Facebook Metrics, the Good and Bad

In Tim O'Reilly's keynote presentation yesterday at Graphing Social Patterns he highlighted some interesting metrics about Facebook applicatoins drawn from their just released report The Facebook Application Platform. You can get a good synopsis of this from Tim's blog post and this chart showing the distribution of active users among the top 200 developers:

Facebook chart

The good news has already been widely disseminated: there are nearly 5000 Facebook applications, and the top applications have tens of millions of installs and millions of active users. The bad news, alas, is in our report: 87% of the usage goes to only 84 applications! Only 45 applications have more than 100,000 active users. This is a long tail marketplace with a vengeance.

This doesn't mean that Facebook won't become an important Platform for developers, just that a throwaway Facebook app is not the ticket to quick riches. Embracing the Facebook opportunity requires more than just optimism.

A few stats of note his talk yesterday:

  • 87% of usage goes to 2% of the Apps
  • Most active category with > 100K users is Messaging
  • The growth rate of the top applications appears to be slowing

The speaker after Tim was Facebook's David Morin who highlighted a few more stats about the Facebook Platform:

  • There are now 90,000 registerd Facebook developers
  • 100 new apps are added per day
  • 80% of Facebook users have installed at least one application

We'll have to see how these trends are impacted by the impending launch of the MySpace Platform.

Be sure to read the next Analytics article: Graphing Bebo Application Growth