December 3, 2009

Will Facebook own it in 2010?

Picture 1It took Facebook five years to amass 300m users, which is pretty impressive, however, the social network has now outdone itself, piling on an incredible 50m more members since mid-September, an astonishing rate of growth in just two-and-a-half-months.

It’s not hard to see why given that Facebook is lacking a serious competitor at the moment. MySpace seems to be fading away and even Twitter (even Farmville is bigger than Twitter with 69m active users!) is experiencing flat growth.

As the recession continues unabated, people continue to tighten the purse strings and look for a cheaper night in and Facebook appears to be doing well out of this trend.

Aside from the headline grabbing 350m users landmark, Facebook revealed some interesting insights overlooked by the press coverage. Here’s a snippet:

1. The average Facebook user spends 25mins on the site a day.

2. 10,000 Facebook members become a fan of a brand everyday.

3. Out of the top 15 pages globally, 3 are branded pages.

4. Facebook is beginning to rival Apple’s App Store in terms of size, with the social network now boasting 90,000 apps in use.

5. Facebook has 23m members in the UK.

In Mark Zuckerberg’ open letter to Facebook users revealing it had hit 350m users, he also outlined plans to introduce tighter privacy controls, which include abolishing regional networks.

I spent some time listening to a presentation from another social network this week. In the pitch, the presenter made a comparison with Facebook, pointing out that his social network wasn’t blemished by users uploading incriminating snaps from the office Xmas party.

In short, he was arguing that advertisers don’t want to be associated with content like this. However, in less than a week, this argument has been rendered redundant.

Users will now be able to wall off individual pieces of content, which should encourage them to share more of their profile with everyone, not just friends. A more open Facebook is a big opportunity for brands looking to connect and engage with users and their friends.

At the moment, everyone is looking for the next big thing in 2010. Foursquare and Google Wave both have bright futures, but 2010 could turn out to be the year that Facebook matures into a must have advertising platform for any self-respecting media plan.