A Little Top 50 Facebook App Analysis

Facebook analysis:

I grouped the Top 50 apps into various categories, and recorded the total combined users of those applications, as well as how many of those types of apps showed up in the top 50.

Type Reach Top 50 Avg.
Friend Display 17,453,819 5 3,490,764
Things I like 16,832,162 7 2,404,595
Walls 16,327,688 5 3,265,538
Quizzing 16,243,945 6 2,707,324
Poking 15,001,896 5 3,000,379
Of the day 11,716,182 5 2,343,236
Gifting 9,279,042 3 3,093,014
Videos 5,965,382 1 5,965,382
Viral Stupidity 5,629,616 4 1,407,404
Status 4,985,725 2 2,492,863
Pets 2,217,398 1 1,108,699
Mobile 2,046,160 1 2,046,160
Photo/Video 1,456,734 1 1,456,734
Dating 1,326,272 1 1,326,272
Games 782,021 1 782,021
Other 734,156 1 734,156

Friend display apps allow you to categorize friends in various ways.  Thinks I like allow you to maintain lists, like music you like or places you've visted, and compare with others.  Wall apps improve functionality of the Facebook wall.  Quizzes... self explanatory.  Poking improves upon the poking functionality on Facebook, allowing you to throw sheep or do other short form actions.  "Of the day" is basically a piece of media bling that shows others quotes, scenes, etc. from your favorite shows, books, authors, etc.  Gifting is all about giving virtual items to others.  Videos is the Facebook Video app.  Viral stupidity is where I put Zombies and such.  I really hate those apps.   Status is a display of your current emotion or some other element of the moment.  Pets can be anything from actual pets to gardens to virtual things you keep.  And so on and so forth.

What can be learned from this?

Well, for one, much of the reach in the top 50 is related to what I call, "Facebook Infrastructure" ... walls, pokes, friends.  How many more apps like this are there going to be.  How many ways can you ______ your friends or leave them a bulletin board post?  Or rather, how many various bulletin boards are people going to want?   

I think you'll start to see a shift...  now that we've advanced the poke and the wall to the umpteenth iteration, we should start seeing apps further up the stack.  Communication tools, like Marc Pincus' SocialChat, are sure to move up in popularity.  I think the key is building on top of some of what's already there, which is what players like SocialMedia and RockYou are hoping for.  They're trying to create networks or platforms out of their apps.

Another interesting phenomenon is that hardly any of the top apps come from pre-existing web applications.  Possible reasons?

  1. Popular off-Facebook apps have yet to make a big push into Facebook.  (see eBay, AIM, Skype)
  2. Popular off-Facebook apps have no clue how to make a big push into Facebook.   
  3. Popular off-Facebook apps have such crappy APIs that you're better off using them outside of Facebook.
  4. There are no popular off-Facebook apps...  because you're nobody until you're a Facebook app.

Remember back when we used to talk about MySpace?  Oh, those were the days...