Since Facebook’s redesign, app developers say that traffic to their apps is either flat or down. Why? Because Facebook has made it harder for users to find, use, and re-use apps that they like.
With Facebook’s old design, when you installed a new app, unless you unchecked a bunch of boxes, a box for the app would go on your profile and the app would show up in a list of apps on your profile. Now when you add an app you have to manually click on a tiny icon at the bottom of the page to “bookmark” it. If you don’t click on that icon, the next time you want to use the application, you have to manually find it again — in Facebook’s app list, in an obscure “+” box on your profile, on someone else’s profile, wherever.
This presents a problem for developers – Zynga CEO Mark Pincus tells us that only 2% of new app users end up clicking that “bookmark” icon. That means only 2% of people who installed the app are giving themselves an easy way to find it again.
So what can Facebook do? The company has been pretty clear that they don’t want profiles to look cluttered again, and we agree with them — that’s what MySpace is for. But they can at least make apps easier to bookmark. The easiest technique: Automatically bookmarking new apps you add, with an easy option to remove them.
Why bother? Making apps stickier is in Facebook’s best interest. When people are using Facebook applications, they’re using Facebook — and potentially looking at or clicking on more Facebook ads. And if Facebook makes this small change to keep its app developers happy, then they’re probably less likely to try their fortunes elsewhere — like making MySpace or iPhone apps.
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