Facebook developers have stayed relatively quiet about the site’s new design compared to the site’s users – some of whom are revolting loudly and obnoxiously. But it seems developers are starting to see what they feared when Facebook first announced the design: Declining traffic to their apps.
On the Facebook Developer Forum, we’re seeing complaints, purportedly from Facebook developers, that traffic to their apps is down since mid-August — not too long after Facebook started to roll out the new design, and they’re posting the graphs that supposedly bolster their case. These developers are keeping their own names, and the names of their apps, private, so we can’t verify any of this so far. But here are four different traffic charts, supposedly representing four different apps:
Weekly unique users:
Daily uniques to a “canvas” (home) page.
Daily, weekly and montly unique visitors to the app’s canvas page.
Weekly unique users.
That seems believable to us. But what do we know? We’re just bloggers. So we asked a professional: Keith Rabois, who heads up biz dev at Slide, the reigning king of Facebook apps. Keith’s response: Yeah, that looks real to me.
These metrics are consistent with the volatility you would expect whenever a product has drastic UI changes, which is why most Internet companies avoid such revolutionary changes. At Slide, we are focused on building products that our users love by growing and engaging our user base for the long-term, which is why we are concentrating on monthly unique active users of each of our applications, instead of the potential distraction posed by daily fluctuations.
Note the poke (no pun intended) that Keith takes at the social network his company is most closely tied to. Slide has been warning about the consequences of the Facebook redesign for some time, and it doesn’t take a big stretch of the imagination to figure out that there’s quite a bit of tension between the two companies.
Of course, the two companies are going to have to figure out how to get along. Slide helps keeps Facebook users engaged and coming back to the site, and Facebook gives Slide valuable real estate. But app developers who don’t get lots of traffic, money, and other resources may have a much harder time making a go of it on Facebook going forward.
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