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Facebook Growth Examined – Part 1

Henry Elliss
Henry Elliss
Managing Director
21 December 2007

As you’ll have seen from my post last month on the dip in Facebook’s active users in the US, I’ve been keeping a close eye on the number of active users on everyone’s favourite social network over the past month. I intend to keep this going over the holiday season too in a bid to see how Christmas affects Facebook, but in the meantime I thought I’d throw the stats in to Excel and see what initial "take home" messages I could come up with…

The first thing I discovered is that the USA recovered from that drop and have gone on to gain another 2% increase in the past month (graph below). Considering the US is deeply entrenched in Thanks Giving / Christmas / Chanukah / Kwanzaa / Whatever-you-celebrate at this time of year, I would imagine that nobody would be too surprised by the drop in ACTIVE users. It will certainly be interesting to see if this really was the only reason though, or whether there was an element of truth to the theory that the backlash around Beacon lead to a (short-term) drop in users, as we postulated a while back.

Facebookgrowth1

As you can see from the graph above, I’ve had to fiddle around a bit with the Excel graph scales to make these changes more obvious – sticking the top 10 countries (the ones I have been monitoring) on the same graph made for very boring viewing. Instead I chose to display it with three graphs – #1 (USA), #2+#3 (Canada and UK) and #4-#10. Looking at the second graph, you can see that UK user numbers appear to be growing at a faster rate than Canada. When you consider the recent news that the London (UK) network was the biggest localised network in the world (just about to hit 2,000,000 members), this doesn’t seem too surprising. Has Facebook hit critical mass in Canada?

Facebookgrowth23

The final graph shows the remainder of the current top 10 (though obviously this could change – I’ll keep an eye on that!) who are all grouped around the 1-2 million users mark. The two most obvious things you can spot from this pretty picture is that Turkey recently overtook Australia in terms of active members, increasing at a pretty high rate; and France also overtook both Norway and Sweden to become the 6th most Facebook-using country in the world. Sacre Bleu!

Facebookgrowth410

Hopefully these graphs will reveal more interesting stats over the next few months – I’m particularly looking forward to seeing how the Christmas season affects Facebook usage (yes, I am a loser!). Will Santa encourage people to send Christmas cheer on the site, or will everyone be too busy getting frisky at the office Christmas party to care?! Only time will tell..! : )

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