Facebook’s global growth in Q4: 1.06B MAU, mobile surpasses web

Facebook today shared new stats on user growth for Q4 in its earnings call earlier today. The social network reported that it has reached 1.056 billion users during the fourth quarter of 2012. It also reported that its mobile DAUs have exceeded web DAUs for the first time.

The graph below shows Facebook’s growth in monthly active users across the globe since its last earnings call in October of last year. The 1.056 billion users amounted to a 24.97 percent increase from Q4 in 2011. The social network continues to see its largest increase in Asia as it gains traction in Japan and other countries.

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Instagram announces 90M monthly active users, other usage milestones

instagramInstagram today announced that the photo sharing service has 90 million monthly active users and sees 40 million photos uploaded per day.

Instagram had reported 80 million registered users five months ago, and in November, a job listing mentioned that the service had more than 100 million registered users, but the company had never reported monthly active users figures. This latest announcement refutes speculation that Instagram might have lost users after a proposed policy change.

Last month the New York Post reported that Instagram had lost about a quarter of its daily active users, citing data that was not representative of the service’s entire user base and blaming the terms of service controversy. Instagram did not reveal its true DAU count, and Facebook has cut off public access to the data used by the Post.

Instagram did share that its platform experiences 8,500 Likes per second and 1,000 comments per second. That’s up from 575 Likes and 81 comments per second announced in April 2012 when the service had 30 million registered users and 5 million photos per day.

Instagram’s new privacy policy and terms of service go into effect on Saturday. The company faced criticism for its initial proposed policy, so it decided to reinstate its original section on advertising and made a few other tweaks to clarify that it does not plan to sell user photos. In general, the new policy better reflects Instagram’s status as a Facebook affiliate and allows data to be shared between the two entities.

See also: How Instagram Has Grown Since Facebook Announced its Intent to Buy the Company

Facebook roundup: Nielsen report, site governance, Blackberry app and more

Nielsen reports stats on Facebook’s dominance in U.S. – Facebook continues its reign as the most-visited social network in the U.S., according to Nielsen. The service has an estimated 152.2 million visitors via PC, 78.4 million mobile app users and 74.3 million mobile web visitors in the U.S. This is multiple times the size of the next largest social sites across each platform. Facebook is also the top U.S. web brand when it comes to time spent on site. About 17 percent of all time spent online via personal computer in the U.S. is on Facebook.

Facebook puts new policy to a final vote – Facebook this week put its proposed Data Use Policy and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities to a user vote, likely for the final time. Part of the social network’s proposed changes include the elimination of the voting mechanism. Unless 30 percent of users participate in the vote and vote against the changes, Facebook will remove the voting option from its governance policy completely. Voting ends on Monday at noon PST.

New Facebook app available for Blackberry - Facebook for BlackBerry smartphones version 3.3 was released this week with BBM integration, faster photo browsing and an option to unfriend people, as well as an overall refreshed look and feel. BlackBerry users can now initiate BBM chats from the Facebook app, add BBM friends to Facebook, share their BlackBerry pin more easily and see which Facebook friends are also on BBM.

Facebook tries customer service via chat - Facebook is testing a way for businesses to receive customer service over Facebook Chat rather than with a phone call. The program has been in testing for a few months, but was first covered by TechCrunch this week. The system is powered by Salesforce, which Facebook uses internally. Some customers will be pleased by the convenience of chat, while others might find it impersonal and frustrating. Overall, it will reduce call center costs for Facebook.

Judge approves Sponsored Stories settlement – A federal judge has approved a $20-million settlement for a class-action suit over Facebook’s Sponsored Stories advertisements. The company will provide a cash payment of up to $10 to Facebook users who objected to the use of their name and photo in Facebook ads. Facebook will also give users more control over these ads, including a way to opt out of being included in them.

Facebook shares stats about businesses using pages and promoted posts

Facebook today announced that more than 300,000 pages have promoted 2.5 million posts since Promoted Posts launched for businesses in June. More than one-quarter of those businesses have been new advertisers on Facebook.

The stats, shared Facebook’s Director of Global SMB Markets Dan Levy at BIA/Kelsey’s Interactive Local Media West Conference, show the growth of product meant to make Facebook ad buying more simple for small and medium-sized businesses. Essentially, the promote button asks page owners if they want to pay as little as $5 to sponsor a post they’ve already made and reach more fans and their friends. Page owners do not have to go through the self-serve ad dashboard, which can be overwhelming to a new advertiser.

