Web 2.0 Expo - Design Learnings from Social Application

I'm sitting in a session at the Web 2.0 Expo with Jia Shen from RockYou (they make a bunch of the top apps on Facebook and other social nets) called Design Learnings from Social Applications. I look at the best practices put in place by companies like Slide and RockYou when I make recommendations for social apps for our clients marketing programs, so I'm really excited to hear what he's got to say...

RockYou approach to app design:

1. apply advertising principles to user facing web design
- the main goal is impressions, conversions for every single touchpoint. you grow by maxing # of touchpoints and maxing conversions at each point.
- don't abuse the channel. consider implications for long-term use
2. build fast and launch ASAP.
- design really simple apps
- focus is on virality and growth
- 'channels' are more important than 'features'. 'Channels' are the viral mechanisms that get people to add apps.
3. Iterate rapidly.
- viral channels should drive product development, not features
- tune the viral loop, release updates often
- use A/B testing. Simple, effective.
4. Let data guide product decisions
- numbers don't lie. don't be emotional

More on channels
- focus on 1-to-1 channels. You can tailor messages and they're far more likely to convert.
- Map out alternate flows (install to invite to interact v. install to interact to invite)
- balance relevance v. throughput. What's the objective?

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