You often see speculation that Facebook is under threat from mobile social networking apps, but it’s about time we started talking about Facebook as a mobile social network itself.
In its latest financial results yesterday, the company revealed that by the end of 2013 it had 1.23bn monthly active users, including 945m mobile monthly active users. That means 76.8% of its users are accessing Facebook from a mobile device at least some of the time.
What’s more, 53% of the company’s $2.34bn of ad revenues in its last quarter came from mobile advertising, up from 23% a year before. And there are nearly 300m people who ONLY access Facebook from mobile devices – double the total a year ago.
“If 2012 was the year we turned our core product into a mobile product, then 2013 was the year when we turned our business into a mobile business,” said CEO Mark Zuckerberg in the company’s analyst call. “I expect 2014 will be the year when we begin to deliver new and engaging types of mobile experiences.”
That’s an ambition worth thinking about: threats to Facebook include messaging apps like WhatsApp on one side, and impermanent photo and video-sharing app Snapchat on the other. On the first count, Zuckerberg pulled out Facebook Messenger during his remarks, saying its number of users grew by more than 70% in Q4.
And on the other side? “A lot of the new growth we see is coming from giving people the tools to share with different sized groups of people,” he said, going on to talk about different ways Facebook sees people sharing and communicating: “text, photos, videos, links, locations, events, games, any type of content…”
So, about that upcoming series of new mobile apps: “One of the things that we want to try to do over the next few years is build a handful of great new experiences that are separate from what you think of as Facebook today that are just kind of helping to explore that space and give people new ways to share.”
The rumours that Facebook could make its equivalent to the Twitter #Music app start here…
Meanwhile, the company’s CFO David Ebersman dead-batted a question about teen engagement with Facebook. “In terms of teens, we don’t have any new data to report today.”