Levy called out other statistics that show Facebook’s growth among small businesses. There has been a 40 percent increase in active local pages since January, and the number of local business pages using Facebook advertising has nearly doubled. There are now more than 13 million local business pages on Facebook, with 8 million that are active monthly.

According to new stats today, a total of 150 million people visit Facebook pages every day, and nearly half of visits in the U.S. are coming from mobile. This is likely to increase as people use mobile devices more frequently and more businesses begin buying Facebook mobile inventory to drive users to their pages.

Facebook also announced that 3 million page owners are using its mobile page manager app, which launched six months ago. In September, page owners gained the ability to buy Promoted Posts through the mobile app.

Facebook mobile platform gains ground with 200K apps now connected

Facebook today announced that nearly 200,000 iPhone and Android apps connect with Facebook and 45 percent of the top grossing iOS apps integrate the social network’s SDK, shining light on how the company’s mobile strength goes beyond its own apps.

At our Inside Social Apps conference in New York this week, there was a lot of discussion about which platforms to build on. For many developers, it’s still a common question about whether to build for Facebook or for mobile. Although Facebook does offer a vertical platform where apps can be used within the Facebook.com canvas, what’s often not discussed is how Facebook can be integrated horizontally across any other platform.

“We hear a lot, ‘Should I build a Facebook app or an iOS app, an Android app?’” Facebook’s Director of Platform Partnerships David Fisch said Monday during a fireside chat with Inside Network Managing Editor AJ Glasser. “Facebook is complementary to all of these. Since we’ve started, we’ve talked about how it’s a social layer. It started with web and now moved to mobile. Because there are so many different devices and you want to connect people across them, by definition, Facebook has to be part of all of them.”

An iOS app can be a Facebook app. A mobile website can be a Facebook app. A console game can be a Facebook app. Your car, your shoes, your credit card or your toothbrush can be Facebook apps.

The misperception that Facebook apps are limited to those on Facebook.com contributes to skepticism about the company’s longterm potential, especially on mobile. The market hears that users and developers are turning to “mobile games” over “Facebook games” and starts to count Facebook out. The reality is that nine of the 10 top grossing iOS apps connect with Facebook. The majority of the top Open Graph applications — those using Facebook’s latest sharing features — are open web and mobile integrations. In fact, six of the top 10 apps with the most monthly active users connecting with Facebook aren’t canvas apps. They range from websites to mobile apps to desktop software.

Facebook has been talking about being a “social layer” since 2008, and yet it’s still largely regarded as a single channel for developers. What does Facebook have to do to prove its horizontal platform is worth talking about for every mobile app, website or web-connected device?

Facebook to add design team to NYC office

Facebook today announced its plans to establish a design team in its New York City office, which currently has about 150 employees mostly focused on sales, advertising and engineering.

Designers, of which Facebook currently has about 90, have traditionally worked from Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. Now in order to collaborate with the sales team and key clients on advertising products, a team of designers will begin working in New York. Having designers work more closely with stakeholders could lead to improvements for social marketers and advertisers. Today’s announcement shows Facebook’s increasing commitment to its ads business.

“We want to create advertising tools that help businesses use our platform effectively, while ensuring that advertising is complimentary to the Facebook experience for users,” a spokesperson said.

The expansion also creates more opportunities for Facebook to attract top talent that would prefer to be based in New York.

Facebook opened its New York office in 2009 primarily for sales and advertising teams who were connecting with top brands and agencies in the city.  At the end of 2011, the company expanded the office to include engineers. That team is now involved with Facebook’s daily code pushes.

Facebook’s global growth in Q3: 1.01B MAU, 604M people connect through mobile

Facebook today shared new stats on its user growth across the globe, including that it reached 1.01 billion monthly active users on Sept. 14. This is a 26 percent increase year-over-year. The social network also reports that 604 million people now access Facebook through mobile devices monthly.

The graph below shows how Facebook has grown across different geographies since its last earnings call in July. The social network has grown steadily across the board, even showing a 22 million user increase in Asia, especially as it continues to gain traction in Japan. For Japan, this is a reported 216 percent increase in the last year.

