The Social Media: Global Report covers the state of social media applications on social networks. This report includes analysis and discussions of the following topics:
The following chart highlights the overall health of the Facebook application economy since January 2008, showing weekly averages in daily unique active users. Fluctuations in the data reflect seasonal changes (e.g. slower traffic in beginning summer months of June and July). While it may seem that growth in application users has slowed, dA research shows that an increasing percentage of these users are becoming deeply engaged a smaller group of high quality applications, especially as the richness and user experience of these applications have improved over time.
In May 2008, during our keynote presentation at the Interplay Conference for social games in San Franciso, we highlighted the evolution
of social media applications on Facebook from Generation 1.0 to Generation 2.0.
Generation 1.0 applications such as Vampires and Zombies represented the simplest form of social games using a very lightweight messaging game mechanic. For instance, in Vampires, you would go around "biting" your friends. These type of applications are all variants of Facebook's internal "poke" feature where users can "poke" their friends. In addition, the development cycle on these applications were short. Really short. Days or even hours.
In the Generation 2.0 era, social media applications -- like Mob Wars, Pet Pupz, and Friends for Sale! -- have gotten far deeper, higher quality, and overall more engaging and longer lasting. Game mechanics are more sophisticated, often requiring users to complete several tasks before advancing to a new level or receiving a new reward or bonus. Futhermore, the social graph is built directly into the gameplay itself, meaning that the game relies heavily on a user playing with his or her friends. Development cycles are now in weeks and months (though still shorter than the traditional online gaming industry). Like all emerging industries, these strong trends only make the future of social games more exciting and promising.