Nick O'Neill

My ramblings on entrepreneurship and online publishing.
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Major Change: Facebook Just Obscured App Reporting

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Remember the good ‘ole days when you used to be able to track the daily, weekly, and monthly active users of Facebook applications? Yeah, those were the days (a.k.a., last week). In fact, those days existed up until yesterday when all of a sudden Facebook changed their reporting mechanisms. Now, Facebook is providing ranks of apps in a way similar to the iTunes store.

Rather than displaying daily, weekly, and monthly active users, Facebook is now providing a ranking model. For example, here’s what Facebook reports for Pinterest:

Daily Active Users: > 1 million
Weekly Active Users: > 5 million
Monthly Active Users: > 10 million
Daily Active Users Rank: 18
Monthly Active Users Rank: 15

Earlier this week, here’s what Facebook’s system reported for the same company (Pinterest):

Daily Active Users: 4.3 million
Weekly Active Users: 11.9 million
Monthly Active Users: 20.8 Million

In other words, the data has become completely obscured and now we’re forced to derive a company’s traffic from various other sources. The data is now comparable to iTunes rankings on a leaderboard. While I’m still waiting to see if Facebook provides an official response on the issue, my guess is that it may have something to do with the recent coverage of Instagram’s downfall.

If you were keeping track, Instagram recently chose to remove their images from being embedded in the Twitter stream. The result was a decrease is usage, however days later the data from Facebook suddenly showed an increased number as they attempted to do damage control.

While there’s no doubt value in tracking one application versus another with Facebook’s new data, the exact numbers have all but disappeared. It’s not completely surprising given that the company had been known to occasionally obscure their reporting in an effort to protect insights on company performance, but now they’ve done this obfuscation across the board.

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