New Analysis of Facebook Engagement

By Tom Kincaid

Compete (along with Mashable) has just released an interesting analysis of the increasing penetration of Facebook applications. They are growing rapidly with half of Facebook’s 31 million users using applications.

This is very good news for application developers as a whole, but individual developers are primarily interested in their own applications. A critical factor that Compete neglected is the exponential increase in the number of applications from less than 100 at the platform’s launch to almost 17,000 now. The exact historical number of apps over time is difficult to determine, but simply assuming a linear growth rate to 15,000 in January, it’s possible to do a “back of the envelope” calculation of the engagement of the average application.

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The average app now receives about 1,000 visits and 100,000 views. While visits/app have declined, there has been a steady increase in views/visit which has offset some of the decline in visits/app and actually slightly increased it in the last few months.

It is intuitive that as the space becomes more crowded, every new application is fighting over an increasingly smaller portion of the pie. The distribution is also likely very skewed with a few huge successes and many apps that hardly anyone uses.

However, the Facebook platform still represents an amazing opportunity to engage a high number of users with relatively low effort (as opposed to developing other interactive media such as web sites.) It just now requires a thorough understanding of the characteristics of the platform and its users.