Facebook Has Got Russia Surrounded And Is Closing In For The Kill

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Photo: Vincos

Facebook appears to have fixed its Europe problem, and may be on the way to solving its thorny Russian issue too.Back in October, we told you that Facebook’s user growth was slowing in Europe, and that its revenue in the region had been in decline since 2011.

The main culprit was Russia, where citizens have opted for a Facebook clone, vKontakte, over Facebook because it offers a lot of free pirated movies in addition to the usual friend lists and photo sharing.

But as this map of the world’s social networks shows, the whole world is turning Facebook blue. Facebook has Russia and China surrounded, and there are only five social networks left.

Since last fall, three things happened:

  • CEO Mark Zuckerberg took a trip to Russia and met with PM Dmitri Medvedev. He even wore a suit and tie, something he doesn’t do for Americans.
  • Facebook moved Carolyn Everson, its global marketing solutions chief, to London to develop clients there.
  • Ad sales management in London was given a reshuffle under her.

In Facebook’s Q4 earnings, it seems Facebook’s maneuvers — which, presumably, were not limited to those three events — have worked. Here’s the data:

Monthly user growth in Europe began accelerating again in Q4

Facebook added nearly $100 million in revenue from Europe after several periods of stagnation.

A big part of that revenue growth came from advertising in Europe.

Payments revenue — from games, etc. — also went up after several flat periods.

Revenue per user in Europe is now the highest it's ever been.

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Disclosure: The author owns Facebook stock.

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