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TheguidetobuildingahighlyengagingnewsfeedandactivitystreamforiOS,AndroidandWeb
Building
Feeds &
Streams
T H E G U I D E T ...
TheguidetobuildingahighlyengagingnewsfeedandactivitystreamforiOS,AndroidandWeb
THIERRY SCHELLENBACH
13 tips for a highly
e...
TheguidetobuildingahighlyengagingnewsfeedandactivitystreamforiOS,AndroidandWeb
In addition to the automatic
follows you sh...
TheguidetobuildingahighlyengagingnewsfeedandactivitystreamforiOS,AndroidandWeb
Tip #5: Meta Feeds
It helps if there are mu...
TheguidetobuildingahighlyengagingnewsfeedandactivitystreamforiOS,AndroidandWeb
Tip #6: Scalability
The Twitter fail whale ...
TheguidetobuildingahighlyengagingnewsfeedandactivitystreamforiOS,AndroidandWeb
Hashtags and
@mentions can
seem like minor
...
TheguidetobuildingahighlyengagingnewsfeedandactivitystreamforiOS,AndroidandWeb
@MENTIONS
@mentions are a great way to sele...
TheguidetobuildingahighlyengagingnewsfeedandactivitystreamforiOS,AndroidandWeb
@#You need to setup aggregation for your no...
TheguidetobuildingahighlyengagingnewsfeedandactivitystreamforiOS,AndroidandWeb
99% of all feeds show the activities in chr...
TheguidetobuildingahighlyengagingnewsfeedandactivitystreamforiOS,AndroidandWeb
Follow
Suggestions
Follow suggestions are a...
TheguidetobuildingahighlyengagingnewsfeedandactivitystreamforiOS,AndroidandWeb
Setting up follow suggestions helps you mak...
TheguidetobuildingahighlyengagingnewsfeedandactivitystreamforiOS,AndroidandWeb
TOXIC ACTORS
Popular actors with low engage...
TheguidetobuildingahighlyengagingnewsfeedandactivitystreamforiOS,AndroidandWeb
Tip #12:
Personalization -
Instagram style
...
TheguidetobuildingahighlyengagingnewsfeedandactivitystreamforiOS,AndroidandWeb
Facebook’s feed is effectively ranking and ...
TheguidetobuildingahighlyengagingnewsfeedandactivitystreamforiOS,AndroidandWeb
Conclusion
Feeds are important. They are on...
TheguidetobuildingahighlyengagingnewsfeedandactivitystreamforiOS,AndroidandWeb
THIERRY SCHELLENBACH
Thanks For Your Time
A...
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13 tips for a highly engaging feed

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Based on this blogpost: https://getstream.io/blog/13-tips-for-a-highly-engaging-news-feed/
Getting the user experience right for a newsfeed is quite the challenge. Many apps end up showing completely irrelevant content to their users.

