MIT study: Boost Facebook app adoption by 400 percent using passive and personal messages

Private and newsfeed messages work better than banner ads and emails, researchers found.

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Facebook users are more likely to use a brand’s Facebook app if they find out about it through private messages and newsfeed posts, a recent Massachusetts Institute of Technology study found. Viral strategies are 10 times more likely to bring in new users than banner ads and twice as effective as emails.

According to Fast Company, MIT professors Sinan Aral and Dylan Walker offered an entertainment app to random samples of users. Some users got a version of the app that used “passive” messaging—that is, the app posted messages to users’ Facebook walls every time they used it. The passive version led to 246 percent higher user adoption compared with a version that sent no automatic messages, but were 7 percent less active with the product.

Other users got a version with “active-personalized” messaging in addition to the passive messages. In that case, users had the option of sending additional, personalized messages to friends. The active-personalized app led to a 344 percent higher adoption rate.

Additionally, although passive messages prompt users to use the app quicker than personalized messages (3.17 days compared to 4.77 days), users are 7 percent less active with the product.

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