Thursday, July 26, 2007

A month of Apps - Top 101 in User Growth

Here's a list of the top 101 Apps in terms of user growth for the past month - from June 21 through July 22. Only includes Apps which had users at the start of the period and have at least 1000 users at the end of the period.

(get the full screen view here)

So, this list is a bit flawed, perhaps... as apps like Carbon Diet Plan
, Army Vs. Navy , Local Chat , and a few others, snuck in there with just enough users to make the cut...

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Recently Popular does not mean fast growing

There was clearly disparity between the 'Most Users' list and the 'Recently Popular' list on Facebook - and that seemed justified... afterall, if you only promote the apps with the most users, you're not giving the new apps the promotion they may need to be recognized to grow into a an app with 'most users'...
But I had guessed that the growth rate of an app plays a large part in the 'Recently Popular' ranking - and looking at the data, that too looks untrue.

Only 19 of the Top 50 Fastest Growing apps from July 17-22 had appeared in the top 1000 'Recently Popular' (on July 22). In fact, the 1st (Advanced Wall), 5th (Lego Man) and 8th (Apples 'n' Oranges) fastest growing apps were among those not mentioned in the top 1000 Recently Popular (that's 40 pages of browsing the Recently Popular list).

Worse than that - 15 of the BOTTOM 50 - that is, apps which are all LOSING USERS - appeared in the top 1000 'Recently Popular' ! Wah?!
Lots more to say on this ... but figured it would be good to at least publish the prior top 50 table with the Recently Popular rank added...

Monday, July 23, 2007

Top 50 Fastest Growing Apps July 17-22

Only 34% of the apps in this weeks top 50 fastest growing were even alive back on July 11... So the trend is clear now - that newer apps have a better chance to have a burst of growth than the more mature apps... As they age, a few keep growing but most don't.
Which ones in this list do you think are one-week-wonders and which ones will keep growing strong?

Advanced Wall had quite an explosive showing this week after a month of respectable, but not crazy growth....

The success of Harry Potter Magic Spells this past week is not surprising... annoying, but not surprising ;)

The TV Fans continue to flock to Facebook apps aimed at meeting their needs (whatever those are) - with the "Addicted to ____" and "I Watch ____" series having a very impressive showing in this week's growth list... including
I Watch So You Think You Can Dance?
I Watch Heroes
Addicted to Greys Anatomy
Addicted to The OC
Addicted to Friends
Addicted to Desperate Housewives
I Watch Lost
I Watch House
...and, so... when you include the other 7 TV-Related apps in the top 50:
Scrubs Quotes
Friends Quotes
Prison Break
Big Brother
One Tree Hill
Sex and the City
... that makes 30% of the top 50 fastest growing apps... all about specific TV shows... and you wonder why more developers are jumping on the bandwagon...
I'm afraid we're in for a much longer list of TV apps next time we see this list.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

What does it take to be "Recently Popular"? (early data)

We've got some new stats to discuss.... Since will take a bit of work to get the details to you, it seemed worthwhile to share just a couple of interesting discoveries this week where we've actually considered the Recently Popular list as well as the plain old "Most Used" list...

As of 8pm PST on 7/22/2007:

- 77% of the top 1,000 Recently Popular apps have less than 1,000 users.

- Only 3 out of the top 10 Apps on the Most Users list are also in the top 1,000 most Recently Popular [Video by Facebook, Fortune Cookie by R. Tyler Ballance, and Horoscopes by RockYou!]... Yes, that means 7 out of 10 of the apps with Most Users are NOT in the top 1,000 Recently Popular.

- 66% of the top apps with Most Users are NOT in the first 1,000 Recently Popular.

Ok... that's enough for now... it seems interesting at minimum and worth more stats... which you'll get tomorrow (Monday).

Friday, July 20, 2007

Facebook Wall Apps - How they holdin' up?

It's probably a good time to start looking at Facebook apps by category... using real usage data to see which category's are hot and which apps are ruling or gaining in a given category. Many people have been giving subjective views within categories - like ReadWriteWeb's "top 10" series, where they've gone out on a limb to say what they like in categories such as Work,Play, Media,Utility, and, just today, a post on "Extension" apps - which "extend Facebook's core functionality to improve upon existing features"... [we did a quick spreadsheet to show how some of the Utility apps chosen are actually shrinking in terms of usage, but that doesn't prove they are bad apps.]

