The Facebook platform is best known for social games, but another class of applications has been on the rise in the past couple years: integrations of Facebook features by large media and tech companies into their own properties. They are now among the largest applications on the platform.
Most notably, companies like Microsoft and Yahoo have been taking advantage of the platform’s authentication service (formerly known as Connect) to help users sign in to their other services using Facebook, and then sync the relevant Facebook user information to their service. Bing, for example, lets you sign in with Facebook, then shows you search results that your friends have Liked.
Our AppData traffic tracking service highlights the scale of the Facebook traffic for some of these apps today. By monthly active users, Bing is now the seventh largest app on the Facebook platform, with 28.9 million today. Windows Live Messenger is in tenth place at 21.5 million, and Yahoo is right after it with 20.9 million people. By daily active users, Messenger handily beats top social game CityVille to the number one spot, with 18.1 million people. Yahoo is in third place with 11.8 million and Bing is in tenth with 4.28 million. Other companies with large Facebook numbers on our list include TripAdvisor, Yelp and VEVO for Artists.
Check out the graphs below to get a sense for these apps’ trajectories. But first:
Strategic Implications of Facebook’s Prevalence
If nothing else, these numbers illustrate that large sites that integrate Facebook can get serious traffic. Depending on how the integration is done, Facebook could be driving new traffic by encouraging more users to bother signing up, and engaging existing users by making the products more valuable through the use of Facebook data. But if the integrations are done poorly, companies could just be encouraging more users to view Facebook as the center of the web (and the owner of their data), without more value being created. Or, users might simply sign in at some point with Facebook but get nothing out of it — resulting in big stats, but nothing substantive.
It is this complicated set of costs and benefits that helped convince Apple to not do its own Facebook integration with Ping last year. And, as far as we know, Facebook purposefully blocked then stonewalled a deal with Twitter because it was concerned that Twitter would be able to get the better side of the deal, essentially funneling more Facebook users to Twitter. The result of these two issues is that Apple has anointed Twitter as the main social sign-in service for iOS 5, leaving Facebook mostly excluded.
The data here shows what Twitter and Apple might be missing out on. The flip-side is that Facebook’s dealmaking has left it in a worse position for reaching iOS users.
Anyway, here are the biggest Facebook integrations today, by MAU and DAU: