DataPoint: Facebook Algorithm Changes and Social Game Developers

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Facebook recently announced that its News Feed algorithm would start favoring explicit shares from third-party apps over implicit shares. “We’ve found that people engage more with stories that are shared explicitly rather than implicitly, and often feel surprised or confused by stories that are shared implicitly or automatically,” wrote Peter Yang on the Facebook blog.

What does this mean for developers? Users who explicitly share through a third-party app are potent brand ambassadors — they’ve taken the extra step. However, it will probably become more difficult for apps to rise in rank, because they won’t be able to get a free pass from users. Success will be more difficult to come by, similar to other changes that have recently been made to News Feed.

This may give an advantage to apps that are already at the top. If it gets harder for new apps to break into the space, established apps can get comfortable with the view from above. We previously covered how King alone takes 25 percent of the app market. Let’s take a look at the top 10 games on the platform, in terms of market share, courtesy of AppData:

  • Candy Crush Saga [King]: 10.56 percent market share, No. 1 on AppData’s Power Rankings.
  • Farm Heroes Saga [King]: 4.18 percent, No. 2.
  • Pet Rescue Saga [King]: 2.99 percent, No. 4.
  • Criminal Case [Pretty Simple]. 1.62 percent, No. 10.
  • Dragon City [Social Point]: 1.59 percent, No. 11.
  • Farmville 2 [Zynga]: 1.42 percent, No. 12.
  • Papa Pear Saga [King]: 1.27 percent, No. 14.
  • Texas HoldEm Poker [Zynga]: 1.22 percent, No. 15
  • Hay Day [Supercell]: 1.04 percent, No. 18
  • Words with Friends [Zynga]: 0.97 percent, No. 19
  • King continues to dominate the market. So far this year, both Hay Day and Words with Friends have made great gains. Let’s see if they continue the trend with Facebook’s new algorithm changes.

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    DataPoint: How the Facebook Platform has Changed in the Past Year

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    A lot can change in a year. In April of 2013, Zynga had 13 percent of the Facebook app market and 232.5 million monthly active users (MAUs). By contrast, King had less than eight percent of the market with 137 million MAUs.

    Fast forward a year and King has its rival beat by a long shot. The creator of Candy Crush Saga now has 18 percent market share with 292.5 million MAUs compared to Zynga’s 5.5 percent share and 91 million MAUs.

    King, however, still has not reached the level of success that Zynga had at its height — about 344 million MAUs, according to AppData. The company is on its way to beating that milestone if it continues its trajectory. Execs acknowledged that Candy Crush is on the decline during the company’s Q1 earnings call, but hope that new releases like Diamond Digger Saga will help it maintain its momentum.

    Here’s what the Facebook Platform looked like in April of 2013, courtesy of AppData:

    And here’s what it looked like last month:

    For more information about AppData click here, or call 415-230-2558.

    What do you think? Will King be able to keep up its momentum, now that Candy Crush’s popularity seems to be waning?

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