So here is a quick summary of all the Wall Apps we could find...

"Saw my picture in the paper, Read the news around my face, and now some people dont want to treat me the same... When the walls come tumblin' down"
- John Cougar Mellencamp - Crumblin' Down

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Who lost the most users July 11-17: the bottom 21

As shameful as it may seem... even good apps see a period of profile and home page cleansing following that period of explosive growth.... and, sometimes, there never was any explosive growth... just pure rejection. These apps, in the table below, had the most negative growth rates in the most recent period (July 11-17)...which shouldn't imply anything about prior periods - but, as you'll see, it does, as only 3 of the 21 had any positive growth in prior periods.

Some of them are actually born from good non-FB apps (you be the judge of that), so maybe they're just not following the rules of good Facebook app marketing design as told by Dave McClure.... or, better yet, Facebook news feed optimization, as told by Justin Smith and Jonathan Lipps. Or, maybe they just suck and people had to add them to find that out.
It's the WWW (Wild Wild West) all over again... at first, everything draws traffic... then, value prevails and we're not all just surfin', lookin' fer the next best thing.

Growth Trends reveal true growth

I realize every time we rank apps on the basis of pure growth rate between two dates we open the door for lots of questions:

- What about NEW apps which didn't have users at the start of the period (we leave those out, but every so often we have one which makes us re-think that - this latest period it was Likeness by the successful FB developer Peter Louis, which entered the scene with over 800,000 users!). Peter co-authored SuperWall.

- How can you compare the growth rate of an app with 100,000 users with an app with only 1,000 users? (It's easier than trying to put them in groups... but we may start doing that).

- Isn't it more important to see the TREND of growth across multiple periods rather than just ranking based on 1 period? (YES! .. hence, this post..)

So we decided to tackle that last question just a bit here... We looked at the trend of growth across 3 periods: June 28 through July 6, July 6 through July 11, July 11 through July 17. Three growth rates tell us much more than only one.

Overall, most apps growth rates decline after the first burst. And, in fact, we've seen about 200 out of 1000 which just disappear after their first showing on our list... mainly due to not growing fast enough to stay in the top 800 or so most used apps. Consistently increasing growth rates are very rare indeed... only 24 apps in our list of just over a thousand achieved this, and that includes 3 which started with a negative growth rate, one of which is still negative (Lamefactor) - just less negative than when it started ;) [BTW, 167 apps were noted as "turn-arounds, which saw a decrease in growth rate from the first period to the second and subsequently increased in growth rate again in the third growth period...]

There are two notable exceptions, which you can see clearly in the chart above which shows all 24 of those with a positive trend:

PuzzleBee , by TheBroth: Started with 3,158 users on June 28th... then had a consistently increasing daily growth rate - 10.55%, 15.94%, 92.04% - to end on July 17th with 68,259 users. An average growth rate of 39.51% ! Take note... and give Nick O'Neil some credit for spotting the value in this app back on June 22, when he blogged about it.

Google Reader Shared Items, by Mario Romero, was growing at a respectable 1%+ per day and then Robert Scoble wrote about it as a Digg killer, others picked up the story and wham - the daily growth rate of this app jumped to over 41% ! Let's see if that trend continues since at the end of the period we're discussing (July 17th eod), it still had only 4,064 users.

There are a few others with a continuing positive trend, but most of them are still light on users in total - and the 24 in the chart only included those with over 1000 users as of July 17th.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Facebook Top 101 Growing Apps - July 11-17

New data! Here's a new view of the fastest growing facebook apps. More than half of the fastest growing 101 facebook apps over the past 6 days were not even on the charts just 11 days ago (less than a couple of hundred users on June 6th).

Just a few quick notes (more to come soon):

A new class of apps - "I watch _____" was introduced by Watercooler, Inc. (who, btw, have no author link in FB). While none are huge in terms of total users (approx 2000 each), they have 5 in the top 101 fastest growing list - and all of them are new within the past 11 days.

Vibrating Hamster? I'm not even going to ask, no less add the app to my profile... but over 17,000 people were curious enough to push this "app" to the 4th fastest growing over the past 6 days.

9 out of the top 10 apps practically didn't exist 11 days ago...

