Facebook Growth By Country and the Slowdown in App Usage

With the Facebook Developers conference slated for later this week, I thought it would be a good time to give a brief update of a previous post on Facebook demographics. What follows are recently published number of users by country and region, along with growth rates for select regions and countries. Over the last four weeks, the fastest growing regions were South America, Central America and the Carribean:

While Facebook grew double-digits in Asia it did so from a relatively small base (approx. 3.7 million users), in a region with hundreds of millions of potential users. Of the countries in South and Central America, Chile is worth highlighting (up 67.5% from four weeks ago). As several Radar readers predicted, Facebook has grown steadily in Chile where it now has over 2.2 million users (around 14% of the population). In other parts of the Americas, Hi5 and Orkut remain the largest social networks:

Looking closely at the top 30 countries, a few European countries have grown more than ten percent over the last four weeks (France, Spain, Germany, Italy), with France having the most number of users (approx. 2.5 million). Skyrock remains the largest social network in France. Norway saw a decline but is still home to more than a million Facebook users. We will continue to track how Facebook is doing vis-à-vis other leading regional social web sites and whether their disputes with other companies affect their growth rates.

As far as recent trends in the Facebook app platform (the subject of this week’s f8 conference), we have detailed reports (here and here) on the subject. At the last Graphing Social Patterns conference, Roger Magoulas provided highlights of our most recent findings. The number of published apps continues to grow steadily (to over 32K) but total usage remains flat. Besides the fact that the top 10% of apps account for 98% of total usage, aspiring Facebook app developers should know that only about 6% of apps average at least 500 active users per day: pathint

(For specific tips on how to launch and build successful Facebook apps, consult this O’Reilly Radar Report.) Finally, as I noted in a previous post, the most popular applications on the Myspace platform continue to account for slightly less users than their Facebook counterparts.

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  • The massive number of apps on Facebook will limit its growth rather than encourage it. When Facebook launched it was popular for what it did well, connecting people to their friends (or contacts) in a way that made it quick and easy to keep up with what was going on in their lives. The vast majority of applications don’t help with that they hinder it by burying the friend contact information under a huge pile of rubbish.

    Facebook’s original popularity was driven by its simplicity, as has often been the case with new systems or devices. Then, as is also often the case, people get caught in the trap of adding functionality until the original simplicity is lost and so is the popularity.

  • harish

    this post provides an interesting point as to why app usage on facebook is going down.

  • Well…. I also see also the problem at the moment in Germany… Facebooks tries to get studivz get judged… reason of Copying interface & Co… and studivz got with this “Copyed one” much more succes as facebook in the specific countries ….

    lets see…

  • Carl Petter

    It would be interesting to see the ratio of facebook users vs. population in different countries, please consider graphing that

  • Lorne S

    Very interesting and refreshing to see hard numbers and informed discussion and comments. I was at startup in 3 hours tutorial at OSCON yesterday, and they mentioned a number of fast ways to get a site up: Amazon EC2, Google app engine, Facebook apps and others. My workshop group chose Google app engine and Ruby on Rails.

  • Facebook has done a lot to limit the viral channels that promoted the spread of applications before. Some applications took advantage before (forced invites, spamming invites, spamming notifications) and were able to get a significant number of users. In addition, the sheer number of applications means that each user likely receives a ton of invites, and is likely to accept a smaller percentage than in the early days of Facebook applications.

    I’d say that many of the most popular applications on Facebook today would have struggled to get a fraction of the users that they have if they had launched in 2008 instead of in early-mid 2007. The landscape has changed significantly, even for high quality applications.

  • Dave

    Understandable. most of the apps on FB are pretty much useless. They’re just noise, and there’s very little signal.

  • You should post Facebook users by percentage of total country population, and FB users by % of local Internet-connected population. For Canada, 10 million users is 30% of population. The limit to its growth may be that it runs out of more Internet-connected Canadians to use it.

  • ok

  • red

  • the best

  • teir good

  • thank you

  • i think if facebook would buy/take over studivz there are a lot more german users on facebook than actually… ;)

  • I have to contradict Phils point. From my point of view Facebook is growing much faster than StudiVz is…actually StudiVZ has reached a point where their growth isn’t going up anymore…but facebook has still a lot of potential.

    Now facebook and studivz are having an argument on whether Studivz just downloaded facebooks content or not…judges will decide, but as far as I know facebook will soon taking studivz place…
    (and StudiVZ is really only copying what facebook is doing..every single step :-) )

  • I agree with Henry. I think facebook will grow a lot in the next few months, but a problem is, that they can’t get the money in that they are spending.
    So, I don’t know how they will ever get profitable…

  • In my opinion, the only thing that made facebook so much more attractive than StudiVZ is the fact they are somehow open for new developers. Every day, there is a new tool that get spread on the network, so people are more active than on StudiVZ

  • Facebook is the only platform that is used internationally. There are, like in Germany and Holland for instance, competitive local platforms that overperform facebook, but globally facebook is the one and only in my opinion and with ever growing total users of the internet facebook will grow as well.

  • The international Facebook marketer is growing more and more. Maybe it will get more influence than Google?

  • Obviously Facebook is finding it hard to penetrate Asia specifically the non English speaking countries like China, Japan and South Korea. These countries do have their own social media site that is in their own language. From that I think, Facebook will have a problem if somebody else penetrate that area.

  • Facebook is indeed the only platform used all over the world. I am born in germany, grown up in switzerland and now stay in thailand but Facebook was and is everywhere a part of daily life nowadays. Although there are important local platforms (especially in asian conutries) they cannot really compete!