Earlier this afternoon, Facebook announced changes to the multi-friend selector within applications which enables users to invite contacts directly from their address book. The benefit developers is that any new users that register for Facebook will have the application from which their friend invited them to the site, bookmarked by default. This provides developers with a potential new source of growth and more importantly, Facebook with a way to drive new users to the site.
The process flow for contact imports is relatively straight forward. After being prompted to invite Facebook friends, once a user clicks “Skip” or sends Facebook invitations, they will be prompted with a messages which states “Do you also have friends who aren’t on Facebook? Invite them to [Application Name].” (pictured below) It’s a great model for Facebook to drive lots of new users to their site and play off the popularity of top applications.
It also may be an effective way for the company to reduce the number of fake Facebook accounts that have been set up as a result of applications like FarmVille which encourage users to invite their friends. There’s no doubt that developers will also be happy about about the potential of having new visitors have their applications automatically bookmarked. This is a huge incentive for developers to also emphasize the importance of users inviting their non-Facebook friends to the applications.
It will definitely be interesting to see how this new functionality helps boost Facebook’s new registrations.
If you want to stay on top of the best practices for building social applications on Facebook and elsewhere on the web, come to our Social Developer Summit, taking place on June 29th in San Francisco, CA.