Changes to Facebook measurement cast new light on fundraising apps


At the end of last month, Facebook announced a significant change in the way it measures and ranks applications – shifting from simply reporting the total number of installations to measuring what it describes as ‘user engagement’.

In its announcement on the Facebook developers blog, ‘engagement’ is defined as “the number of users who touch your application every day (measured from midnight to midnight each day)”. This is now displayed alongside each app in the application directory as the number of ‘Daily Active Users’, together with a percentage showing what proportion of that app’s total number of installations that represents.

This is undoubtedly a real step forward for anyone interested in the marketing and fundraising potential of Facebook apps – in particular because it enables the clear differentiation of apps which are installed and then forgotten from those with the sort of lasting appeal which results in regular use.

To illustrate this, I checked-out today’s engagement scores for the seven fundraising apps I reviewed last month – and the results make for interesting reading:

Causes: 255,396 daily active users = 6% of total installed base (c4.256m) 233 daily active users = 3% of total installed base (c7.7k)

Justgiving: 549 daily active users = 8% of total installed base (c6.8k)

Chipin:34 daily active users = 1% of total installed base (c3.4k)

NSPCC: 54 daily active users = 4% of total installed base (c1.3k)

UNICEF UK: 5 daily active users = 1% of total installed base (c500)

Sponsor me: 77 daily active users = 12% of total installed base (c600)

It’s clear from this list how the new metrics enable us to see just how active the users of each app are (albeit based on a daily snapshot), rather than simply judging the success of an app based on how many people have installed it.

Interestingly, today’s two most ‘actively used’ fundraising apps turn-out to be Justgiving and Sponsor me – both directly supporting Facebook users in the promotion of individual sponsored events and so inherently likely to drive more daily engagement as their users work to drum-up support from their Facebook friends.

As more organisations look to develop their own branded apps, hopefully this new form of measurement will encourage them to shy-away from the simple (and sadly forgettable) ‘badge app’ linked to a donation website and to think more creatively about just what functionality might make their app keep users coming back and engaging with it long-term.

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