Facebook to reach one billion users thanks to emerging markets

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Facebook is set to reach one billion users by August 2012 thanks to emerging markets according to digital marketing firm iCrossing. The firm, made its projection based on the social networking juggernaut’s recent growth.

“Using a process of linear regression on the data from the end of 2008 onwards we expect Facebook to hit a billion active users around August 2012. Looking at the data from 2006-mid 2008 it looks like Facebook was growing at an exponential rate, however more recent data suggests it’s growing in a linear fashion,” says the firm.

Facebook currently has more than 800-million users, of which more than half log in every day. Though the social network’s growth in developed countries may have slowed, iCrossing explains the significant role that emerging markets have played and continue to play in its increasing numbers:

Developing countries such as India and Brazil have shown strong growth with India growing from 22 million users to 36 million and Brazil going from 13 million to 30 million in the last 9 months.

Both are large countries with millions of potential users who have yet to sign up to Facebook, with only 3% of India’s population on Facebook and 16% of Brazil’s (compared to 49% of America’s population or 47% of the UK’s population). Countries such as these will clearly contribute heavily to Facebook’s continued growth.

The low internet penetration in most emerging market regions shows that there is untapped potential for the social network to reach even higher numbers. Most of these regions rely on smartphones and internet-enabled devices to access the internet, the affordability of this type of access is key to this growth.

Facebook’s future looks promising in 2012 with details of its much awaited IPO still unknown. The company also intends to monetise its recent feature Timeline this year.

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