Understanding the Anatomy of a Successful Facebook Game

My strong general advice to beginning Facebook game designers is to learn from the games on Facebook that have reached a provable success point. However, many developers associate total MAUs with success, when there are actually a number of other factors that go into a successful and profitable Facebook game.

To find these game design winners, I recommend using AppData.com, a website service founded by my sometime boss Justin Smith (see sidebar interview), which extracts Facebook game MAU and DAU (daily active user) activity into handy charts (see Figure 3-4). When reviewing the data, look for three factors, covered in the next three sections.

Figure 3-4: Successful Facebook game growth: MAU and DAU/MAU (Copyright 2012 Inside Network Inc., a division of WebMediaBrands. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission from AppData.com.)

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Growth or Strong Activity after Three Months

Thanks to cross-promotion and heavy advertising, new Facebook games, especially those from top developers, usually get a big growth spike at launch. But often, that’s not because people are really enjoying the game. The real test is how the game performs after the first three months, when cross-promotion and marketing generally has run its course. Then, you need to look at another metric.

Strong DAU/MAU Rates after Three Months

“DAU/MAU” refers to ...

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