Elance Blog

Facebook Hits 200m Users… So, Where’s Your App?

Two hundred million users.

Let me try to quickly put that into perspective: The Facebook population is now 24 times larger than the population of New York City, equivalent in size to 1,904 completely-sold out shows at the gigantic Wembley Stadium, and would be the fifth largest country in the world if it were its own country. Or as I like to think of it, 199,999,700 more people that are out there awaiting to befriend me.

The numbers are impressive to say the least. What's even more incredible is that the site took less than five years to reach this landmark, and its current growth rate is even more outlandish – 100 million new users in only 8 months.

Now, if you're a Facebook cynic and you think that the app “gold rush” has come and gone, just rewind and review those numbers again – the gettin’ is still good, my friends. If you’re a business, a simple yet clever Facebook application can bring new customers, engage old ones, and spread word about your company in a viral fashion, or if you’ve randomly just thought of an innovative new app, it may end up being a more lucrative endeavor than you expected.

If you're interested? We've got a quick primer on how to create one of your own. Here are some great examples of powerful Facebook Apps. For those of you that already have a blossoming business or website...

Zazzle:  The online store that specializes in selling user-customized shirts, mugs, posters, cards, and more launched an impressive Facebook app that has built an even more impressive following. The Zazzle Facebook App allows users to display their customized store directly on their profile page. Case study: I get to show off my super cool T-shirt designs directly to my friends, my friends become a little bit more fashion forward and can reflect on my awesome art skills, and Zazzle gets a viral marketing campaign. Bonus: Zazzle throws me a bit of cash for anything that sells. If done properly, a Facebook App can get a huge number of new eyes on your products with minimal effort and upkeep. Who doesn't want that?

Flixster: This is a perfect example of using a Facebook App as a social networking vehicle for your website. The Flixter Facebook App allows you to share your movie reviews and discover new flicks with your group of friends. It also features a “Never-Ending Movie Quiz”, so you can compare your scores with other so-called movie buffs in your Facebook network. A long running debate between friends of mine: Which is the worst Batman ever? Sorry, Clooney – your dashing looks can't save Batman & Robin.

Whopper Sacrifice:  Who's hungry? Burger King's crafty and clever marketing campaign for the Whopper had Facebookers dropping friends like bad habits. Drop 10 of your friends on Facebook, and the King himself would reward you with a Whopper at any Burger King location. Sure, the app didn't necessarliy create a direct revenue stream for Burger King, but with 233,906 total friendship sacrifices, I'm sure the burger dealer had a lot of fresh (and hungry) faces waltzing into stores. How do I know? Because I was sacrificed... 12 times. Sigh.

And for those of you that have a brilliant idea yet need a little bit of context to execute...

Mob Wars: The mobster role-playing game has long been rumored to be the most profitable app on Facebook, and with some speculating that the app is pulling in over $20,000 a day, it most likely is. The concept seems simple enough: Start a mob, recruit your friends, and... partake in mob-like activities on the Internet. The game is currently tied has a CPA (Cost Per Action) model in place with Super Rewards and Offerpal Media as its main source of revenue. For those keeping track: $20,000 a day = over $7 million a year.

Food Fight!: Seriously, who doesn’t remember a good, hearty food fight in high school? Although its virtual counterpart isn’t nearly as much fun, it makes far more money than any food fight I’ve ever participated in. The concept is simple: Throw food at your friends. Throw more food. Run out of food? Simply answer several survey questions (cha-ching), and get more food. The game never ends, so there is a steady stream of revenue, as long as people continue to throw food at each other.

We're just scratching the surface here in the world of Facebook Apps. If you're ready to tap into a community of 200 million social networkers, there are over 1,000 Facebook experts currently on Elance waiting to assist you. They'll be able to help you execute your idea, whether it's a simple website integration or a clever, new casual game.

Got any personal favorite Facebook Apps? Share them in the comments below. And don't forget to join our Facebook group and follow us on Twitter!


So will it beat myspace.Facebook is now ruling social networking

I have used Elance on two important programming projects and have had excellent results. I was intrigued reading the Elance blog about Twitter and Facebook. But I'm still wondering how these two tools can be used in a non-public B2B environment. Dale

Thanks for this analytical post Alex. Facebook is teeming with thousands of applications so much so that you are at a loss when it comes to choosing an apps. My recent favorites are death calculator, EQ finder and mafia wars. In fact, we have been making so many innovative apps every now and then for clients and every time we come up with an apps idea, it is crazy, funny and sometimes, even ridiculous. But that is the fun part of making widgets for FB! You can go crazy and still make a business out of it! Venkatesh,