The Facebook Apps Making More Than Yours: Which, How Much, and Why
August 2008

One of the latest additions to our repository of information has been monetization potential.

Monetization potential is calculated based on five trend equations derived from hundreds of real CPM, and CPA/Virtual Goods revenue data points collected directly from developers and partners. The five equations relate revenue to total daily unique users, return users, churn rate, application age, and daily page multiplier (impressions/unique user/day).

The monetization potential displayed on the chart represents daily potential revenue of each app based on the aforementioned equations.

There are a number of applications of interest on this list.

Mob Wars - The Big Kahuna. It's the game on the tip of every Facebook developer's tongues. And similar applications are quickly appearing. Mafia Cities, Elven Blood, Bloodlust, Might of Many, Crusaders, Space Raiders, Pool Party, and quite a few more have shown up on our radar as having similar usage characteristics to Mob Wars. I'm not sure what's more scary: the fact that Mob Wars makes as much money as it does, or that so many of the apps following the trail its created are performing excellently as well.

Why is this app such a big winner with people's pocketbooks? Well go ahead and sign up for a Developer Analytics premium subscription for the nitty gritty (wink-wink/nudge-nudge), but for starters, each unique user generates over 60 page impressions per day, not to mention the application has one of the longest average user lifespans we've ever seen on Facebook.

Not only does this application rank the highest on our monetization scale, we know our estimates are actually rather conservative. Mob Wars is currently monetizing via a dual-layered virtual currency system (that scales with user experience to account for inflation), and runs on incentivized CPA offers via OfferPal and Super Rewards. This has proven to be extremely effective for social games, and is one of the most lucrative methods of monetization on Facebook to date.

PackRat - With just over 20,000 unique daily active users (DAU), one might easily pass over this diamond in the rough. PackRat is living proof that size doesn't matter. The application squeezes out more total impressions per day than Friends For Sale (500k DAU+) or FunSpace (the largest app on Facebook). The application currently does not monetize by either CPM display advertising, or CPA/Virtual Goods (although they do have a shop that sells PackRat paraphernalia), but based on this app's characteristics it could easily pull in over $10,000/day. Hear that Alamofire? Start monetizing already!

Slide FunSpace - The largest Facebook application on this list by reach actually turns out to be ranked only fifth highest in terms of potential revenue. With each user only generating 2-3x page views per day, this is an application that requires more functionality and features to increase user engagement. On the other hand, due to FunSpace's sheer size, brand advertising opportunities could provide a substantial increase to its CPM monetization potential. Unfortunately there are insufficient instances of brand deals happening in the Facebook space to effectively predict how significant of an impact this would have on average daily revenue.

In terms of brand advertising potential, the current top autoplaying YouTube trailer on the main page is for the movie, Eagle Eye. According to YouTube, the video has received a total of 923,558 unique views (as of August 25, 2008).

The YouTube's stats page records 13,405 outgoing links to the YouTube trailer page itself from FunSpace.

Based on the daily uniques, this is not a substantial number. Then again, we can't get too caught up with "Facebook-class" traffic, and 1 million unique views of a trailer is more than 30x the number of views that the "top requested movie" on, and the equivalent of playing the full length trailer in every single theatre "The Dark Knight" was showing in this weekend.

That's gotta be worth something.

Scrabulous - Even after the loss of its US demographic, Scrabulous remains a significant player in the online gaming space. This game is actually an example where our page multiplier equation fails to perform. It belongs significantly higher on the list. We currently have not implemented our system for tracking average time by hour spent on an app per user per day, so highly engaging flash games (such as those created by Playfish, in addition to Scrabulous) have heavily underestimated monetization potentials. We hope to be fixing that shortly:) So we picked out these applications from the list for very specific reasons.

1. The highest earning app on Facebook comes from an unfunded developer.
2. A 20k DAU app can draw more overall usage than a 1.7 million DAU app.
3. A single application on Facebook can push more trailer views than every major movie theatre in the US combined.
4. If you own a flash app, you should put our code on your page so we can provide you with a more accurate valuation:)
Furthermore, as this our first monthly report on the state of social networking applications, there are definitely a few important questions and rumors that need to be settled.
1. Facebook is still growing, and still growing fast.
2. Developers are earning more money now than they have ever earned before.
3. Branding potential is very high, and as the numbers flesh out, more deals will inevitably appear.
Yet despite these facts, people still question Facebook apps in general. They've been described as "useless time wasters," "low quality," and "throw away games." Yet they must have a great deal of value if users are paying out money to play these games.

Who is right?
Well really, both factions are correct, which brings in to mind just what kind of potential is lurking.
If a "useless time wasting throwaway game" can make $600k-$1 million/month, just imagine what you could do with a high quality, well designed, high production game.
Well, you don't really need to imagine. Blizzard's 10 million monthly subscribers who pay $15/month each for the privilege of playing World of Warcraft (WoW) can attest that WoW's $150,000,000 monthly revenue is very real. It's time to make Facebook apps.