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Most Prolific Facebook Apps Authors

[post edited on 7/18 to add some credits - particularly to Aryeh Goldsmith's profile]
We've spent so much time focusing on the Apps, we thought it would be nice to give mention to the people behind some of those apps - even if they're not the tops... This post focuses on those people who have created 3 or more apps - with apologies to those who have not gotten at least a few hundred users in their apps - in which case they'd be left off this list (we've limited our tracking a bit due to sheer volume). And apologies to those people who may be spread across several author names, as we may not have made the connection to give you credit for 3 or more...
Note: I've tried to provide public links - noted with a "^") here where possible so the login screen doesn't make you mad ;) but it's tough to find public links for most of these.

Blake Commagere ^ - Sure, he co-authors with others in all cases, but he's the common thread behind Causes, Zombies and Vampires - with a total of more than 3 million users.

David Gentzel ^ - One of the most successful in total on this prolific list - with 4 apps credited to him alone (Food Fight!, Kudos!, Tag! and Trakzor) and another one credited to him in partnership with Sourabh Niyogi (that app name is LOL!).

Albert Magnuson (is this you? ^) has more than a half-a-million users across 7 apps (Bible Verses, Bushisms, Chuck Norris, Drink Recipes, Funny Jokes, Knock Knock Jokes, Yo Mama Jokes). How funny is it that the guy who creates "Bible Verses" also creates "Yo Mama Jokes" ;)

Kevin Koder, besides winning the award for the best last name for a developer, Kevin has gained over 400,000 users across 7 apps (Baseball Fan, borat, Dane Cook, Family Guy, Hockey Fan, Rugby Fan, South Park). He's got two themes going here - first, quotes from some well-followed shows and, second, sports. has a clear theme in their 5 apps (Astrology, Chinese Horoscopes, Love Horoscope, Numerology, Tarot) - which resonate pretty well with the Facebook crowd, gaining more about 350,000 users overall - pretty well distributed across all of these apps.

Aryeh Goldsmith hit it big with Matches, but also gets about 10% of his total users from 4 other apps (My Profiles, Moodster, F Buddies, My Bucks) not to mention a couple he's co-authored (Vampire - not to be confused with VampireS - and Jewster). He also had another called Bookmark which seems to have dropped off below our threshold. has also cornered the market (not really) on goodness with approximately 200,000 users across 5 apps (Daily Bible Verse, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes, Famous Christian Quotes, Pope Quoets, Prayer Request.

There are a few authors with more than 3 apps in the "under 100,000 users" category (but some might have burst out of this category by now - since we last checked stats on July 11th)...
- Jonathan Sadowski (Countdown, Rock Paper Scissors, Scrawl Pad, Stoplight).
- Edward Frederick (Magazine Rack, Mardi Gras, My Gadgets, Visual Bookshelf, Visual CD Rack, Visual DVD Rack, Who's Sick)
- Jack Lorenz (Canadian Football Fan, Greek Pride, Lost Quotes, The Office)
- Dean Jackson (BioRhythms, GigAlert, Mobile Status, SportAlert)
- Danny Tran (Bobbleheads, Funny Video Daily, Use The Force, Word A Day)
- (Einstein Quotes, Hangman, PacMan, Star Wars Quotes, Bushisms**)
- Paul Wells (, Plus, Photo Mosaics, Stuff I Hate, What are you Wearing?)
- Matt Kraft and Phil Edwards (Art, Bands, Movie Posters, and one by Matt Kraft alone, called Cashback, which disappeared into obscurity very quickly)
- Patrick Shyu (Connections, Fragments Cards, Matchbook Revolution, MySpace Link, Summer Plans, Syndrome Valentine and one, Popularity contest, which dropped off)
- Robert Balousek (Abe Vigoda Status, Daily Bible Scripture, Paris Hilton Status)
- Ashot Petrosian (Notebook Paper, Quotes**, Stories)
- ...and several others who fall in the "10,000 to 30,000 total users" category as of July 11... including Jonathan Lipps, YackPack, Justin Strawn, Yellow Media, Profile Posters, Ivko Maksimovic, Goowy Media, Experience Project, Jake Jarvis, Ben Holloway.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Reference to post about Marketing Facebook Apps

Dave McClure - master of 500 hats - has a great post about how to design and market facebook apps to succeed in building viral growth.
Dave is "110% convinced that consistent & creative app marketing & event notification via the Feed is the key to unlocking the viral power of Facebook...".

