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!)

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