Facebook By The Numbers – What Its IPO Means [Data]

The Facts Behind Facebook’s IPO – 5 Charts

No matter how you look at it, Facebook is the Internet’s  900 pound gorilla. While on an individual level, many of us don’t count the minutes we spend on there since they’re interspersed with other online or mobile activities, collectively across the global Facebook ecosystem they add up.

Thus it’s no surprise Facebook could be worth between $75 and $100 billion based on the numbers released in their IPO filing.  A deeper look into Facebook’s data and financials reveals insights into their future prospects of interest to users, marketers and investors.

Facebook: The global perspective

According to Facebook’s SEC filing, they have 845 million monthly active users globally, of whom 483 million are daily active users or roughly 60%. Facebook participants create a mind boggling 2.7 billion likes and comments and upload 250 million photos per day. That’s a lot of content and communications! (Here’s an interesting look at why we friend.)

425 million monthly active users connect to Facebook via a mobile app or via mobile-optimized versions of its website, such as m.facebook.com on either a phone or tablet. Of interest is the fact that Facebook currently doesn’t monetize these impressions since these mobile options have no advertising. Greg Sterling of Search Engine Land roughly estimated the value of this mobile advertising to be about $2.5 billion.

From a global perspective, Facebook continues to grow and overtake local social networks. Given Facebook’s 2011 track record in the Netherlands, Vietnam and Brazil, it’s poised to take the lead over local social networks in Japan, South Korea, Russia and Poland according to comScore. What’s missing from this list? China where Facebook use is restricted.

Facebook: A view from the U.S.

Roughly one fifth of Facebook’s usage is in the U.S. according to their IPO filing. In the U.S., Facebook accounts for one out of every eleven online visits and one out of every five pageviews. Further, each visit lasts about twenty minutes according to Hitwise. In terms of gender, Facebook skews slightly more female (57%) versus male (43%). This makes sense given that most of the content exchanged tends to align with more female interests.

Contrary to what many believe, Facebook’s users by are relatively evenly aligned with the U.S. online population. This shows the relative maturity of Facebook’s penetration.  

The high (96%) percentage of returning visitors versus the percentage of new (4%) visitors shows the loyalty of Facebook users. It’s also a sign of Facebook’s maturity as a social media network.  

All roads lead to Facebook including search. Facebook is the most searched term in the U.S. Facebook related searches account for one out of every seven searches in the U.S. based on Experian Hitwise data.

What does Facebook’s IPO mean to marketers?

From a branding perspective, slightly more than 1% of fans of the biggest brands on Facebook actually engage with the brands, according to a study from the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute and reported in AdAge. From a marketing perspective, Facebook is a lot like using mass media to get broad reach but actual engagement takes longer. Researchers found Facebook fans tended to skew towards higher buyers. As a marketer, it’s critical to understand what your audience wants from you on social media platforms. (Here’s more research and insights as to what a Facebook like is worth from a marketing perspective.)

Is Facebook an online advertising magnet? The answer, as with any accounting question, is: it depends. Since U.S. advertisers accounted for over half of the advertising revenues, Facebook has the ability to more fully monetize its non-U.S. user base. Additionally, given its mammoth database of information, it could deliver enhanced advertising opportunities and/or sell the information in a way that removes specific personal details.

Show me the money!

Facebook earned $3.7 billion in 2011, an 88% increase over 2010’s revenues. 85% of Facebook’s revenues came from advertising and 12% came from Zynga, a gaming company best known for its games Farmville and Mafia Wars. Before you count future sales, note that Facebook’s filing states their current agreement with Zynga ends in 2015, a mere three years away.

For Henry Blodget of Business Insider, one of the issues with Facebook’s valuation is that its revenue growth quarter over quarter is decreasing. Further, Facebook’s revenue growth relative to other tech firms like Google is lower. Business Insider’s graphs  illustrate Facebook’s revenue challenge. 

Since as marketers you need to be where your prospects and customers are, this means Facebook. It’s IPO will bring marketers more sophisticated and targeted advertising and marketing solutions with related higher price tags to feed the company’s increased need for revenue growth. Along with the increased Facebook expense, you’ll need related marketing support, content and budget.

What’s your perspective on Facebook’s IPO and why do you feel the way you do?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Here are some related articles you may find of interest.

Photo credit: http://webprintmedia.com.au/free-facebook-icon-pack


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4 Responses to Facebook By The Numbers – What Its IPO Means [Data]

  1. Craig Grella says:

    This is really interesting Heidi. For all the people covering the Facebook IPO, no one has mentioned this angle yet, and I think it’s really important for two reasons. It will obviously change the way advertising is done – from a cost standpoint, but it also means that nonprofits will have to change they way they work as well. It now behooves them, more than ever, to work with people who really know how to navigate facebook and bring viewers and supporters to their causes. Like the real estate market – you can’t just throw a for sale sign up anymore and hope to get the buyers. You need to know the market, place the right ads and work the campaigns. I think it will be so with Facebook too.

  2. This article is a great line out of how social media can be used for
    development and In my opinion is a precursor to the next trend
    of crowdsourcing. While the concept of using crowd support to create
    new relationship through social media such as facebook, Big companies are
    going to be increasingly turning to customers for complete social
    ideas. We are in the era of instant feedback where companies that use
    social media for their development will find themselves ahead of the

  3. I think the biggest risk factor in the growth of Facebook is the fact that so many users really hate Facebook and have left or are planning to leave. And if they stay, they are spending less and less time every day. I think the redesign was a PR disaster. Forcing people into “Timeline” is a disaster. And, in general, people are bored with Facebook and ready for the next thing to come along which was always Facebook’s biggest risk. I just can’t see this as a long-term buy. 

  4. From a marketer’s perspective, Facebook represents the ultimate customer segregation tool. Users self-classify their interests in everything from musical taste to hobbies, and places they’ve visited.