Facebook’s Mobile Growth in the Fourth Quarter

With the release of Q4 2012 earnings, Facebook opted to release more data to color its mobile user base growth. Not only did the company released its latest mobile monthly active users, but for the first time Facebook also provided metrics for mobile only monthly active users (mobile MAUs), indicating a shift in the company’s focus toward mobile.1

Facebook’s monthly mobile active user base has been growing steadily since the company began providing metrics. Facebook saw 680 million mobile monthly active users in the quarter, an increase of 57% from the year-ago quarter. Although Facebook does not share quarterly mobile daily active users, the company indicated that mobile DAUs exceeded web-based DAUs for the first time in the company’s history.

Facebook also provided for the first time more detail on mobile only monthly active user metrics for the last five quarters. The company showed 157 million mobile only monthly active users in Q4, a 171% increase from the year-ago quarter. Facebook attributes the growth in mobile only users to the continued penetration of smartphones and the company’s ability to build better mobile products.

The mobile only user base has been ramping at between 22-24% for the past three quarters, growing steadily from 58 million users in Q4 2011. In total, the data indicates that 23% of Facebook’s monthly mobile users are accessing the site exclusively from mobile (i.e. those users are not accessing the site from the desktop). The growth in mobile only users is likely partially attributed to Facebook’s improved mobile product offerings, which are quickly reaching feature parity.

Facebook’s mobile user base growth, especially in terms of mobile only user and mobile daily active users, suggests that the company is slowly starting to pivot much of its focus toward mobile. While new products like Graph Search are focused on the desktop, the fact that the company continues to provide more color on mobile usage at earnings indicates that mobile will be the company’s main focus both for the company and for investors moving forward.

Sources

  1. Earnings Slides, Facebook Inc., 2013.