Published in: Technology

13 tips for a highly engaging feed

  1. 1. TheguidetobuildingahighlyengagingnewsfeedandactivitystreamforiOS,AndroidandWeb Building Feeds & Streams T H E G U I D E T O Create a highly engaging news feed and activity streams for iOS, Android and Web
  2. 2. TheguidetobuildingahighlyengagingnewsfeedandactivitystreamforiOS,AndroidandWeb THIERRY SCHELLENBACH 13 tips for a highly engaging feed A brief message from Stream CEO, Thierry Schellenbach Getting the user experience right for a newsfeed is quite the challenge. Many apps end up showing completely irrelevant content to their users. Companies like Instagram, Quora, Etsy, Linkedin and Facebook have shown us a trick or two about providing an engaging newsfeed experience. At Stream we’ve helped thousands of companies with their newsfeeds. Every app and every community is unique so not all of these tips will apply to you. This presentation will cover 13 best practices and will hopefully give you an idea or two about how to improve engagement within your app.
  3. 3. TheguidetobuildingahighlyengagingnewsfeedandactivitystreamforiOS,AndroidandWeb In addition to the automatic follows you should also show a the user a manual “who to follow” page. Try to focus on high level concepts such as topics, styles, genres, sites etc instead of individual users. Manual Selection TIP #3 After your app has been around for a while, many users will end up following inactive accounts. This can be disastrous for your user experience. If a user comes back after a long period of inactivity be sure to trigger the “who to follow” flow. Repeat, “Who to Follow” TIP#4 When a user signs up you can automatically follow interesting topics/artists etc based on their Facebook likes. Automatic Follows - Likes TIP #1 Depending on your app you might have access to the user's phone contacts, Facebook friends or Twitter followers. Signup is a good moment to automatically follow these connections within your app. Connections TIP #2 Onboarding New Users A newsfeed is a way to personalize the content a user sees in your app. Feeds only work well if your users have indicated what they are interested in. The following 4 tips ensure your users get off to a good start:
  4. 4. TheguidetobuildingahighlyengagingnewsfeedandactivitystreamforiOS,AndroidandWeb Tip #5: Meta Feeds It helps if there are multiple ways to discover content. Take the example of Quora, you can follow users, but you can also follow topics. Topics don’t produce questions but the best questions tagged with this topic show up in your feed. Another example is Wanelo. They allow you to follow users and shops. The best items from these shops will show up in your feed.
  5. 5. TheguidetobuildingahighlyengagingnewsfeedandactivitystreamforiOS,AndroidandWeb Tip #6: Scalability The Twitter fail whale became an internet meme, Facebook often took 5 seconds to load, Tumblr struggled with a year of technical debt, Friendster…. well. These are just the famous examples, many mid-size to large companies struggle with scaling their feeds. Don’t reinvent the feed A few years ago you would have had to build your own newsfeed technology. Nowadays it’s easy to solve the challenges around scalable feeds. We’ve open sourced Stream-Framework. It allows you to build a scalable feed using Redis or Cassandra. Over the past years it’s grown to become the most widely used solution for building scalable feeds and has been downloaded more than 250,000 times. The github repo also lists some of the best articles about the underlying technological challenges. Setting up Stream-Framework is unfortunately quite difficult and time consuming. This was one of the reasons why we’ve started getstream.io; our service allows you to add a scalable feed to your app in just a few minutes, you can give it a try in this 5m interactive tutorial.
  6. 6. TheguidetobuildingahighlyengagingnewsfeedandactivitystreamforiOS,AndroidandWeb Hashtags and @mentions can seem like minor features. Nothing could be further from the truth, let me explain why: Tip #7: Hashtags & @mentions
  7. 7. TheguidetobuildingahighlyengagingnewsfeedandactivitystreamforiOS,AndroidandWeb @MENTIONS @mentions are a great way to selectively notify certain users about an activity. Even though you’re only notifying a few users, it can have a large impact. A discussion between 2 or 3 users will often spark more activity, which spreads through your community. Getting the conversation started is the most difficult bit and @mentions are essential for that. #HASHTAGS Hashtags allow your users to tag the content in the activity. If you enable search on hashtags this enables discussions to form around topics or events. In addition hashtags can also be an important piece of data for use in personalization algorithms.
  8. 8. TheguidetobuildingahighlyengagingnewsfeedandactivitystreamforiOS,AndroidandWeb @#You need to setup aggregation for your notification feeds to make sure your product is usable for power users. For example, don’t show a notification for every @mention, like or comment. Collapse the notifications based on the time, type of notification etc. “256 people followed you today” is a much better notification than your phone buzzing 256 times. Tip #8: Aggregate Your Notifications FEED TIP 4 Alerts3 Accomplishments 5 New Friends 4 New Playlists3 Profile Visits
  9. 9. TheguidetobuildingahighlyengagingnewsfeedandactivitystreamforiOS,AndroidandWeb 99% of all feeds show the activities in chronological order. For most applications the user doesn’t care about the exact time an activity was posted. Unless real time is a core component of your app, ranking feeds chronologically is often sub optimal To quote the creator of the newsfeed, Andrew ‘Boz’ Bosworth: “If I log in once a day and want to see the best stories, I think most developers would be better off spending time working on the relevance”. Ranked feeds Tip #9: Ranking factors Popularity (based on likes, comments etc) Featured content Promoted content Editorial content
