Content-Sharing, Virtual Goods Helped Slide Double its User Base in February

We’ve been talking a lot about Slide recently, and for good reason. After staying pretty flat for months at around 20 million monthly active users, Slide’s growth started to explode a few weeks ago. Since February 14th, the company has doubled its MAU to almost 40 million, of whom over five million are daily active users.

What happened? A combination of Facebook’s redesign, plus some cross-promotion, a little advertising, and the clever use of viral features. We talked with Keith Rabois, Slide’s vice president of business development and strategy, to get some background.

FunSpace has grown the most since mid-February. On the 16th, it was still at 4.5 million MAU; today it accounts for about half of Slide’s MAU, at 21.7 million MAU. It is focused on sharing videos and other content. This is generally what Facebook wants to enable, and its own data reflects the trend.

Our regular readers will notice that around two weeks elapsed between Facebook’s design changes in early February and the explosion in growth for FunSpace. This is where Slide’s viral tactic comes in, a method Rabois describes as letting users share videos with a lot of friends in a way that follows Facebook’s developer policies.

Besides FunSpace, most of Slide’s other apps also involve content sharing, of sorts, and this may be helping them grow, too.

Cute mammal-caring games like SuperPoke! PetsSPP Ranch! and SuperPocus, and aquarium game Top Fish are more virtual worlds than games. Slide began testing out virtual marketplaces in some of these apps in January, letting users create their own virtual goods, sell them and make money, similar to aspects of virtual worlds like Second Life and IMVU.

In January, Rabois says that users made $160,000 on their creations. To expand the model, Slide will need to manage fraud and provide creation tools but the results so far suggest that the effort would be worth it. The company already offers virtual goods creation tools, the marketplace and ecosystem features designed for user-created goods, like a method for selecting the best user creations and promoting a limited number to other users. So far, so good — we’ll be watching to see if other application developers adopt similar virtual goods marketplace.

While none of the apps are seeing nearly as much growth as FunSpace, they are all growing — partly due to cross-promotion from FunSpace, it seems. Still, SPP Ranch!’s traffic was already on the way up, according to AppData. Slide doesn’t spend much on advertising, so on top of the other reasons mentioned, the virtual goods marketplace — and the profusion of additional goods that players are getting access to — could be playing a role in drawing making the apps more popular.

Overall, Slide’s combination of content-sharing apps and virtual world-style games seems to be helping it gain more users, and monetize them. Having been one of the largest developers on Facebook since the platform launched in 2007, its reach, experience and funding — and its range of growing apps — put it in a promising position to build its business.