Instant Message, Music Services Are Now Among the Most Engaging Facebook Apps

When it first launched its developer platform back in 2007, Facebook had meant every company in the world to somehow use it. Instead, most of the hits have turned out to be social games and lightweight quiz and dating apps.

But the original vision is still alive and growing, mostly in the form of established web services — from Microsoft and Yahoo to Scribd and Yelp — plugging in some type of Facebook integration as a social layer on top of whatever they already offer.

Here’s our latest look at the largest apps of this type, based on AppData, our tracking service for Facebook apps, and following up on an article we did a couple months ago on the trend. For the most part, we’ll look at apps based on daily active users in order to illustrate just how engaging they are to Facebook users.

By the DAU measure, the largest app on the platform now is Windows Live Messenger. It has been reaching nearly 18 million people a day for the past few weeks, after seeing a slight drop that may have been due to recent methodology changes by Facebook to the data that we track.

The overall trend is that Messenger has been steadily gaining Facebook users since the integration launched in 2010, and we expect that to continue given that Messenger has hundreds of millions of total users. However, Microsoft will need to see if Facebook ends up helping its massive, aging instant message service grow (or at least maintain users), and make money.

The third-largest app on the Facebook platform is Yahoo’s integration of Facebook into its homepage (Zynga’s CityVille game is at second). The homepage has been fluctuating between 11.3 million and 12.5 million DAUs in the past few weeks, in what could be a reflection of Yahoo’s overall traffic patterns. As the social layer on Yahoo’s content and services portal, Facebook helps users see things like articles that friends like, thereby helping engagement — and Yahoo’s ad business.

Bing, with 4.2 million daily active users, gets an especially obvious win from Facebook. First of all, Facebook has provided its strategic investor with special access to user data for social search results, and also features Bing as the web search results page within Facebook.com. The result is that users who want a social experience can’t get the equivalent social results — such as your Facebook friend Liking an article on the topic you searched for — from market leader Google. That differentiation in turn can help Bing increase engagement, and search-related revenue streams like ads. The result is the steady weekly patterns of engagement that you can see in the graph above, that make Bing the app with the 12th-highest number of DAUs on Facebook.

Streaming music startup Spotify‘s special business relationship with Facebook landed it a dominant spot in the launch of a new Facebook profile at Facebook’s f8 conference in September. Millions of users Facebook suddenly started seeing every single song that their Spotify-using friends were listening to through the service, and the result has been some viral growth. Over October, the app has been surging up in DAU, and for some reason shot up yesterday from less than 2 million DAU to nearly 4 million. Clearly this is an app to keep watching.

European instant message service eBuddy hasn’t gotten a lot of press out of its Facebook integration, but it has gotten results: 2.5 million daily active users, and growing, and the 21st spot on our top 50 DAU list. Like Messenger, eBuddy makes it easy to sync and chat with Facebook friends through its service.

Not to be outdone, new Microsoft property Skype has been climbing up the charts especially fast. It has grown by half a million DAU in the past month, to reach around 2 million today. The Skype-Facebook tie-up has been coming for some time, and the results so far are not surprising when you consider how well some of the other chat services have done with integrating Facebook.

 

It might not have been included in Facebook’s Spotify-focused music launch, but internet radio service Pandora has been adding more and more daily active users on Facebook. Today it is near 1.4 million at the peak of the traffic waves you see above, following a good couple of months.

YouTube‘s dominant position in online video has translated to Facebook a little bit, with some 1.5 million DAU these days.

Twitter has also seen more and more Facebook usage — presumably through some of the Facebook-Twitter integrations that Facebook has not blocked in past years.