The Value of a Facebook Application

If you are a regular reader of this blog you may have noticed a significant decrease in reviews of Facebook applications. Why is that? Aside from being insanely busy, there has been a serious lack of great applications. In the first few months there was an insane influx of applications to review. There still is a huge influx of applications but many of them are seriously horrendous. There is no point in me reviewing a “Buffy the Vampire, Photos, Quotes and Trivia” application. Unless you are a huge Buffy fan.

As I watch people churn out applications at a grueling pace, I begin to wonder what these individual’s goals are. A quotes application can attract thousands of users (the Buffy one has over 6,000), but is that a lot? For any website, 6,000 active users is relatively significant. For a Facebook application though, many of us have the idea that we are suddenly going to have hundreds of thousands of users as soon as we launch our idea. Honestly, most won’t.

Isn’t this the same case for websites though? I’ve worked at agencies where we provide clients with websites but have no marketing plan involved. That’s the way that many of these interactive agencies work. They assume that their brand alone is going to drive significant traffic. Occasionally they are right but frequently they are wrong. So what is an acceptable level of users? I have seen national campaigns worth hundreds of thousands of dollars that include television advertising that attempts to drive users to a website. The one I saw failed miserably and the client remained unscathed as their yearly advertising budget is hundreds of millions of dollars.

What I’m trying to get at is what is this all worth? For some it is simply for branding. Others see golden opportunities to make money. What many of us can’t seem to figure is why some people are putting so much effort into these small applications. So I have a few questions that I’ve been wondering. Is the Facebook real estate really worth that much when all of your applications have under 5000 users? What do you all think the value of a Facebook application is? What do you think are the most important features of an application? Finally, what determines a successful application? I know this is a lot but they are some of the things I’ve been thinking hard about.