Friday, December 11, 2009

Applications. For life not just for Christmas?

I've been doing a little research into travel applications on Facebook and have been amazed by their apparent failure.

Searching the Facebook application directory for travel applications brings up 200 applications (presumably there are more, I am just seeing the more 'popular' ones). Of those, only:

  • Just 5 have more than 5,000 monthly users.
  • Just 45 have more than 1,000 monthly users.

Apparently an active user is defined as "the number of unique daily active users who interact with your application in any way - whether it be by visiting a canvas page, interacting with a profile box, or clicking on a profile tab."

So what is going on? What do these applications do for the various brands that have one (Virgin Atlantic, American Airlines, STA ....). Presumably most get a bit of traction in the early days from the friends and family effect - but beyond that the numbers are so small as to make it an irrelevant marketing channel.

Will mobile applications go the same way? I only have to look at my own use of android OS apps. I must have downloaded over 20 in total, but only actually use 2 regularly (the twitter and Facebook apps) some of the others are good for novelty factor (e.g. google night sky) but but will I interact with them regularly - no.

Thoughts anybody? Do applications deliver positive ROI for brands?

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