In a few weeks, the Facebook application platform will mark its second anniversary. While it garnered lots of press coverage in the months after it launched, the arrival of the iTunes app store shifted attention away from Facebook’s vibrant ecosystem. The media glow is understandable: among other things, the younger iTunes platform is adding apps at a much faster rate than Facebook or Myspace.
Games comprise a sizable chunk of app revenues in all three platforms and recent stories suggest that 2009 has been a great year for developers. The substantial revenue generated by popular Facebook (and Myspace) apps has been the subject of articles in VentureBeat, TechCrunch, and Inside Facebook. There have also been recent estimates for the revenue generated by iPhone apps (see here and here). Game developers in particular are benefiting from having a multitude of platforms: Games are the largest iTunes category, and the second largest category in both Facebook and Myspace. In addition, 4 of the top 10 most successful Facebook app providers are Game developers.
With the 2-year anniversary of Facebook’s platform a few weeks away, I’ve put together an overview of the current state of Facebook and Myspace apps. At a time when iTunes attracts most of the media coverage, the Facebook & Myspace (particularly Facebook) platforms are quietly producing apps and developers with impressive usage numbers. Over the past week, there were more than 29,000 app sellers on the Facebook platform. Over 2% of those sellers released apps with at least 100,000 combined active users. Close to 700 different Facebook apps had at least 100,000 active users over the last month. Over the past month, 49,000 Facebook apps had at least 50 active users:
Usage numbers are important because advertising is a popular source of revenue for many Facebook, Myspace, and iPhone apps. Some Facebook and Myspace apps (especially Games) also rely on points systems and virtual items to generate revenue — both of which benefit from high usage numbers. More details, including a list of the top developers and usage stats, in the slides below.