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Facebook refines MAU/DAU calculations

By Dan Pearson

Tue 18 Oct 2011 8:17am GMT / 4:17am EDT / 1:17am PDT

Change in registration method sees over 50% wiped from some games' figures

Facebook has altered the methods it uses to calculate the figures for both monthly and daily active users for apps by discounting users who land on an app without logging in, more than halving the reported figures for some major games.

The changes don't mark any difference in actual traffic to the apps, but do reflect active users more accurately. Some games have been hit hard by the changes, however. Zynga's Adventure World's MAU plummeted by 58 per cent from 39.4 million to 16.4 million.

Nonetheless, Zynga still holds four of the top five games by MAU, as rated by, with Cityville in first, followed by EA's Sims Social, then Zynga's Texas Hold 'em Poker, Farmville and Empires and Allies.


Cityville MAU: Courtesy of AppData.

Before the changes, Cityville was reporting DAU of 13.5 million. Since, that has dropped to 12 million. MAU has dropped from around 76 million to just over 55 million. The Sims Social dropped from around 65 million MAU to about 42 million and from 9.5 million to just over 8.5 million DAU.

The shift is particularly poorly timed for Zynga, which is readying an IPO for the NASDAQ stock exchange. A sudden drop in audience figures is unlikely to impress potential investors.

It's not the first time that the company has refined its reporting methods. In August, 2010 users who merely 'liked' an App were discounted from figures, reducing them significantly.

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Neil Young Programmer, Rebellion Developments

356 486 1.4
seems pretty weird this was included in the first place - it'd be like EA claiming a "sale" of FIFA every time someone looked at the box in a shop?

Posted:5 years ago

This should have been done for apps from the start and has long been a dirty little secret for social games developers. Simply clicking on an advert for a game = 1DAU and 1MAU irrespective of app installation which is why some of the newer and most heavily advertised games like Adventure World are seeing 50%+ falls. Hard-core social games developers have also suffered disproportionately along with games with those huge lists of permissions required for installation.
However, given that the change has no impact on revenues for these companies, it also accentuates how effective many of these companies (in particular the hard-core devs) are at monetising their actual active user bases.

Posted:5 years ago


Alex Peel Producer, Jagex Games Studio

1 0 0.0
Heh, at least studios the world over will suddenly be smashing their ARPU targets... ;)

Posted:5 years ago


John Ozimek Director, Chomp Ltd

6 0 0.0
Excellent point Nick - it will be interesting to see if this re-shapes the top 25 games and publishers - I'd like to think that this will give a boost to some of the smaller guys who rely a lot less on advertising to grow the player base.

Definitely not the timing Zynga would have wanted though ;-)

Posted:5 years ago


Thiago Attianesi Creative Director, Fan Studios

59 2 0.0
So better... I hope this helps creators make better games. Zynga Zynga be careful.

Posted:5 years ago


Paul Hampson Senior Software Engineer BigWorld, Wargaming.Net

3 0 0.0
That's a hilariously misleading graphic. It's now my new sample image for "distorting information graphically".

Posted:5 years ago


Wesley Paisley Chief Technical Officer, Third and Five Games, Inc.

5 0 0.0
@Paul: I also agree with you Paul, that is a misleading graphic. It makes it seems like a total fail when in fact it is only a medium loss -- the numbers are still high.

Posted:5 years ago


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