Tracking trends in Facebook app usage is important for social media marketers. When Facebook users add and use applications, they are doing far more than having a meaningful interaction with a brand or concept. They are also providing more information about their preferences, friends and desires than they ever would by simply becoming a Fan of a brand page.
If the Facebook popularity rankings at AppData.com are any indication, triviality still reigns supreme. Top apps still include familiar entertainment favorites “Mafia Wars,” “RockYou Live” (formerly SuperWall) and “Texas Hold ‘Em Poker.” However, recent data released by ChubbyBrain.com indicate positive signs for the popularity of apps designed for business, travel and other everyday uses.
The data tracks the popularity of several dozen 2008 Fb Fund apps broken out by category. The fact that all the apps received Facebook funding and were developed at roughly the same time, therefore giving none of the apps a significant time to market advantage, makes the group compelling to track. In the first graph, note that the single largest group of funded apps are in a category dubbed “Just for Fun.”
The next graph depicts the most popular funded apps grouped into a category called “Tier 1.” Interestingly, the “Just for Fun” and “Gaming” categories don’t dominate the popularity rankings as one might expect. Instead, the most popular apps from this group are more or less equally distributed among business, utility, travel and other categories.
It should be noted that obviously, not all apps were created equal. Some apps still appear decidedly unfinished, while others hum along gracefully. Still, the chart raises several questions. With users in their 30s and 40s swelling among Facebook’s ranks, will apps that help users run their lives – and even their businesses – gain in overall popularity? Will businesses find value in Facebook beyond recruiting and advertising?
There’s not enough evidence here to answer any of those questions, but as the new App Directory gains increased use, and users have increased access to a wide variety of categories, it will be interesting to see how app use in the social network changes over time.