Facebook for Every Phone users top 100M, mobile ad push underway
Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) revealed that its streamlined Facebook for Every Phone application has eclipsed the 100 million active user benchmark, corresponding to roughly one out of every eight of the social network's mobile users worldwide.
The Java-based Facebook for Every Phone, launched in early 2011, targets feature phone owners in developing nations, delivering a pared-down user experience optimized for reduced data consumption. The app supports more than 3,000 phone models, some priced as cheap as $20. The New York Times notes that most Facebook for Every Phone users pay little or nothing to access the service, with mobile operators and device makers subsidizing data costs.
Facebook has only recently started selling ads to Facebook for Every Phone users, so it generates no revenue from the app at this time. During the first quarter of 2013, only 24 percent of Facebook's $1.5 billion in revenue originated outside of the United States, Canada and Europe--at the same time, its mobile ad efforts contributed 30 percent of the company's overall global ad revenue.
Facebook will report its second-quarter financial results on Wednesday, and analysts anticipate that developed markets will remain its primary revenue driver for the foreseeable future. But analysts also note that Facebook is in position to win the long-term loyalty of millions of users in emerging markets by letting them access the Web on virtually any device: "In a lot of foreign markets, people think that the Internet is Facebook," said eMarketer Vice President Clark Fredricksen. Facebook hopes those users will become more appealing to advertisers as their incomes grow and their access to the Web expands.
Facebook developed the Every Phone service in partnership with mobile application platform provider Snaptu, which it acquired for a rumored $70 million in March 2011. Javier Olivan, who leads Facebook's growth team, said that the development of Every Phone--which is five to 10 times more efficient than the company's smartphone apps--has helped the company improve the rest of its software. "We're working on bringing a lot of the ideas into smartphone apps," Olivan said.
Facebook's total mobile monthly active users eclipsed desktop users earlier this year and reached 751 million in the first quarter of 2013, a year-over-year increase of 54 percent. Facebook's mobile-only MAUs also increased to 189 million, up from 157 million in the previous quarter.
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