Any web company will tell you that measuring and analyzing user behavior is vital to the constant improvement of any site. While Google and others have spent lots of time and energy building analytics infrastructure services for the general web, specialized analytics services for the Facebook Platform are still in their infancy.
Because of the nature of social network application development, app analytics is inherently a fragmented problem: because only part of users’ interaction with your software occurs in places that you can measure, application developers must depend on the platform for visibility into channels the platform owns (on Facebook, this means the News Feed, invitations, notifications, and others).
Although it did not provide developers with very much information at all for the first few months of the Platform’s launch, Facebook has been slowly but steadily adding more metrics to the Developer dashboard, including total invitation and notification conversion rates recently (though they still don’t provide News Feed impression stats). The rest is left to the developer.
Most developers will want to build their own analytics systems that gather user behavior data. From there, the specific tables and reports you build and KPIs you optimize for depend on your particular business strategy.
However, an increasing number of third party tools are aiming to help developers understand what their users are doing:
- At the highest level, Appsaholic 2.0 (by SocialMedia) and Adonomics provide developers with historical graphs of daily active user counts provided by Facebook. (Note: SocialMedia is a sponsor of this blog.) Now that SocialMedia has deprecated Appsaholic 1.0, Adonomics is also the easiest place to track the top Facebook application developers.
- Developer Analytics is a new service created by recent Berkeley and UPenn grads Charles Yong, Richard Chen, and Jing Chen that tracks top applications and provides predictive demographics and application overlap/affinity information in the “Advanced Statistics” of each application’s stats page. Watch for new more robust services coming from Developer Analytics in the near future.
- Sometrics is a new service started by Ian Swanson, Matt Gray, and Joe Hsieh in Los Angeles. Sometrics provides app developers with a light tracking code that records traffic, demographic, and conversion data, and appears to be the first firm to track traditional web analytics and social-network-specific metrics.
As more developer analytics tools become available, we’ll let you know. If you’re using any that we didn’t cover, please drop us a line.