Distimo’s “Most Popular Social Networking Apps” Study Or How NOT To Display Data

Distimo, a private company based in Utrecht, The Netherlands, provides app store monitoring tools for developers, as well as app store market reports for device manufacturers and carriers.  They also publish a monthly report on the app store market. You can access the latest report here.

In that report, also discussed in a Techcrunch article, I came across the graph below that shows the most popular social networking apps between July 2010-June 2011.

This is a GREAT example how graphics like this floating all over the internet can be greatly misleading. Here are the reasons:

  1. The data is for DOWNLOADS, NOT USERS. Something like “popularity” is so vague, it can mean anything from downloads, to total users, to new users, to users who gave it a score of higher than 4 out of a possible 5, etc.  Also, an app like Facebook, which has been around for a while, is expected to have diminishing numbers of downloads over time. To compare it with NEWER apps is meaningless. Just because I downloaded something last year does not mean I am not still using it! And just because I downloaded something does not mean I am using it at all, PERIOD!
  2. The data is for iPhone apps ONLY, ignoring the many other types of mobile devices out there. Plus, a lot of people still use non-mobile devices (including yours truly) to access their Facebook accounts.  A Facebook announcement earlier this year claimed 845 million monthly active users including 425 million users who access the service on mobile devices. Of course, this does not mean that 425 million people use their mobile devices ONLY, and the remaining 420 million people use their desktops and laptops. The 425 million most likely use both mobile AND non-mobile devices.  To use iPhone downloads as representative of overall popularity is ludicrous!
  3. Last, but no the least, country selection. Wherever a country is marked in black on the world map means THERE IS NO DATA for that country. Really? Hailing from Turkey, the SEVENTH largest country in terms of Facebook users, according to Socialbakers numbers for the last six months, I find that very hard to believe.

Sitting in my office in Istanbul, which, by the way, according to Socialbakers, is the THIRD largest city in the world in terms of Facebook users, I am shaking my head at Distimo, and its extremely careless interpretation and presentation of data.

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One response to “Distimo’s “Most Popular Social Networking Apps” Study Or How NOT To Display Data

  1. Geri bildirim: Getting From Data To Wisdom On the Internet | AllianceOptima Blog

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