Facebook have announced that 500,000,000 people now have accounts on the social networking site.
It’s an eye-watering number of zeros and certainly will boost the notional value of the company – not that Mark Zuckerberg et al have any intention of selling.
Facebook have released ‘Facebook Stories’ to celebrate, which, largely for the purposes of PR, charts some of the major success stories over the past few years – couples who met on the site, crimes solved, community projects saved and politicians who got in against the odds.
But the company has yet to achieve global saturation – there are plenty of countries where other social networks dominate – QQ in China, Orkut in Brazil, and others:
We’ve said many times before that if Facebook were a country, it would be inside the top five – now it would be number three – a quarter of users come from the USA (125.9m), and 1/20 from GB (26.5m). Indonesia is also responsible for 1/20 of the global Facebook community, with 25.9m active users – and in Indonesia, Facebook is a more commonly used website even than Google.
Indeed, considering the growth of Facebook, Asian users have played an extremely important part in reaching the 500m mark, especially in the last 12 months (note that downward trends on this chart don’t represent falling membership, but less significant growth):
As Asia plays an increasingly important role in the global economy, so use of social networking has risen.
And what’s really interesting is how the new adopters in Asia, South (and Central) America, Africa and the Middle East are younger than the new adopters in the US and Europe.
Facebook use in English speaking nations, which adopted the platform first, and less significantly European nations (especially French, German and Italian speakers), now trends towards older users:
What all of this means is that it’s the younger people in those countries just getting to grips with Facebook who are leading the way, as was the case in Britain just 3 or 4 years ago.
These are the people with ‘Western’ lifestyles – disposable incomes, awareness of brands.
Large brands using social media for marketing to almost any age group will do well to pay attention to these demographics – where Generation Y leads, Generation X follows. It’s only a matter of time.