Emily White, Facebook’s Director of Mobile Partnerships, has revealed that 30% of its Indian users access the service only through mobile phones and that the company is observing 30% of new registrations from the country were through mobile phones, reports PC World. This announcement was made by Emily White during her presentation at SocialLoco conference held in San Francisco, USA.
This follows Facebook’s updated S-1 filing in April 2012, wherein the company had posted its first ever quarter results since filing an IPO in February 2012. Facebook had then stated that it has 51 million MAUs (Monthly Active Users) in India as of March 31, 2012, a 10.87% increase from 46 million MAUs in December 31, 2011 and a 107% increase from March 2011. This would imply that more than 15 million Indian Facebook users access the service through their mobile phones.
Facebook had also added that around 488 million MAUs used Facebook mobile products as of March 2012, of which around 83 million mobile MAUs accessed Facebook solely through mobile apps or their mobile website, although the company hadn’t disclosed a country wise breakdown of its mobile-only MAUs.
With growing mobile users arises the problem of monetization for Facebook. Up until recently, Facebook wasn’t generating any revenues from its mobile products since the company had refrained from displaying ads on either its mobile apps (iOS, Android, feature phones) nor its mobile website to keep the experience, free of clutter and intrusion and drive the initial mobile usage. In fact, Facebook had listed ‘Growth in use of Facebook through mobile products’ as one of its risk factors while filing an IPO, stating that it may negatively affect its revenue and financial results.
However, in the recent months, the social networking giant has made a fairly big push on mobile monetization initiatives, beginning with the expansion of sponsored stories to the news feed in its mobile products, launching a new premium ad service and opening its own app store called ‘App Center’ which will feature all kinds of social apps built for Facebook.com, iOS, Android and web integrating Facebook’s login mechanism. Facebook had added that this App center will also feature paid apps in the future and had launched a beta program under which it allowed developers to offer paid apps in its App Center.
Earlier this month, Facebook had also launched operator billing in India by partnering with Airtel, Loop and Uninor, in a bid to help game developers building for the mobile web to make use of a simplified two step carrier billing process in the Facebook payments system. A recent Bloomberg report had also suggested that the social networking giant is working on a location based mobile advertising product which will allow advertisers to target users based on their current location and real-time data.