Study: Facebook Users’ App Downloads Influenced By Friends


Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) users follow their friends’ downloading trends more than the best seller suggestions for downloading apps, according to a new study. A mathematical model designed by the researchers tracked the influence that users had while selecting the apps to be downloaded.

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Study: Facebook Users' App Downloads Influenced By Friends

Facebook users copy friends

After gathering numbers from the Facebook apps, the researchers reached the conclusion that users select the apps on the basis of their friends’ download while little heed is paid to the suggestions given in the best seller list.

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The research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that the human being have a very strong copycat tendency, and they can be carried away by other’s action in a very short span of time.

The model created by the researchers took into account the study published in 2010 that examined the 100 million installations of apps adopted by Facebook users during two months. Back in 2010, during the study, all Facebook users could see the list of most popular apps on their pages and were informed about the friend’s recent app installation.

Computer models reflect Offline survey results

In 2010, the researchers arrived at the conclusion that there were some users, who were not influenced by the download behavior of others, but there were also such users, upon whom the effect was substantial. It was noted that if an app gains some ground initially, its popularity rises to extreme.

The researchers used their model and computer simulations to go beyond the experiential data and analyze if the Facebook’s user behavior could be said as the outcome of influence by the notifications of apps recently installed on their friends’ Facebook or from the apps list. There were over thousands of tests run by the researchers to identify the dominance of either of the two. Researchers spend around 15,000 hours on the computer to conclude the results that were in line with the characteristics of app installation that were observed in the earlier study.

After running the test for multiple hours, researchers found out that both the factors had an influence over the user, but Friends download behavior influenced more.

“Here, we found that the ‘copycat’ tendency plays a very important role in online behaviour. This might be because users need to make quick decisions in information-rich environments, but other research has identified similar imitative behaviour in the off-line world,” said Associate Professor Felix Reed-Tsochas, of Oxford University.

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Aman is MBA (Finance) with an experience on both Marketing and Finance side. He has worked as a Risk Analyst for AIR Worldwide, and is currently leading VeRa FinServ, a Financial Research firm. Favorite pastimes include watching science fiction movies, reviewing tech gadgets, playing PC games and cricket. - Email him at
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