This week the audience of socnet giant Facebook broke the 350m user barrier, setting new records for social networking both globally and here in the UK. The national numbers see Facebook’s audience rise to a staggering 23m uniques a month, but the jaw-dropping statistics are in the frequency of use. Half of all British Facebook users return daily, confirming the platform’s position as the most engaging social media player.
When we spoke with Stephen Haines who is the UK Commercial Director of Facebook UK, he explained that it’s simply about knowing what people want. “We’re all about the user at Facebook. That’s as true today as when the platform launched. Our focus is on understanding what people want and having a team of outstanding developers to make this possible.”
It’s easy to dismiss this as the rhetoric of a thousand other dotcoms, but their development path is in stark contrast to many global web brands where the race for greater monetisation was often at the expense of user experience. While others tumbled into larger adverts and greater marketing intrusion, Facebook’s commercialisation seems so polite and subtle you could be excused for thinking it isn’t working. Sniping at their business model proved the spectator sport for much of 2008, but by the end of this year even the most cynical media planners are buying into a new mantra of targeting and engagement. Wallets are following: 83 of the top 100 US advertisers are already on board and with an advertising platform built on self service it’s become as easy to start as a Google Adwords account.
The self-service ad model will be key for their future. With only around 900 staff worldwide – and the lion’s share in tech dev – this is very much a social platform rather than a media sales business. The paradox is that while the site has been in the consumer mainstream for almost 3 years, Facebook advertising is only heading to its tipping point now.
Facebook’s solus ad unit on the homepage, called the ‘reachblock’, generates clicks from 11 million unique visitors a day. This huge scale is comparable to the reach of most major TV ad breaks in the UK.
The Facebook sell to marketers is about brand building and engagement. As consumers increasingly tune out of interruptive advertising both offline and online, Facebook has created smart tactics for deep engagement.
But firms large and small are starting to report ROI close to search engine advertising for direct response campaigns. That’s a stepchange in the scope of what it can deliver and likely to unlock a greater stepchange in customer acquisition marketing next year.
“The thing most brands don’t realise is that a small amount of bought media fuels a massive wave of earned media”, explained Haines. “This is the new way that people connect and the brands that understand this get to ride through the social network that their fans have. That’s the uniqueness of Facebook. Get it right and the message explodes through the social graph.” With the 35+ audience showing the fastest growth, Facebook is exceptionally placed to provide consumer marketers with the cut-through tools they are looking for. As marketers review their 2010 media strategies and look to pull out the media wastage and dial up the engagement, Facebook is coming to them with audience levels that rival the TV break in Coronation Street, an engagement never before seen in media, and a toolkit that will unlock new levels of ROI in the hands of smart media planners. What we’re seeing is market shaping behaviour, and the opening up of a new type of marketing.
· More than 350 million active users
· 50% of our active users log on to Facebook in any given day
· More than 35 million users update their status each day
· More than 55 million status updates posted each day
· More than 2.5 billion photos uploaded to the site each month
· More than 3.5 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) shared each week
· More than 3.5 million events created each month
· More than 1.6 million active Pages on Facebook
· More than 700,000 local businesses have active Pages on Facebook
· Pages have created more than 5.3 billion fans
Average User Figures
· Average user has 130 friends on the site
· Average user sends 8 friend requests per month
· Average user spends more than 55 minutes per day on Facebook
· Average user clicks the Like button on 9 pieces of content each month
· Average user writes 25 comments on Facebook content each month
· Average user becomes a fan of 2 Pages each month
· Average user is invited to 3 events per month
· Average user is a member of 12 groups
· More than 70 translations available on the site
· About 70% of Facebook users are outside the United States
· Over 300,000 users helped translate the site through the translations application
· More than one million developers and entrepreneurs from more than 180 countries
· Every month, more than 70% of Facebook users engage with Platform applications
· More than 350,000 active applications currently on Facebook Platform
· More than 250 applications have more than one million monthly active users
· More than 15,000 websites, devices and applications have implemented Facebook Connect since its general availability in December 2008
· There are more than 65 million active users currently accessing Facebook through their mobile devices.
· People that use Facebook on their mobile devices are almost 50% more active on Facebook than non-mobile users.
· There are more than 180 mobile operators in 60 countries working to deploy and promote Facebook mobile products
For more information, click here: http://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?statistics#