Graph Rank, an algorithm to present relevant application stories based on the other connections users have made on Facebook.

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