The Globalization Of Facebook

Erick Schonfeld generated a lot of discussion in the blogs yesterday with a post talking about facebook fatigue and the flattening of the facebook growth curve in the US.

But the charts in Erick’s post tell me that Facebook is a global business now and what’s happening in the US is not anywhere near the whole story. Here are some stats I culled from comscore.


Check that out. The percentage of monthly uvs coming from the US dropped from 76% at the start of the year to 35% at the end of the year. The percentage from the three big english speaking countries (US, UK, and Canada) dropped from 96% at the start to 64% at year end. Europe is now 23% of Facebook and Asia is now 14%.

Here is where Facebook’s growth is coming from right now.


#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. Don Jones

    90% of the “Fans” of my venture capital database page on Facebook are from outside the U.S.

  2. aripap

    Just in case you thought it was going to get easier for Facebook to monetize their ad inventory, now, in addition to bad page placement, bad user experience, and lack of context, their audience is increasingly non-US. This is terrible news for short-term advertising monetization.

  3. Savvy EquatorLounge

    all the employees in my company are facebook users, and they love it so much that our MD has started thinking of creating facebook applications for marketing incentives to SMEsand it works!!

  4. Eric

    I wanted to know what you make of all this? Obviously Facebook is now a global business, but what does this mean for the service? Do you believe in the whole “facebook fatigue” issue? I think that the fact that Facebook has opened up applications to be embedded within other sites presents a new form of growth that we have not yet seen or calculated in usage metrics. What happens when a utility app is created in facebook that is used more outside the URL than inside? This still means success for both Facebook, the app developer, and the end user who is getting syndicated usage of whatever the utility is.That is simply my little brainstorm…perhaps I will elaborate in a blog post.

    1. fredwilson

      Good question. I hadn’t realized the extent of its global reach and I haven’t yet formed a fully fleshed opinion of that portendsWhen I do, I’ll blog it. In the meantime let me know if you blog your thoughts as they will inform mineFred

  5. Alex

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. FB needs a very quick makeover. I recently read a story where they are now FINALLY looking to bring in an experienced person to care for Zuck. We’ll just have to see how a 50 year old guy takes orders from a 23 year old kid. The first couple of months will be a honeymoon phase were both the new guy and Zuck will be sniffing each other out. Then will come the disruptive battles that will lead to a board decision of who stays and who goes.Of course between now and then they still will not have figured out a monetization model.As they say in the hood “stick a fork in them” they are done!I’m not a big fan of these social networks because I’m over 30 years of age and don’t see ANY value they add to my daily live. I have a cell number and a blackberry where I get emails and have access to IM via GTalk. Am I supposed to “poke” my business partner when I have a question that requires attention? But, if I was to pick one as an investor I believe Hi5 would be my choice. The ONLY monetization model that makes sense for FB are ADS targeted to people under the age of 21 who have NO money. So, ADS such as Red Bull, Pepsi, Coke, Doritos, Pizza Hut would be a good fits. Not to say there’s anything wrong with those great brands. Good luck!

    1. fredwilson

      I am not nearly as negative as you are Alex. Facebook provides real utilityto millions of people every day.I agree that Mark should bring in a trusted sidekick to help him run thebusiness like Gates did with Shirley, Ellison did several times, etcI think Mark and a COO (or even a CEO) could co-exist very well if the rightperson was chosen by Mark. Eric Schmidt has worked well with Larry andSergey. The financial and intellectual opportunity is so large at Facebookthat there are many great people who would love that job.Fred

  6. Ashish Singal

    Alex — the usefulness of a social network like Facebook is clearly in the number of your friends / acquaintances that are also on it. Overwhelmingly, Facebook is used by people under the age of 24 in the United States (at least according to Quantcast), much more so than even MySpace, which is even less “business” focused. I’ve briefly lived in London and in Hong Kong, and I’m amazed by the number of my international friends that are on Facebook. It helps immensely with keeping in touch.

  7. scottfromshanghai

    My own experieince backs up the Asian growth story. Around a year ago all my expat friends started using Facebook and more recenlty many of my chinese friends and colleagues have joined (although you still need to be able to speak English). I was in Mumbai a couple of weeks ago and almost everyone I met told me the same story that they were initially with Orkut but in recent months have transitioned to Facebook.

  8. Ashish Singal

    I think one Facebook user is more valuable than one user on any other major site. Here’s why …First, you have pure technology web sites, such as Google (at least in its core search competency). Second, you’ve got web sites such as Craigslist or Ebay or YouTube. Here, all the content is user generated, but it is fleeting — in that a visitor uses the web site for one immediate end and that’s it (whether posting an ad, selling a product, or viewing / commenting on a video). However, on social networks, visitors are building their own presence which is much longer lasting. Therefore, I think that social networks with a strong user base has erected the strongest barriers to entry.Also, in terms of marketing, I think they would be well served simply going for traditional targeted CPC ads rather than Beacon. Yes, they’ll bring in less CPC than Google, but they can be extremely well targeted. Facebook knows everything about me — my age, my location, where I went to college, my current job — they can certainly wring quite a bit out of this.

  9. Timothy Post

    Fred:One point regarding Facebook’s global growth prospects is that foreign “copycat” competitors may be better positioned to grab market share.For example, in Russia there’s a new social network called (translation: “classmates”). Odnoklassniki is a huge phenomenon right now. Growth is off the charts.It will be VERY difficult for Facebook to take market share from Odnoklassniki.