An increasing number of Facebook’s users are coming online exclusively through mobile devices. According to the company’s latest financial statements, the number of mobile-only Facebook users rose to 126 million at the end of the third quarter, up from 102 million a quarter prior.
Mobile-only users also account for a larger share of new mobile users. Mobile-only users were 39 per cent of new mobile users added in the quarter, up from 35 per cent in the second quarter.
Expect the proportion of mobile-only new users to keep rising, for two reasons: the growth of smartphones in the developing world, and increased access to Facebook through feature phones.
As Quartz reported, Facebook joined with carriers to roll out a text-only version on feature phones worldwide. Facebook Zero allows consumers to access Facebook without incurring data charges.
Facebook’s next billion users will likely include a substantial number of mobile-only consumers, raising the stakes on mobile monetization efforts. In terms of Facebook Zero, mobile advertising is not the most likely avenue to monetization. Text ads would be difficult to integrate. Also, audiences on feature phones aren’t likely to entice major brands. As Quartz points out, other strategies might include commerce or micropayments.
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