One fifth of the world’s population will use social networking sites this year. According to a study conducted by eMarketer, around 1.43 billion will socialize with online networks–that’s a 19.2% increase compared to 2011. The substantial amount will primarily be driven by Facebook. However, the missing pieces of the puzzle, China and Russia, still mean Facebook has not yet conquered the entire planet.
The last two years have shaped the landscape of social networking globally. Undoubtedly, Facebook is the biggest contributor of all. The platform built by Mark Zuckerberg reinvented the definition of “social,” changing the way people communicate to form this ego-feeding avenue that has collected more than 800 million active users. Facebook is also set to debut its IPO with an eye-popping $100 billion valuation. And the continued rise of online engagement will merely fortify the walls of social networking around the world. The trend is not only limited to Western nations, as Asian markets begin to catch up.
When Zuckerberg and his friends breathed life to Facebook, they probably didn’t think it would expand very far beyond Harvard University, or the United States, but its global presence has expanded to the Far East. Now the world’s favorite social space has marched its way to Japan and is threatening to dethrone local leaders, including Mixi. Tokyo-based Analyst Serkan Toto noted that Facebook’s users in Japan recently reached 10 million, a 100% increase from September 2011. This market comes second only to Brazil in terms of coverage. Facebook and Twitter are growing rapidly in the country.
But the international invasion is a two-way street. Japan-based social mobile gaming developer, Gree launches in the U.S. with a zombie game. Following the announcement, Eiji Araki, SVP of Social Games at Gree International said:
“The truly talented team members of the North American studio have really focused on creating an innovative game experience that ties together strong gameplay and great social features, an approach we plan to implement for all of our games moving forward.”
As mentioned earlier, Facebook in Brazil is a big deal. In fact, a recent comScore study revealed that it has overtaken Orkut in terms of popularity. The undeniable progress for Facebook in South America has been incredibly fast over a short span of time.
Alex Banks of comScore shares his insight on how Facebook amassed more than 36 million users in Brazil so quickly:
“Facebook’s rapid ascent in the Brazilian market has certainly been one of the most interesting stories to develop during the course of 2011. Brazil has always been a particularly social market and currently owns the fifth largest social networking population in the world.
“But despite the cultural affinity for social media, Facebook adoption had traditionally lagged in the market. That has all changed in the past year, during which the site has tripled in audience size as engagement has grown sevenfold to assume the leadership position in the market.”
Together with Google, Facebook is facing censorship trials in India. The criminal cases filed against the two web giants are slated to be heard sometime in May. The complaint originated from a local journalist who sees these internet platforms as avenues to disseminate obscenity, defamation and promotes racism.
While Facebook’s growth is predicted to reach a plateau sometime in the future, there seems to be no stopping the social network when it comes to rewriting the rules of adland. With the entire marketing industry undergoing a revolution around social outlets, advertising on Facebook’s network has yet to reach its pinnacle. A New York Times article reported that users will soon be faced with more ads in their newsfeed, on their mobile devices and even when they log off. The massive number of users worldwide is bait for companies who want to advertise on Facebook. A single banner ad could literally go a long way.