What Facebook Users Want

Of the applications that have been most successful, several common themes exist. Following is a list of what users want, based on these applications. Most of this advice is self explanatory – but we’ve qualified things a bit to give you some context.

  • Users want to be entertained. Users are bored, but they’re bored in small chunks. Give them something that they can accomplish in less than a few minutes and still be entertained.
  • Users want to communicate. Communication is at the heart of the social graph. If you create a game that lets users fight evil predators, that’s fine. But you better make sure social interaction with friends is at the heart of the game.
  • Users want status. Make people feel important. If a user can declare their glory to the rest of their community, they will. It gives them pride, and entices other users to participate more. Just be careful that you don’t make things too ‘gamey’ (unless it’s a game, of course).
  • Users want bells and whistles. Black and white is boring. Straight lines are boring. Two dimensional is boring. Make your application media rich if possible.
  • Users want something cooler. If a user can do ‘X’ on Facebook, why not just make ‘X ‘a little cooler? We call these apps ‘profile enhancers,’ and they’re usually very successful.
  • Users want to express themselves. The more personal you can make your application, the better. Allow the user to declare themselves to the community. This can be done in many different ways – and the most creative expression enablers are the most successful.
  • Users want simplicity. Right now, Facebook users want simple apps. If you’re building a virtual e-commerce world inside of Facebook, think about dumbing it down a bit. Not that users are dumb, they’re just busy.

Disclaimer: None of these points are ultimatums. Think about what your app provides to the user. Play up the points above that best relate to your product.

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7 responses to “What Facebook Users Want

  1. Pingback: TechStars Blog » J-Squared Media - 1 million users served

  2. Great tips guys – thanks!

    Alex

  3. These are good observations about the current generation of successful facebook apps. But I think it’s a bit of a stretch to conclude that because the current gen of apps share these qualities that this is what “users want.” Remember that the platform is only 2 months old — nobody’s had time to build anything sophisticated yet.

    The stuff that flourishes now does so because it emphasizes viral growth more than providing real value. How long do you really think Zombies is going to remain as a top app? Over time we will see more prominence of apps that are genuinely useful. These apps will take longer to write and might grow more slowly, but they’ll have a lot more long-term persistence than things like Pirates vs Ninjas.

  4. Pingback: Think Simple. Be Decisive. » Blog Archive » What Facebook users what

  5. It would be easy to plot the typical Facebook user on a motivational profile using validated assessments such as Myers Briggs, Reiss, DISC, etc.

    FB marketers & app developers might have a leg up should they take the time to learn these invaluable tools… just an idea. 🙂

    Cheers,
    Mari

  6. Excellent post. I couldn’t agree more. I think the success of facebook apps tells us that users also want integration–they’re tired of silos.

  7. Pingback: Facebook roundup for Sept 8th | False Positives

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