The Facebook apps economy is believed to have delivered 182,744 new jobs and US$12.1bn in wages and benefits to the US economy, a new academic study indicates.
That’s according to a study by the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, which points to the phenomenal growth of the Facebook market for apps.
Launched in May 2007, Facebook Platform enabled anyone to build social apps on Facebook and the web. The announcement of Facebook Platform included “65 developer partners and over 85 applications for Facebook.”
At the time, the site boasted more than 20m active users. Now, more than 2.5m websites have integrated with Facebook, and people on Facebook install 20m apps every day. These apps range from games like FarmVille to music apps like Spotify to charity-oriented apps, like Causes.
The creation of Facebook Platform has also spawned an entirely new industry: developer consultants and agencies who build social apps for others.
For instance, Facebook offers a list of Preferred Developer Consultants – experienced developers who build apps on behalf of other businesses and understand the social and technical capabilities of Platform.
Businesses looking for assistance in building Facebook apps can choose from the publicly available list of 90 Preferred Developers with 170 offices worldwide. Each of these consultants employs not only developers, but also designers, sales people and other functions to service the business and its clients. All of these firms add jobs to the economy and create economic value.
According to the study, gaming is one of the most successful verticals on Facebook Platform, and Zynga is a leading gaming company. Zynga was founded in 2007 and quickly established itself as one of the most prominent social gaming developers.
After developing successful games like FarmVille, Zynga now has more than 2,000 employees and an estimated valuation of US$15bn-US$20bn. Similarly, Playfish, another Facebook Platform game developer that was founded in 2007, was acquired by Electronic Arts for US$300m in 2009. Playdom was founded in 2008 and acquired by Disney for US$763.2m just two years later.