The Impact of the New Design on Applications

There’s been a lot of discussion about the impact of the new design on Facebook applications over the past month as Facebook has rolled out the new design. Prior to the roll-out taking place many were concerned that the new design would crush application traffic and make it more challenging to obtain new users. Over the past few weeks I have been talking with developers and have received a bunch of feedback.

Today, Vasanth Sridharan concluded that the redesign has substantially damaged many of the applications. That was after taking look at a discussion taking place within the Facebook developer forum. While at first glance, we can assume that traffic is down for most, I don’t think the picture is completely clear.

A Change in Stats Confuses Many

As the new design roll-out approached Facebook decided to switch the standard application metric from daily active users to monthly active users. For many this made sense but for a few it made it difficult to determine what impact the new design was having as it became hard to monitor daily adjustments. Adonomics, the site which had once been the standard site for monitoring application statistics was thrown a curveball by the change.

Suddenly many of the statistics were inaccurate and it was no longer easy to monitor what was going on among the top Facebook applications. It appears that Adonomics has figured out a way to back track stats and fill in missing days but the statistics are still questionable. So how are we to determine what the new design’s net impact is on application developers?

A Drop for Some but Not All

Some application developers I’ve spoken with have experienced a decrease in traffic by 20 to 25 percent. Others have actually experienced an increase in traffic. While the forum discussion that Vasanth referenced is filled with dissenting application developers, that discussion caters to those critical of the new design. The title of the discussion is “Facebook Does it Again, Screws Developers Once More”.

Ad networks that I’ve spoken with have not experienced a decrease in revenue among their top developers. That means results are mixed across the board. One thing that is not mixed is the decrease in application profile views. The “boxes” tab has resulted in a substantial drop in impressions on the profile page. It’s not all bad though.

The new design emphasizes features that add value to the users. While the new design may not emphasize viral channels as much as it used to, times are not critical for most developers. While some may have suffered a decrease in traffic, the majority are not overly critical of the redesign. The largest backlash so far has come from the users, not the developers.

Stats from Developers Who Has Suffered From Redesign

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