Facebook kicked off its mobile presence in January 2007 with the launch of Facebook Mobile, allowing people to visit a dedicated Facebook mobile website (m.facebook.com) similar to the normal Facebook experience. Facebook quickly expanded on this, and has developed native Facebook apps for iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone, and Palm as well as a dedicated Facebook Messenger app, Pages Admin app for iPhone, and Facebook Camera app for iPhone. Collectively these products have fueled growth in use (and we might argue addiction!) of Facebook by people on the go — for many, from the moment they wake up to the moment before they fall asleep.
Facebook Mobile, By the Numbers
In May 2010 Facebook shared that 100 million people were actively using the social network on their mobile devices. By December that doubled to 200 million. More recently 425 million monthly active users leveraged Facebook mobile products in February, 488 million in March, and 500 million in April — over half of the social network’s 901 million active users!
People aren’t just visiting Facebook on mobile; they’re spending a substantial amount of time there.
comScore data from March reveals that the average American smartphone subscriber over the age of 18 spends 441 minutes a month on Facebook from mobile devices. That’s nearly 15 minutes every day — and it far exceeds the collective time spent on Foursquare, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and LinkedIn. In fact, comScore reports that the average time spent accessing Facebook via smartphones in March exceeded the average time spent accessing Facebook from desktops (391 minutes).
Facebook has long been the most popular social networking app in both Apple and Android app stores. By unique visits, comScore reports that Facebook reaches 80% of iOS app users in the United States and 69% of Android app users. Facebook is the 3rd most frequented app on the iPhone, next to iTunes and Google Maps. It is the 5th most frequented app on Android, following the Android Market, Google Search, Google Maps and Gmail apps.
We expect Facebook usage to grow even more on iOS, with Apple announcing iOS 6 will have deep Facebook integration. The ability to post updates from essentially anywhere on the iPhone (maps, notification center, texts, photos, Siri, etc.), the ability to “Like” iOS apps, and calendar and contact syncing are some of our favorite Facebook iOS 6 integrations.
The Facebook Mobile Advertising Opportunity
Earlier this year we crunched numbers to illustrate the Facebook Advertising opportunity, comparing the fraction of total time Americans spend in media channels (print, television, radio, internet and Facebook) to the fraction of ad spend in the United States flowing to these same channels.
KPCB’s Mary Meeker similarly outlined how the fraction of ad spend flowing to mobile lags far behind the time users spend there in her annual internet trends report. As shown in her graph to the right, 10% of Americans’ time spent in media is on mobile, while only 1% of total ad spend in the United States flows to mobile.
With these numbers in mind, the opportunity to reach Facebook users on their mobile devices is nearly impossible for marketers to ignore. It’s an opportunity we’ve been following closely (and with great interest from customers!). In March Facebook began including Sponsored Stories (a type of Facebook Ad) in users’ mobile News Feeds, but advertisers did not have control over targeting their Sponsored Stories to mobile. Just last week, however, Facebook announced through its Ads API the ability to target Sponsored Stories exclusively to mobile News Feeds.
UPDATE: Nanigans moved quickly to develop and launch a Facebook Mobile Advertising feature. Read more about the feature here, and contact us to learn how Facebook mobile advertising can benefit your business.
Are you as excited about the Facebook mobile opportunity as we are?