Check out the data on our previous and future posts... See which apps are succeeding... Is he right? I think so.

BTW - If you've got an inquiry on a specific app ("hey dide, can you tell me how the app "Beeeeeeeer" has been performing? I'm thinking of launching one in that category called "Miiiiiiiiilk" ;)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Facebook Top 21 Growing Apps - July 6-11

New data for the 5 day period of July 6th through July 11 in this post - Top 21 Facebook apps ranked by growth rate - including only those which had more than 1,000 users at the end of the period.

Some Highlights:

My Aquarium - from the same Greg Thomson who brought you the original concept with My Garden - had the highest growth rate by far. This cute app grew a whopping 4,852% each day during the period... that's 23,629 users per day on average! And it started the period with only 487 users! (excitement intentional)

Pacman, by, grew an average of 316% per day, ending the period with more than 30,000 users. Old concept, new platform (sounds familiar...).

Love Matcher (Thomas Fletcher) and Fantasy Football (David Fitzgibbon) took the next 2 spots, each growing to the modest but respectable levels of 5,000+ users.

Vampires, by the same trio who brought us the highly productive Zombies app - Blake Commagere, AJ Olson and Rob Gungor) spiked to 240,000+ users to take the 5th spot - growing at 243% per day.

Also worth mentioning...
Bush Countdown Clock, by the Nick O'Neil (who has been blogging about Facebook now very consistently) comes in at #10 with a respectable 108% daily growth.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Yes, some apps are losing users on Facebook

This is actually good news... People who try apps are removing them. Out of about 950 apps we've followed for almost a month, approx 7 percent saw their user count go down from June 28 to July 6. Among those, unfortunately, are some that Facebook still shows on their "Recently Popular" list... For example, BunchBall's Games app... Lots of users, but lost 1,234 users during the 8 day period leading up to July 6th. In fact, not to pick on this particular app, besides a small boost of less than 1% in the middle of the period, Games' user count has gone down since June 19th (when we started tracking)... from 280,881 to 280,815... So why are they reported in the top 6% of "Recently Popular" on Facebook? Maybe that's because their raw user count is in the top 40... but still...
On a different note - the US Politics application, by Facebook, has over 250,000 users and doesn't hit the Recently Popular list (at least not in the top 200 (or top 8 pages)... I'll assume that's because it is developed by Facebook. Fair, I guess.

So - who lost their biggest share of users?
- PicksPal Pick'em (-5.35%)
- Dogster's Catster:Cute (-5.58%)
- MOG's My Last Songs Played (-5.70%)
- Zack Coburn's Beach Ball (-6.80%)
- Jonas Lindberg's Babble Babble (-7.40%)

Monday, July 9, 2007

Facebook Stats: Top 21 Momentum Growth

Let's try something new this week... We came up with a new measure which combines growth rate and number of users... so it tries to punish those huge apps (many many users) which have very slow growth rates and reward those smaller apps which have huge growth rates. For now, here are the top 21 using our new "Momentum" rating...

Facebook Applications - Ranked by "Momentum":

We've highlighted in green those apps which are new within the past 2 weeks... That means we couldn't numerically calculate their growth rate in the prior week period.

Some highlights:

My Garden came out of nowhere to take the top momentum rank - by quite a margin - moving from 4,500 users a week ago to 130,000 last Friday (and 190,000 today!).... and GregT got high billing on Facebook's Recently Popular apps page with his derivative, My Aquarium.

Zombies keep biting... who'd'a'thunk they'd get 1 million users within 2 weeks? Well, BlakeC and friends have Causes too, which is #31 on our momentum list - so they clearly get the Facebook crowd... Which is why they've now introduced Vampires, cause they know a good idea is worth doing twice ;)

Astrolis keeps rolling out derivative astrological apps, many of which pop up on our lists... Chinese Horoscopes has teh #14 spot in momentum, but they also hold spot #29 (Numerology), #32 (Tarot) and #50 (Astrology) !

Top Friends and iLike still have respectable growth rates, enough to keep thin in the top 21.

Scrabble-the-face-book-app (trademark Hasbro, I suspect!) is getting some attention, but I expect that name to either change soon or be bought by Hasbro ;)

So - of course - you might ask:

"How has the growth rates of these apps changed from week to week?" or
"what about the new Apps this week whose growth rate couldn't be calculated?" or
"What about the apps ranked #22 through #101 using this momentum indicator?"... or...
"Which apps added the most users this past week, regardless of their current size?"...

