Facebook is nearing 700 million global users, its surging membership being enhanced with millions of recruits from developing countries, according to data released at the CeBIT technology conference yesterday. Each of Brazil, Indonesia, the Philippines, Mexico and Argentina contributed more than 1 million new Facebook users in May alone.
Facebook membership in Brazil grew by an astonishing 11.4 percent, with an additional 1.95 million members last month.
Australia’s nearest neighbour Indonesia is now the second largest global user of Facebook, with 37.8 million Facebook members. The US remains the social media giant’s biggest user with 149 million users, but it experienced a slight drop last month of 0.47 per cent.
The analysis, by marketing research site socialbakers.com, has Australia ranked 17th in the world with 10.3 million Facebook members.
Speaking at the CeBIT business technology conference yesterday, Facebook Australia chief Paul Borrud said Australians still spent more time on Facebook than any other country, averaging 7.5 hours per month, with 53 per cent of users being female. He said that in Australia, 68 per cent of Facebook users returned daily, and 86 per cent returned weekly. The 10 million active users were people who used the site at least once every 30 days, Mr Borrud said.
Despite its origins as a US college student network, Facebook’s major growth in Australia remained in the over 35 age bracket. “That has been consistent for the last year,” he said.
He said Facebook pages received 50 million “likes” every day. Mr Borrud said the web had evolved from a tool for browsing in the 90s, and searching in the 2000s, to a tool for “discovering content and discovering things through the lens of your friends”.
However Facebook would only consider offering a dedicated search engine if it was within the charter of the company, which was to offer a voice to its users. Mr Borrud said users of mobile technology engaged longer with Facebook than those using other platforms such as PC browsers.
“People who utilise mobile and access Facebook, be it on a mobile device, whether it’s an iPad or an iPhone, are twice as active on the website once they’re there,” he said.
Successful marketing, he said, should be designed around people and Facebook needed to be built into a marketing strategy. It was not an add-on. “Social is not the salt on the French fries here. It’s got to be baked into the product at the beginning,” Mr Borrud said.