Posted February 1, 2010 8:57 am by with 10 comments

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Well, that’s a mighty big number isn’t it? While I hate to admit it I am one of those people doing just that because it has become a bit of a habit. I don’t spend a lot of time on Facebook. In fact, my technique is to see what my friends have said, maybe say something I feel that there may be ANY interest whatsoever, rarely if ever talk business then get out. For me Facebook holds the potential to be a tremendous time waster so although I log in I don’t stick around for long at all.

But I am one of just 175 million that use Facebook to some degree daily. This fact was stated by Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg as she was interviewed by TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington at the World Economic Summit in Davos, Switzerland. Some of Arrington’s comments:

A year ago Facebook had 150 million users, and more than 200 million people visited the site monthly. I noted “You realize it’s like 1 in 5 people in the world that are on the internet visit Facebook.” Sandberg replied, joking “So we have 4 in 5 more to go.”

The thing is, they’re well on their way to getting those other 4. Facebook has more than doubled in size to 350 million registered users in the last year. By this summer well over half of all Internet users will likely visit Facebook each month.

What’s more dramatic – Half of all registered users still log in to Facebook every day, says Sandberg in the interview. That’s 175 million people. And that doesn’t include Facebook Connect logins, only those people that visit the Facebook website.

The numbers start to become a bit staggering but the one nagging question is revenue and profitability. When asked about this Ms. Sandberg seemed a bit evasive in her answer

Yeah. So, I think this was the year that we changed from being experimental ad platform to really being able to go big and we are going big in lots of ways. What Facebook does and I think we do uniquely well which is part of why I’m so excited about the Facebook opportunity when I was offered it two years ago is we’re a place where users express themselves and we’re a place where people share. And when you think about building brands(ph), not just giving someone something they search but before they search. When they’re talking about who they are and affiliating and, you know, finding things typical demand generation, which is still 90% of global ad spenders(ph). I think we’re best property anywhere, with any media to do that because friends want you to affiliate. They want you to say, you know, I am, you know, a Starbucks drinker. I like Starbucks latte and they want you to tell your friends about it.

Huh? It only got less understandable from there. So what is my takeaway on this one? Facebook has a lot of users but is still struggling to monetize this huge traffic flow.

Maybe this would be a good time to ask the question: When you are on Facebook do you pay attention to the ads? If you do how often do you click through? My answer is never unless an ad is offensive then I will rate it. As far as something getting my attention enough to make me curious to buy? Not yet. Maybe I’m the exception of that 175 million but I doubt it.

  • Josh Braaten

    What do you do with the largest untargeted, unqualified audience in the world? Sure you can present them with an ad, but like you said, how effective is advertising in Facebook?

    Granted, the demographic info available in the ad system can make for an incredibly targeted ad, but then there’s intent. Do only certain products/services make for good ads on Facebook? Some folks are having great success. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
    .-= Josh Braaten´s last blog ..Best Free Online Marketing Tips for Those Who Ask =-.

  • Dave McClure

    hey Frank:

    just because Facebook isn’t telling anyone doesn’t mean they don’t know how to monetize.
    .-= Dave McClure´s last blog ..Subscriptions are the New BLACK. (+ why Facebook, Google, & Apple will own your wallet by 2015) =-.

    • Frank Reed

      @Dave – I would just say that if they know how to do it they need to make hay while the sun is shining because there are no guarantees for even the mighty Facebook that the rug won’t get pulled out from underneath them.

  • Singapore seo

    i am not surprised at the statistics of facebook, since they are pretty much dominant than most of the rest of other social network such as friendsters. However, i tends to avoid all ads when logging into facebook, so it is difficult to gauge what is the ROI for an advertiser with facebook.

  • Jaan Kanellis

    Does anyone know the average time a user spends on FB?
    .-= Jaan Kanellis´s last blog ..Google Taking More Content From Your Site Through Rich Snippets =-.

  • Rick Yuzzi

    I’m just like you. I try to go in once a day and see what my friends are up to (other than their exploits on Farmville and other things I don’t want to know about). I rarely even see the ads in Facebook, and would never click on one.
    .-= Rick Yuzzi´s last blog ..Now “choice” is controversial? =-.

  • Luci

    I log in to Facebook pretty much every day, but I don’t pay any attention to the ads at all and if I click through, then it’s always a mistake… there’s just nothing there that I ever want or am interested in enough to buy or look into more with a view to buy.
    My guess would be yes, Facebook probably does have a problem
    .-= Luci´s last blog ..Web Video – The New Frontier of SEO? =-.

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