Socialcam passes Yahoo, CityVille to become most popular Facebook app by monthly active users

Video application Socialcam vaulted to the No. 1 position on our AppData charts after gaining 40 million monthly active Facebook-connected users in two weeks.

Socialcam overtook the Yahoo Social Bar news integration and Zynga’s game CityVille, both of which have lost MAU over the past few days. CityVille has been steadily declining for about a year, and Yahoo has recently seen a dip that could be the result of News Feed changes affecting social reader apps.

Socialcam and its competitor Viddy — No. 5 on the AppData MAU leaderboard — have had explosive growth because of their Open Graph integration that automatically shares users’ video viewing activity back on Facebook. Both are mobile apps that allow users to add filters and share videos from their smartphones, though unlike photo app Instagram, these apps have more fully functioning websites that allow users to watch and browse other videos. Socialcam also seems to be seeding its servie with content from YouTube. Its “trending videos” section seems to include mostly traditional web video content, not the short-form mobile video it seeks to help users share.

When users click on Socialcam links, they are prompted to give the app permission to share their activity to Timeline, Ticker and News Feed. As such, Socialcam’s huge growth among Facebook-connected users is more likely the result of web viewing than mobile app downloads. Consider that Google Play shows Socialcam has been downloaded between 100,000 and 500,000 times on Android devices. Instagram for Android has been downloaded between 10 million and 50 million times, yet that app is No. 24, according to AppData, with 17.1 million MAU connected to Facebook.

It is important to recognize that Socialcam’s rapid rise is largely attributable to Facebook’s Open Graph, which is still in an early experimental phase. As applications take off and users begin sharing more and more stories from them, the social network often has to adjust its News Feed algorithms so that users do not feel inundated by the content. This could be what led to a recent decline among some social reader applications, and it certainly affected social games and other apps in 2010. We expect Facebook to continue to monitor how apps like Socialcam publish to the feed and respond to user feedback and trends.

It is also likely that Socialcam is getting a lot of users to connect with Facebook once, but it is too soon to tell if it can get them to re-engage. Currently the app has 8.2 million daily active users, but many of these could be new users trying the app for the first time, not regular visitors. Socialcam is likely to hit its peak soon, but a decline in MAU should not be viewed immediately as failure. How the app evolves to maintain regular engagement among a sizable percentage of users will be the true test.

Socialcam did not respond to interview requests.

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