Nearly one billion Facebook users worldwide will access the social network on a mobile phone at least once each month in 2015, according to a new forecast from eMarketer, who for the first time breaks down mobile phone Facebook users by country.
One billion mobile Facebook users are setting the pace
eMarketer estimates further that over 70% of all Facebook users globally will be mobile this year, and by 2018, more than three-quarters of the social network’s audience will access the platform via mobile phones on a regular basis, totaling 1.34 billion users.
Indeed, it is no secret that mobile has been the key driver of growth in Facebook’s advertising business in the past 12 months. In 2013, 45.0% of Facebook’s $6.99 billion in advertising revenues worldwide came via mobile ads. This year, mobile ads will account for 73.0%—or $10.90 billion—of the social network’s ad revenues worldwide, eMarketer believes.
“Facebook has been a leader helping marketers to transition to mobile advertising,” said Debra Aho Williamson, principal analyst at eMarketer. “Because the Facebook experience is basically the same across devices, advertisers don’t have to reinvent the wheel to place mobile advertising. As Facebook’s user base shifts even more heavily toward mobile, it is well positioned to see increasing ad revenues from this channel.”
Overall, there will be 1.58 billion mobile phone social network users worldwide in 2015, according to eMarketer. Even considering the ban in China and strong local social networks in other large-population countries like Russia, mobile Facebook users will still represent more than 60% of the worldwide mobile social audience.
The US will remain the largest market for mobile phone Facebook users this year, and nearly 80% of users in the country, or 123.1 million people, will access the site regularly via mobile phones. Mobile ads will account for 74.0% of the company’s ad revenues stateside, eMarketer forecasts, slightly higher than its share on a worldwide basis.
Indonesia outpaces all and stands on top
In its latest release, eMarketer revealed that Indonesia is home to the third-largest Facebook mobile phone audience, after the US and India.
According to eMarketer, 92.4% of Facebook’s audience in Indonesia accesses the social networking service through mobile phones at least once per month, putting the country on top of any other country, followed by 79.1% of Facebook users in the US and 82.9% in India.
In fact, virtually all mobile phone social network users in Indonesia are mobile phone Facebook users. In all, just under a quarter of the country’s population and 42.0% of mobile phone users will use their devices to access Facebook at least monthly. Hence, Indonesia has the highest penetration among the top 10 countries in terms of mobile phone Facebook users and it is expected that by 2018, that penetration will rise to 98.8%. Further it is believed that the number will approach 100 million and will still be growing at double-digit rates. A majority of mobile phone users in Indonesia will use mobile social networks by 2017, and Facebook mobile phone users will pass the 50% mark in 2018.
India—the world’s second-largest Facebook audience—will surpass 100 million mobile phone Facebook users for the first time this year, and by 2017, will have more mobile Facebook users than the US. The UK and Russia are the only other countries in the top 10 where mobile phone Facebook users will account for more than 90% of all Facebook users during our forecast period
Facebook’s monetization strategy—the shift to in-feed advertising and the migration to mobile—quite obviously puts the leading social network at the center of the native advertising ecosystem. This means the vast majority of Facebook’s nearly $7.9 billion in advertising revenues in the first nine months of 2014 came from native formats (in-feed on desktop, in-stream on mobile).
To date, little of Facebook’s native ad inventory has consisted of video assets, but that’s about to change. The company has signaled a major push toward video advertising beginning this year, and early signs are starting to appear in users’ feeds. eMarketer believes that Facebook’s native ads are poised to become a huge revenue driver for the social network—and for native video advertising in general.