We have all that data... so ASK! We're trying to figure out what's most useful here... so give us some feedback.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Facebook Stats Commentary: comparing app rankings in small doses

Doing a bit of analysis on the numbers, I noticed some interesting movements…

For the top 101 apps as ranked by pure number of users – comparing 6/25 to 6/28 (that’s 3 days difference):
- 20 apps moved up in rank (Zombies moved from position 72 to 37!)
- 16 apps stayed in their same position
- 57 apps moved down in rank
- 8 apps got pushed off the list (which means 8 new apps showed up)

65% of apps moved down or off the list and only 20% moved up… That’s a pretty clear signal… or is it? Actually, out of the top 101 Apps, only 8 new entrants displaced 8 apps from the prior period - but this might be considered significant, given that this comparison is really just a 3 day difference. I think this motion of the top ranked apps is a combination of 2 factors, both related to the newness of the platform:
First, some applications with the most users still might not deserve to be there (but some do - like iLike), but they are, due only to lack of anything else for Facebook users to look at.
Second, many new apps grow fast, but quickly reach their viral ceiling – being tried and sometimes adopted by the niche audience to which it might directly apply, but then having nowhere else to grow (that’s my definition of the “Viral Ceiling”, being coined here for the very first time as far as I know without searching Google and likely disproving that claim ;).

Now, let’s do the same analysis on Growth Rate Ranking…

For the top 101 apps as ranked by their growth rate – comparing the period of 6/21-6/25 to the period of 6/21-28 (yes – just 3 days added to the periods of comparison):
- 7 apps moved up in rank
- 5 apps stayed in their same position
- 76 apps moved down in rank
- 13 apps got pushed off the list.

89% of applications moved down/off the list and only 7% moved up! The range of Daily Growth Rates shifted up – leaving some pretty healthy growing apps (at say, 7% daily growth!) to fall off the list… The ranges were:
- 7% to 2675% from June 21-25
- 11% to 4955% from June 21-28 (you had to grow 11% per DAY to be top 101!)

With all this apparent downward shifting – do you think the top ranked Applications have suffered? No. On the Growth ranking, 9 out of the top 10 ranked Apps were still in the top 10 this week. On the Most Users ranking, all 10 stayed in the top 10 – with only minor shifts among them.
For now, this looks a bit like early web patterns, where any content was hit hard (sort of)… just throw something fun at this crowd, and they’ll try it. If they like it just a little bit, they’ll pass it on to their friends, passively, just in the act of trying it ("JR just added the Magic 8 Ball Application" - which, by the way, was ranked 94th in growth and then fell off the top 101 growth ranking, but actually moved UP from 29th to 28th in number of users - with 445k as of 6/28!)

Monday, July 2, 2007

Facebook Stats: Fastest Growing Apps last week

Some updated stats on Facebook Apps - this time with a comparison of where these apps fell on this ranking the last time we did it versus this time... Not a perfectly consistent process yet - as the last time was a shorter period and ended in the middle of last week... while the stats for this week are pretty much a full week (or a bit more... June 21-28). Also notice that most of the top apps according to the Facebook's raw number of total users have dropped off this growth rate ranking just due to the challenge of adding upwards of 50,000 or more users per week to achieve a growth rate at the levels shown in this top 101.

I'm guessing we'll continue to see Sticky Notes grow, as it's one of those standard useful thingy's... and, well, sticky ;)
There's some real consistent growth in a few unique-ish entries, like Zombies, PersonalDNA and Beeeeeeeer... and you'll see some fast growing up-n-comers like Greek Pride and Fried Wheel...

Who won the most Facebook users last week?

This week it seemed only fair to show why some of the top apps, which have several million Facebook users, have what appears to be (in this bizarro-world of Facebook growth) a modest growth rate of "only" 5-10% per week...
We've sorted by the raw number of users added week-to-week... This gives a beter sense of how strong some of the top apps are still growing. In other words, to grow 5% when you've got 1 million users(+50,000 users!) is harder than to grow 5% when you're still in the discovery phase with only, say, 10,000 users (+500 users)...

That said, this view also highlights those Apps which add tremendous numbers of users despite their small size... What is "Zombies" , anyway ?