The world population is approximately 7 billion with 5.6 billion on mobile phones.  Of those, only about 2.2-2.3 billion are internet users.  This means that roughly 1/7 of the world is on Facebook, and almost 50% of the people who have internet access are using Facebook.  However, it’s hard to really conceptualize how big a billion is an what it means.  Mega events like the Superbowl only garner a 10% of that  (111.3M), and even Justin Bieber’s fan page reaches a mere 4.65%. Facebook is more then 3x the USA’s population, and almost big enough to match the population of India (14.2% vs. 17% ).

This statistic is even more impressive that this is their “active” user base, so these are not empty accounts. Consider the social aspect of having 1B people “actively” sharing, creating, and remixing content. 600 million are accessing their accounts on mobile phones. Users have liked 1.18 Trillion things, checked in at 17 billion places, and shared 219 billion photos (Today Show, 10/4/2012).

Facebook is also shaping other web user experience trends such as using the social graph to expand their activity to other non-Facebook websites, social commerce, and deciding what news content get shared around the web – helping shape the media agenda.

Today’s announcement should not serve as a benchmark of size, but a wake up call to Brands and Marketers about how they approach creating sharable content and how media is syndicated across the world. With so many people out there, what models and strategies does a brand have to use to reach their potential and existing customers? Data driven models can pinpoint specific influencers and thought leaders to encourage community building and engagement.  With 1 Billion people waiting to share new refreshing content, brands must rethink content creation for a low spend / high share potential to begin to even catch up to Justin Bieber.

Facebook is no longer a social network, but a media ecosystem.  Paid, earned, owned, and shared content must be integrated into brand programming to maintain healthy communities and maintain relationships.  The real question becomes having a strategy, knowing what individuals drive a conversation around a brand, and having the right models in place to create sharable content for this new generation of fans? They are waiting, and we can help.

Special thanks to Aaron Strout & Matt Snodgrass for help with the statistics. 


US Census
The Today Show