If Facebook was a country it would be world’s fourth largest

There is an article in the FT today that asks whether Facebook is a “web phenomenon on the cusp of greatness or just a social craze?”, and as we’ve discussed here before the last thing any of us needs is for it to turn out to be a fad.

I think it is just about fair to say that the debate is still open, but what is definitively the case is that Facebook’s momentum is on the increase.

First take a look at these charts (courtesy of the FT)

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The graph on the left shows the traffic momentum is strong, and the pie chart on the right shows that Facebook is pretty much an all age site now (or at least all age up to retirment).

Secondly, these highlights from recently released engagement stats on FB (courtesy of Inside Facebook) tell a story of a community that is on the rise in terms of depth and richness as well as size:

  • 30 million users update their statuses at least once each day (13 million did per month at the beginning of the year)
  • 8 million users become fans of Pages each day (up from 2.5 million per day at the beginning of the year)
  • 10 million videos are uploaded each month (up from 4 million)
  • 900 million photos are uploaded to the site each month (up from 700 million)
  • 1 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photos, etc.) are shared each week (up from 15 million per month)
  • 35 million active groups exist on the site (up from 19 million)
  • 2.5 million notes created each month
  • 30 million users access Facebook each month through a mobile device

Given all this, and that with a population of 240 million Facebook would be the fourth largest country in the world I’d say that Facebook should be able to lay the ‘social fad’ accusations to rest pretty soon.  Then if they could just start making money they could answer the business sustainability question….

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  • With games companies like Zynga and Playfish make revenues estimated between $50 million and $100 million purely on social networks like MySpace and Facebook, it seems inevitable that Facebook will find a way to monetise these. Creating a currency and charging 2.5-10% commission would still be cheap given the marketing clout that being on Facebook offers.

    For a long time, Facebook needed the ecosystem to grow to offer a platform full of sticky applications that users wanted. That has now happened. The next thing will be to find a way to charge for that success, and if that means finding a way to charge successful companies for the access to Facebook's users, that would seem like an attractive option.

    I guess Playfish and Zynga might disagree.

  • I'm sure they would disagree, but at the same time I would expect their plans to have enough slack to cope with that scenario.

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