How Harivardan Jayaraman is Driving Social Media Innovations

Harivardan Jayaraman

In a bid to constantly improve user experience, Facebook continues to evolve and innovate, deploying the latest technologies to better serve its 2 billion daily users. Central to these developments is the Facebook Notifications team, which is now testing a groundbreaking feature aimed at minimizing missed updates from friends.

At the helm of this innovative team is Harivardan Jayaraman, the Head of Product for Facebook Notifications. Jayaraman is an experienced leader, with over a decade of experience in building consumer and financial products. He has an impressive track record of creating value-driven products that seamlessly blend machine learning with user experience.

He shares that the new proposed feature, currently under trial, will enhance the Notifications tab by surfacing updates from friends that users might have missed on their feeds. "With this feature, users will see a tray displaying their friends' faces," Jayaraman explains. "Clicking on this will direct them to an area where they can catch up on all the updates they have not seen yet."

Jayaraman adds that the idea is to ensure that users get the notifications they want the most. "It's a fine line - we don't want to bombard users with endless notifications that they aren't really interested in," he says. "But we don't want them to miss out on updates from their loved ones."
He shares that the Facebook Notifications team started this process with their big breakthrough in 2022, as they further refined the user experience with the introduction of the Widgets feature. "Widget, which is available on iOS, Android, and Windows, presents a quick and efficient way to catch up on the most important updates on Facebook," Jayaraman says. "It launched alongside the release of iOS16 as a lockscreen widget, and it adds another dimension to Facebook's multifaceted interface."

Beyond enhancing user experience, Facebook Notifications will test monetization. The notifications channel will test serving Ads, albeit in a highly selective and relevant manner. An illustration of this is when users see an ad with a special promotion on Facebook, they can claim the offer, which automatically applies the discount code. If users don't complete the purchase, they could receive a reminder notification before the deal ends.

"All these changes are designed to enhance the user experience," Jayaraman affirms. "I've worked in multiple different industries, such as the gaming industry, where I was honored to hold leadership positions at Kabam and Zynga. That experience has been instrumental in my role at Facebook."

Jayaraman played a significant part in launching popular games like Words with Friends 2 and building Life-Time Value (LTV) models that predicted the value of a user in a game. His expertise in marketing optimization and strategic product development proved pivotal for Zynga's Mergers and Acquisitions between 2018 and 2020.

Before his gaming career, Jayaraman made significant contributions to the financial sector. He developed pricing products for bonds at Goldman Sachs and worked on mortgage trading software at Deutsche Bank. He also developed a product to identify borrowers at risk of foreclosure, enabling the bank to provide temporary support rather than seizing properties.

Jayaraman's rich background, coupled with his innovative thinking, has certainly influenced the advancements in Facebook's user experience. His skills at the crossroads of machine learning and user experience contribute to Facebook's continual growth and innovation.

"I feel that Facebook's new features, like the tested friend update feature and the widgets, offer users a tailored and convenient experience, making it easier to stay connected and updated," Jayaraman says.

He and his team are hard at work leveraging Facebook's ability to harness technology to improve user experience and drive monetization. Jayaraman is determined to set the standard for other platforms to follow. His commitment to creating a more user-friendly and engaging platform attests to Facebook's status as a leader in the digital world.

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