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Facebook Mobile Users Signal an Opportunity for Growth

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Facebook logoThe three top numbers in Facebook’s first quarter 2013 financial report give a strong indication of where online growth lies ahead.

But it’s no surprise because everyone has been predicting it and preparing for it for the last several years and beyond.

That growth for Facebook and everyone else online lies with mobile.

Note how the Facebook news release begins:

  • Daily active users (DAUs) were 665 million on average for March 2013, an increase of 26% year-over-year.
  • Monthly active users (MAUs) were 1.11 billion as of March 31, 2013, an increase of 23% year-over-year.
  • Mobile MAUs were 751 million as of March 31, 2013, an increase of 54% year-over-year.

The first two bullets are impressive enough because they show that Facebook is still the biggest social site with strong growth, despite anecdotal evidence that the site is getting a bit stale with the younger crowd.

One site I support had a 161 percent growth in Facebook mobile users in the last month versus the same month in the previous year.

It’s easy to assume that people who use Facebook actively each month — the MAUs — are accessing the site from both desktops and mobile.

But this doesn’t mean that online managers should drop everything else and focus intensively on mobile.

Proceed with Caution


ne reason why this number is slightly misleading that mobile definitions — including the one from Google — include the iPad, which is similar in size to many laptops including my own.

The iPad larger Samsung devices dominate the audience statistics for many sites, some of which show half of their mobile users are on iPad.

The site I note above had 23 percent of its traffic coming from mobile in the previous month with nearly half coming from tablets.

Tablet user behavior has much more in common with desktop users than with smartphone users.

That behavior includes a higher click rate on ads and higher pages per visit, bounce rate and average time per visit.

Impact on Mobile Site Development

y advice on mobile site development remains the same — keep developing but don’t overdo it.

Too many times, online operations have pushed large amounts of money and labor into projects like mobile site development only to find that the resulting audience and revenue impact didn’t pay for the effort.

The fact that smartphone traffic continues to climb at a fairly aggressive rate is reason enough to keep enhancing mobile products.

How much smartphone traffic will benefit from aggressive development — with the intent of improving pages per visit, ad click rates, etc. — is reason enough to be careful.

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