There are very few apps that is as popular and used daily as the Facebook app. For many people it’s the next app to check after a weather app in the morning to see what’s up with the friends, family, countless number of brands they follow and, of course, news.
Today, there are roughly 2 billion smartphones in use in the world and out of that stunning number 85% of smartphone owners use Facebook app. Among all Facebook users 47% access it via mobile (in US this number reaches 68%). In fact about 6% of ALL digital time is spent on Facebook and this figure grows steadily. Such grandiose scale of adoption and usage have lead to degrees of separation between Facebook users equal to 4, meaning every Facebook user is connected with all other Facebook users via 3 individuals.
Key data points:
- Total number of Facebook users – 1,65 billion
- Total number of Facebook daily active users – 1,09 billion
- Total number of Facebook daily mobile app users – 989 million
- US based Facebook iOS app users number – 47 million
- US based Facebook Android app users number – 55 million
- Facebook Messenger number of users – 900 million
- Time people spend on Facebook daily – 28 minutes
iOS and Android
In 2010, three years after Apple introduced revolutionary iPhone and later in 2008 the App Store, Facebook created a mobile app for both iOS (iPhone only, the iPad version was launched later in 2011) and Android platforms. Originally the iOS app wasn’t native and was notoriously slow on mobile but in August of 2012 Facebook finally launched the iOS native app and it performed twice as fast as its predecessor. Since that year the apps have gone through about 60 iterations and have become one of the most feature-reached apps on mobile platforms.
Even though Facebook engineers keep the set of features for both iOS and Android app versions consistent, there were and are certain differences between the two. The Android version features Facebook Home, a user interface layer for Android-compatible smartphones, a feature that Facebook could only implement on Android because the platform was giving developers more freedom to access certain OS features that iOS did not.
As of 2016 the number of US users of the Facebook app has reached 47 million a month on iOS and 55 million on Android. Even though Android had outpaced iOS back in 2011, it remained to be the most popular app on iOS and it was only number three on Android. It stands for reason, on Android Google presents the bulk of the platform value, on the chart below we see that 6 out of 10 most popular apps belong to Google and only 2 (as of 2016 two of Googles apps – YouTube and Google Maps are among the top 10 most popular iOS Apps)
Number of unique U.S. visitors to the most popular iPhone apps in June 2014, in millions
Number of unique U.S. visitors to the most popular Android apps in June 2014, in millions
In 2011 Facebook decided to single out a messaging feature into a standalone app – Facebook Messenger and three years later the company announced that messaging featured will be removed from Facebook app completely and so all users will have to download the Facebook Messenger app to be able to send instant messages on Facebook. Following the path of building a platform on the basis of a messaging app, first blazed by WeChat, Line, Viber and other popular IM apps, in March 0f 2015, Facebook added a feature to the app, which allowed users to send money to their friends, it’s currently only available in the US only. In spring of 2016 Facebook launched chatbots solution for Facebook Messenger that allowed businesses to build a communication channel with their customers via Facebook Messenger. As of April, 2016 the total number of the app has reached 900 million users.
Number of monthly active Facebook Messenger users 2014-2016, in millions
By virtue of having more than a 1.5 billion of users, Facebook app is the one that has the most diverse user profile. It is available globally, expect 10 countries where Facebook and therefore its mobile apps are banned.
In US and Canada alone there are 335 million people access Facebook via a mobile app daily, Europe has 307 million Facebook mobile app users. Because the social network has been prohibited in China, only 1% of all social shares are being generated on Facebook. 70% of Argentinian smartphone internet users use the Facebook app. 21% of Japanese smartphone owners use Facebook app on a monthly basis.
Leading countries based on number of Facebook users as of May 2016, in millions
About one third of Facebook mobile users are in 25-34 years old range, 76% of its users are female. Despite widely popular concerns about younger generation leaving Facebook, 76% of US Millennial smartphone users are on Facebook, with only two social networks that come close to this number, Instagram (43%) and Snapchat (33%).
Facebook users distribution by age groups, 2016
As of April 2016 there are more than 1,65 billion Facebook monthly users. On a daily basis 1,09 billion people check out their favourite social network and 989 million of them do it via the mobile app. In US alone people spend 14 hours a month or 28 minutes a day in the Facebook mobile app, worldwide an average time people spend on Facebook is about 20 minutes.
Facebook daily active users 2013 – 2015, in millions
Number of monthly active Facebook users worldwide 2008-2016, in millions
The Facebook app has been one of the most, if not the most, effective platform to drive mobile app installs in volume. By 2014 the total number of downloads generated via ads placed inside Facebook mobile apps reached 350 million. Of course, mobile app installs present only a single kind of products that businesses advertise on Facebook. The graph below represents the overall picture of a total revenue generated via Facebook ads in different regions over the years.
Facebook ad revenue by user geography, in millions
The popularity and the development roadmap of the Facebook app has been dictated by the popularity of Facebook as a social network. The latest trend for the app is that its companion app Facebook Messenger becomes a platform to implement features that usually result in a standalone app. Such features as mobile payments, chatbots and various plugins are seen as the way to increase people’s experience of interaction with Facebook and allow people to do more on Facebook. It fits perfectly to the Facebook strategy to cover all people needs they usually satisfy on mobile websites or apps.
Another fascinating prospect for the Facebook mobile app is to gain Virtual Reality output/input capabilities, as Oculus Rift, the Virtual Reality headset developer and manufacturer, acquired by Facebook for $2 billion in 2014, continues to improve the headset and over time the app may become one of its applications.