A Look at Facebook
This week, Facebook announced that it is changing the timing of application measurement from daily to monthly. This means that instead of daily activity reports, Facebook developers can now look at how their widgets perform over course of a month.
The change makes perfect sense. Widgets have many different elements with which users interact, such as timers, events, triggers, and pass alongs. By tracking daily interaction, you simply cannot have a good understanding of how all of these are performing. In order to get a complete picture, you need to track on a long term scale, such as monthly or even quarterly.
The lesson of elongating measurement cycles has been learned by the industry before. For instance, retail stores extended their tracking of fast moving inventory sales to predict next year’s fashion trends. By opening their eyes to buyer patterns over an extended period of time, they were able to predict the items that would be in high demand the next season.
For developers, Facebook’s change will no doubt prove to be useful by allowing them to incorporate findings on user interaction patterns when they are modifying and designing future widgets. For advertisers, this change is also important to note as the industry has been grappling with a way to tap into the ever growing user base of social networks. Since display ads within networks have produced low conversion rates, leveraging widgets is turning out to be a better bet. If newly developed widgets can guarantee long term user engagement, that’s good news for the advertising community.
As for what may be in store for the future, let’s hope the next metric system update from Facebook gives developers greater leeway in targeting which of the widget elements to track. Built into the tracking system could be trends, behavioral patterns and user profiles that traditionally lend themselves better longer to measurement horizons.