  10. 10. TheguidetobuildingahighlyengagingnewsfeedandactivitystreamforiOS,AndroidandWeb Follow Suggestions Follow suggestions are an important way to help your users discover feeds. Here are a few common data sources to base your follow suggestions on: THE SOCIAL GRAPH If many of your friends follow a certain person, you might also know him/her. QUALITY SCORES If a certain feed gets a high engagement to impression ratio you probably want to suggest it to other users. FAMOUS USERS You’ll often want to recommend the famous/most prestigious users on your platform. There are two benefits to this approach. First it helps your users follow interesting content. Secondly it ensures that famous users on your platform reach a large audience, which in turn keeps them engaged in your community.
  11. 11. TheguidetobuildingahighlyengagingnewsfeedandactivitystreamforiOS,AndroidandWeb Setting up follow suggestions helps you make sure your users follow active members of your community. Graph tool and scikit-learn are great open source tools for powering follow suggestions. If you’re a user of Stream, contact our personalization team to help you setup follow suggestions. Follow Suggestions Tip #10:
  12. 12. TheguidetobuildingahighlyengagingnewsfeedandactivitystreamforiOS,AndroidandWeb TOXIC ACTORS Popular actors with low engagement content LOW QUALITY ACTORS not popular actors that create low quality content AWESOME ACTORS popular actors that create good content HIDDEN TREASURES not popular actors that create high engagement content Tip #11: Feed Analytics To ensure your users are having a good experience with the feed, you want to track impressions and engagements. You should know which activities the user sees (impressions) and which ones they interact with (engagements). Also, you should detect common issues such as feeds with old content, feeds with a low engagement score etc. In addition you’ll want to learn which of your users are creating highly engaging content and which ones are creating low quality/spam content. The analytics data can also be used for follow suggestions and feed personalization. Here are my top 5 recommendations for an analytics solution: • Stream’s analytics platform (tailored to feeds) • KeenIO • Database (best for small apps) • Elastic + rollups • Druid (high setup and maintenance costs, but very scalable)
  13. 13. TheguidetobuildingahighlyengagingnewsfeedandactivitystreamforiOS,AndroidandWeb Tip #12: Personalization - Instagram style Newsfeeds and activity streams are essentially a tool for personalizing the content within an app. To show the right content your app needs to truly understand your user. Instagram, Facebook, Etsy, Zite and Quora are famous pioneers in this area. Instagram’s explore section is a good example of a personalized feed. The explore page serves two goals • User discovery. While viewing the content on the discover page you also find new users to follow. • Content discovery. The explore page highlights content you might not see in your regular feed. It ensures your user sees fresh content when/if their feed is empty. This is one of the most under-hyped features of Instagram. Their explore section is a pretty brilliant way to power content discovery. 
 Stream & Personalization
  14. 14. TheguidetobuildingahighlyengagingnewsfeedandactivitystreamforiOS,AndroidandWeb Facebook’s feed is effectively ranking and hiding content. It solves the problem of having too much content in your feed. Instagram, Etsy, DeviantArt, Linkedin and Twitter do something similar. An average user of Facebook receives 3000 new activities every day. The problem Facebook needs to address is that a user can’t possibly browse through 3000 activities. Facebook would be absolutely useless if they didn’t prioritize this list of activities. So when does this type of personalization work well? Facebook style
 personalization Tip #13 If the time between subsequent user visits your feed fills up with more activities than the user can possibly review If your app’s users don’t care about the realtime element of the conversation Stream offers personalization as a service. Our team of data scientists can help customize the machine learning algorithms for your app. If you want to build this in-house you should try out prediction.io, Lasagne and/or scikit-learn.
  15. 15. TheguidetobuildingahighlyengagingnewsfeedandactivitystreamforiOS,AndroidandWeb Conclusion Feeds are important. They are one of the main ways through which we discover information online. Unfortunately many apps provide a poor user experience with their feed. This presentation covered 13 tips towards improving the user experience on feeds: Tip 1: Automatic follows - Facebook likes Tip 2: Automatic follows - Connections Tip 3: Manual selection Tip 4: Repeat the “who to follow” flow Tip 5: Meta feeds Tip 6: Scalability, don’t reinvent the feed Tip 7: @mentions and hashtags need to be high on your roadmap Tip 8: Aggregate your notifications Tip 9: Use ranked feeds Tip 10: Follow suggestions Tip 11: Track impressions and engagements Tip 12: Instagram style personalization, explore section Tip 13: Facebook style feed ranking
  16. 16. TheguidetobuildingahighlyengagingnewsfeedandactivitystreamforiOS,AndroidandWeb THIERRY SCHELLENBACH Thanks For Your Time A Closing Word from Stream’s CEO, Thierry Schellenbach Every app and every community is unique so not all of these tips will apply to you. Hopefully this post gave you an idea or two about how to improve engagement within your app. Share your ideas with @getstream_io to continue the conversation! https://getstream.io/

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