The Top 20 Up-and-Coming Facebook Apps: Another Strong International Showing

We’re continuing to see international Facebook applications grow fast, as this week’s look at AppData’s up-and-coming apps reveals. These aren’t American apps getting big in other countries — although that is happening as well. The fastest-growing international apps here are mostly made by small developers based in other countries, a trend we’ve been seeing in the past year as Facebook continues to expand around the world.

Top Gainers This Week (100k – 1 million MAU)

First, some important notes about the stats. To get a sense for which apps are growing the fastest, we looked at all apps that have between 100,000 and 1 million users as of today, then examined their growth trajectories over the last 30 days and last 90 days. This cross-section of apps help us see which ones are not just blips in the data, but possibly on the way to becoming multi-million-strong mainstays. We separately cover the overall the top 20 gainers every week to see how market leading apps like Farmville (currently at 39 million monthly active users), are doing.

At the top of the up-and-comers list today is Turkish smash hit Senin İçin, which appears to be a simple gifting application, albeit with more elegant virtual gifts than many English-language apps in the genre. Meaning “for you,” the app has come out of nowhere, going from around 30,000 or so users as of August 29th to more than 681,000 today. This is a dramatic change, considering that the company had seen a long slide down to over the last three months. It’s not clear why, exactly, the app is growing, but by getting some 650,000 users in less than two weeks, it became Facebook’s number #15 overall fastest-growing app earlier this week. No company is listed as the owner of the app, just a few people.

The catch, for any app with a big international audience, will be how much money the developers can bring in. Countries like China and Korea pioneered the virtual goods model, but it has not yet been proven to work well everywhere — although metrics we’re seeing are strengthening. More traditional forms of online advertising, meanwhile, do not bring in much money for many markets. So, all that said….

A strong international showing

A quick look at growth trajectories among these apps shows most non-English growing faster than English-language ones.

Immediately following Senin İçin, a range of unsurprising English-language apps saw steady gains, including age-quiz app What’s Your Actual Age, role-playing game Superhero City and sports game Fantasy Football 2009.

But at number five is Chinese-language game 義氣仔女 (“Loyalty Earners,” according to Google Translate). As the translation suggests, it’s a mafia-style role-playing game. The developer is the well-known Hong Kong shop 6 Waves, a company that we’ve covered in some detail. It has launched more than 100 Facebook apps in all sorts of languages, and currently has some 21.5 million monthly active users across these apps. Loyalty Earners is a small but growing corner of 6 Wave’s empire, having doubled in size over the last month to reach around 768,000 users today, with 108,614 of that growth happening in the last week.

For example, another Chinese language app, 你…真的快樂嗎?, loosely translated by Google as “Are You Happy,” has grown from 40,000 to 425,000 in the past month, 98,000 of which came in the last week. The quiz-style app, at number 8 on today’s list, doesn’t look set to stop any time soon.

Number 11 is another interesting international one. Called Kuih Raya, it’s apparently another gifting app, but with a tasty twist. Named after the Malay term for cakes and cookies served on Eid — a holiday at the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan — the app appears to have nailed its particular target audience. It has grown from a few thousand monthly active users at the start of Ramadan, on August 25th, to 272,000 users today, up 81,000 in the last week. This growth suggests that many of its users are only using the app because of the holiday. It will be interesting to see how the developer will capitalize on the app’s growth after Eid happens on September 20th this year.

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