News Feed Optimization in Facebook Overated

A few weeks ago, Facebook thought leaders Dave and Justin identified and shaped the term News Feed Optimization. Sadly, (or gladly) we suspect it has already jumped the shark.

[With the release of Facebook’s open widget platform, marketers are jockeying for position on the prominent News Feed page, savvy Facebook fights back, but deep down, we know the battle never ends]

What’s News Feed Optimization (NFO)?
It’s an evolution of social media optimization where a clever developer will maninupate a Facebook application so it appears more frequently on the Facebook News Page (essentially a Feedreader). The opportunity? viral growth from massive network awareness.

Facebook is a savvy company, already aware of the massive opportunities that applications can grow and amazing rates. Aware of the tricks of clever application developers, they’re preserving the user experience by limiting the power applications have to ‘spam’ out over news feeds.

Kevin Chou, CEO of Watercooler, a Facebook application company I advise (well, just until Sept 30th) tells me that:

“News Feed Optimization is overrated today. Sure, in the first three-to-five weeks it was a strategic lever, but then Facebook responded to general news feed overload and reduced the impact of application news feeds. Today, NFO only works when both users have the same application installed, thus limiting its usefulness for rapid growth”

Also, Facebook is continuing to optimize and recently articles suggest they ‘punish’ spammy applications, so some notifications have been decreased to protect users. It’s important to note that when a user installs an application, it’s default behavior updates their entire network.

Still don’t believe me? Want to start a career as a NFO? well then is for sale, would make an excellent buy.

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  • Eric Eldon

    News Feed itself isn’t overrated — Facebook users love it.

    The feed is just a tough measurement of an application’s worth. Why? Because Facebook is actively trying to keep the feed focused on what the user cares about on the site, not on growing every app out there as fast as possible.

    In fact, the more relevant Facebook makes the feed to its users, the more value there is in figuring out how to get your App in there.

    Which is why there’s an analogy to Google and SEO.

  • jeremiah_owyang


    I think we agree that the news feed itself is very useful.

    I’m suggesting that news feed OPTIMIZATION (developers trying to game the system) is not an effective tactic in comparison to building a great app that users will WANT to share.

  • Jamie

    Im glad Facebook toughened their stance on application spam. Usually once marketers get their hands on the latest new trend, they kill it. Hopefully they wont have a chance to here.

  • jeremiah_owyang

    Jamie, it’s an endless game, really.

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