Phrases Appears to, But Doesn’t Really, Pass FarmVille on This Week’s List of Fastest-Growing Facebook Apps by MAU

We’ve been tracking Phrases, the largest non-game app on Facebook, for some time. During the past week, the monthly active user count of the gigantic quiz and quote app finally intersected with FarmVille’s slowly declining MAU, leaving Phrases as the apparent king of the MAU hill on Facebook. The app’s unflagging growth also once again put it in first place on our weekly AppData list of fastest-growing Facebook apps by MAU.

Looks can be deceiving. Take a peek at the list, then keep reading for more on why Phrases is still only second-largest:

Top Gainers This Week
Name MAU Gain Gain,%
1. Phrases54,354,641+1,880,804+4%
2. Tag Friends1,843,704+1,746,064+1,788%
3. Social Fun4,797,582+1,575,029+49%
4. Hollywood City2,693,307+1,307,478+94%
5. Vegas City1,869,890+1,280,241+217%
6. Ravenwood Fair4,121,987+1,043,662+34%
7. BandPage by RootMusic11,008,638+916,818+9%
8. Crime City5,929,264+906,783+18%
9. Social Statistics3,181,553+696,393+28%
10. Island God1,095,505+665,885+155%
11. Game of Truth918,801+637,001+226%
12. Intelligent Elite1,305,703+561,708+75%
13. Simply Hospital2,666,279+540,667+25%
14. FrontierVille28,667,456+440,786+2%
15. لعبة الحقيقة2,718,731+440,376+19%
16. Entrevista Amigos1,032,298+423,228+69%
17. Are YOU Interested?14,435,816+421,385+3%
18. عيد على صحابك502,885+405,987+419%
19. Bubble Island5,465,582+404,715+8%
20. Horoscopes6,627,759+376,101+6%

The problem with Phrases’ MAU count is that it’s a trailing measurement of the past 30 days, so any drop in MAU takes that long to appear in the numbers. A more accurate day-to-day indicator is the daily active user count, in a graph of which we can see the effect of Phrases’ recent suspension in the United States:

Phrases was first suspended a month ago, when Facebook briefly cut it off worldwide. The app was then allowed to resume, but after another week, stopped serving American users. Its DAU has since fallen by over three million users. (AppData Pro subscribers can access full historical graphs, among other metrics, but the above 30 day measurement shows enough for our purposes here.)

We’ll see a corresponding drop in MAU within two or three weeks. After that begins, Phrases’ MAU measurement may even fall below that of Zynga’s second-biggest app, Texas HoldEm Poker, which has 35 million MAU.

Tag Friends and Social Fun both appear following Phrases. These are both types of friend quizzes, which ask questions and then post the answers to your, or your friend’s, wall; these apps tend to grow quickly and die young, generally as victims of Facebook policy enforcers. Lately we’ve only seen friend quizzes with mostly international userbases, like these two.

Hollywood City, Ravenwood Fair and the other games you see on the list are helping to define a new generation of successful developers on Facebook. Two especially stand out; you can read more on our corresponding Inside Social Games list.

Finally, BandPage by RootMusic has accelerated its growth considerably, and appears to be well on its way to becoming the dominant music page app on Facebook.