We have wondered aloud about how Facebook will make money, especially from the majority of its users who are outside the US and who access it over mobile platforms. Apparently it made USD 150 million last quarter, the first in which broke out the numbers. The earnings report was the first time the company had broken out from its overall advertising revenue how much money it collects from mobile ads. The information helped to address a critical question that investors have had about how Facebook will respond to the world’s shift to mobile computing; 60 percent of all Facebook users log in from their phones. Although it is not a direct comparison, Google is poised to make far more money from mobile devices.
Something to think about. Earlier this month, Facebook announced that it had 1 billion active users. Of that, 81 percent were said to be outside the US and Canada. The top-five countries in ranked order at this time are US; Brazil, India, Indonesia, Mexico. Last year, there were lots of reports about Facebook building a server farm in Northern Sweden.
We’re playing around with some ideas about connectedness. We want to use big data to see what real (as opposed to administratively mandated) communities are. Using Facebook’s analytics page, did some surface analysis of SAARC and ASEAN. It is very clear that India is the center of SAARC, being the country that most Bhutanese have friends in (value of 5 given) and the country with the second-largest number of friends for Bangladeshis, Maldivians, Nepalese, Pakistanis and Sri Lankans (value of 4). I guess the only surprise there is Pakistan.
CPRsouth seeks to encourage evidence-based interventions by members. It was a happy coincidence that an op-ed by a paper-giver at CPRsouth7 appeared in print while she was at the conference in Mauritius. She had written it up based on the paper delivered there: The diagram shows the percentage increase from 2009 to 2010 in the number of Facebook users among the top five countries on Facebook and the largest increase was recorded in Indonesia (793 percent). Using web analytics, it was found that Facebook was a popular upstream site that online users visited prior to their visit to official government websites. Over 70 percent of Facebook users in Indonesia access the social media site through their mobile phones (Facebook, 2011).
In an attention-grabbing talk where among other things he wrote off Facebook, the Forrester CEO placed the mobile at the center of it all. Mobile engagement, built on architectural change brought about by the app internet will replace the broader Web as the focus of innovation and change, he said. For CIOs it means, “You are going to put your company in the pocket of customers so that when they need you, they are in contact and you are there for them…anytime, anywhere.” Here is his forecast on Facebook: He then described Facebook as “half way there,” before adding: “I think Facebook is toast…the company is in major trouble around mobile engagement and the app Internet.” Why else would CEO Mark Zuckerberg buy Instagram or be talking about launching a mobile phone, he asked.
Most people access the Internet using mobiles. Many use Facebook from mobiles. Our research in Java showed that people at the BOP were beginning to call Internet Facebook. Yet, Facebook does not know how to monetize mobile products? “We do not currently directly generate any meaningful revenue from the use of Facebook mobile products, and our ability to do so successfully is unproven,” the company said in its review of the risks it faces.
Helani Galpaya’s work and LIRNEasia’s research has been drawn upon for a newspaper column. The novel element we had never thought of is using Facebook as a data source: One other metric is available to anyone, just go to facebook.com/ads and create an ad. It will tell you how many people your ad can reach. For people of all ages, that number is 1,126,020.
You meet new people. You add them in facebook. You chat with them, tag them in pictures, comment on their status updates and share information. Some of us even have our twitter account in our business card. So people may follow you and you may follow anyone whom you think is interesting and/or is informative.
We think a lot about network effects: the positive externalities caused by greater connectivity. A telephone network with 100 subscribers offers 99 calling opportunities whereas one with 10 subscribers offers only 9. That is why regulators had to fight so hard to ensure seamless interconnection that would give the subscribers on each network 109 calling opportunities and compel the operators to compete on some other aspect of service. Here below is a discussion of network effects in Face Book, that is among other things, causing us to place advertisements on it. For an individual member, the most powerful network effects may be indirect ones that come from the huge number of unknown other people in the Facebook world.
Does Facebook make you less social? Not necessarily. Not if you’re American, according to a NYT report. Hundreds of daily updates come from friends on Facebook and Twitter, but do people actually feel closer to each other? It turns out the size of the average American’s social circle is smaller today than 20 years ago, as measured by the number of self-reported confidants in a person’s life.
The New York Times has a good piece on the use of Facebook by the elderly and isolated. LIRNEasia qualitative and quantitative research shows that plain old voice telephony and SMS keep people at the BOP connected and keeps them going on. But Ms. Rice, 73, is far from lonely. Housebound after suffering a heart attack two years ago, she began visiting the social networking sites Eons.
For some time we have been talking about the scarcity and cost of international bandwidth. Looks like it is going to cost people in our part of the world access to sites such as Facebook and YouTube (full article). It appears that distance does matter. And everyone is not actually as close to everyone else as we were told. Of course, distance can be overcome, with money, not the user’s money but the money of the advertiser who believes that particular audiences are worth paying for.
Facebook appears to have yielded data to test some theories on how many people we can communicate with, really. The full story, worth reading, at the Economist. Dr Marlow found that the average number of “friends” in a Facebook network is 120, consistent with Dr Dunbar’s hypothesis, and that women tend to have somewhat more than men. But the range is large, and some people have networks numbering more than 500, so the hypothesis cannot yet be regarded as proven. What also struck Dr Marlow, however, was that the number of people on an individual’s friend list with whom he (or she) frequently interacts is remarkably small and stable.
The Internet may not be such a dangerous place for children after all. A task force created by 49 state attorneys general to look into the problem of sexual solicitation of children online has concluded that there really is not a significant problem. The findings ran counter to popular perceptions of online dangers as reinforced by depictions in the news media like NBC’s “To Catch a Predator” series. One attorney general was quick to criticize the group’s report. This was a bunch of Attorneys General, people who face the electorate every few years (or are appointed by the Governors, in a few cases).
Mobile social networking is still a small part of the way people use their cell phones, but industry officials expect that use will grow, and not just for teenagers who want to text their friends or send short video clips. Analysts and network providers said that workers will adopt mobile social networking, following the way social network sites, such as Facebook, have begun to grow within workgroups that rely on desktop computers. These experts also expect that there will be affinity groups, such as doctors, engineers, lawyers or even baseball fans, who are linked with wireless devices. Mobile social networking makes sense because mobile devices are personal and they are taken everywhere, offering the potential for transmission of quick ideas or images. Mobile social networks will (and some already do) put video, GPS, text, voice and collaboration into the palm of a user’s hand.