For daily active users, Facebook has grown steadily as well, going up 32 million users worldwide since the last earnings call. This is a 28 percent increase year-over-year. DAU increase has been driven by the increase in mobile users. In fact, personal computer usage has only grown modestly quarter-over-quarter.

The most impressive numbers come from Facebook’s mobile efforts as monthly active users on mobile has grown to 604 million, an increase of 61 percent year-over-year. In response to questions about the potential for Facebook’s mobile properties to be a strong source of revenue, the company shared that 14 percent of its ad revenue was generated from mobile.

In a press release, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, “I’m also really happy that over 600 million people now share and connect on Facebook every month using mobile devices. People who use our mobile products are more engaged, and we believe we can increase engagement even further as we continue to introduce new products and improve our platform. At the same time, we are deeply integrating monetization into our product teams in order to build a stronger, more valuable company.”

Facebook’s Talktime program in India pays new mobile users in calling credit

Facebook has launched a program in India called Talktime, which gives 50 Rupees (almost $1) in calling credits to users who sign up for Facebook on their mobile devices. Users also get an additional 50 Rupees for every user they refer who signs up to Facebook with a mobile device.

An Inside Facebook reader first tipped us to a story about Talktime posted on Machine Happy. A Facebook spokesperson has since confirmed the program to TechCrunch with the following statment:

“We partner with a number of telecoms companies around the world, many of whom offer incentives for their customers to use Facebook, such as zero rating mobile Internet access to the service. This test is another such initiative.”

Facebook’s Talktime initiative in India is in line with the social network’s strategy in territories where most users are likely to access Facebook through their phones. The company says it had 59 million MAU in India in June, an increase of 84 percent compared to the same period in 2011.

Facebook Head of Mobile Partnerships Emily White said in June that 30 percent of users in India are now registering for the site through mobile phones. It’s likely these users are among those who never visit Facebook on desktop. Most are using the Facebook for Every Phone App, a native mobile app compatible with more than 3,600 different Java-enabled feature phones. An analysis using the Facebook ad tool suggests that about 35 percent of India’s active users are feature phone users and about 17 percent are smartphone or tablet users.

Facebook reaches billion user milestone

Facebook today announced that it has 1 billion monthly active users on the site and its mobile products.

“If you’re reading this: thank you for giving me and my little team the honor of serving you,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a statement about the milestone. “Helping a billion people connect is amazing, humbling and by far the thing I am most proud of in my life.”

Facebook says it reached 1 billion MAU on Sept. 14 at 12:45 p.m. Pacific time, but the company only shared the news today. Facebook says the top five countries where people connected from at the milestone were Brazil, India, Indonesia, Mexico and the U.S., in alphabetical order. The social network also has 600 million mobile users.

The company shared some additional statistics about what having a billion users means for the social network:

  • Over 1.13 trillion likes since launch in February 2009
  • 140.3 billion friend connections
  • 219 billion photos uploaded (as of Sept. 10, not including deleted photos)
  • 17 billion location-tagged posts, including check-ins
  • 62.6 million songs have been played 22 billion times
  • The median age of the user is about 22

Facebook, which launched in February 2004, reached 25 million users in January 2006, 100 million in August 2008, and 500 million in July 2010.

Facebook overtakes Japanese social network Mixi in Japan

Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said in an interview with Japan’s business daily The Nikkei that Facebook has reached 15 million active users in Japan, surpassing Japanese social network Mixi.

“Japan is a really important market for us,” Sandberg said. “We have over 15 million users…  Only six months ago, we were at 10 million users.” This marks a huge growth over the past year, increasing 200 percent from the reported 5 million users in September 2011. Sandberg also said that the company intends to increase its focus on Japan, and Facebook has also been listing Japan-specific roles for their Tokyo offices.

Mixi announced 14.53 million MAUs in June 2012, a drop from a reported 15.2 million users in February. Facebook has had difficulty penetrating the Japanese market and this marks the first time the company has surpassed Mixi’s MAU.

In January 2011 The New York Times reported that the number of Japanese Facebook users was under 2 million, or less than 2 percent of the country’s online population. According to the article, at the time Japanese users showed little interest in Facebook, citing that it was not optimized for the Japanese language and a reluctance to use real names and other information.

Clearly, Facebook strategy in the Japan resulted in great gains over the last year, and Mixi’s numbers may continue to fall as Facebook builds a larger audience in the country.

Image credit: www.serkantoto.com

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