Facebook ended 2011 with 432 million mobile users

Facebook has over 432 million monthly active mobile users as of December 2011. 13.4 percent access the service strictly through mobile, while the rest check Facebook from desktop and mobile.

When Facebook filed its $5 billion initial public offering (IPO) last month, the company said it had 425 million monthly users as of December 2011. In the social networking giant's updated IPO filing yesterday, however, the company updated this number to 432 million monthly mobile users. This represents 51.1 percent (up from 50.3 percent) of Facebook's total user base of 845 million monthly active users.

Not all mobile users necessarily view the social network from both mobile and desktop. Of course many view it just from the desktop, but there is also a growing number that only view it from mobile. As such, the aforementioned percentage could one day surpass 100 percent, because it's not really an accurate comparison.

Here's the relevant excerpt from the updated prospectus, which mentions how Facebook announced mobile ads last month and how mobile is likely to grow faster than desktop:

We had 432 million MAUs who used Facebook mobile products in December 2011. While most of our mobile users also access Facebook through personal computers, we anticipate that the rate of growth in mobile usage will exceed the growth in usage through personal computers for the foreseeable future, in part due to our focus on developing mobile products to encourage mobile usage of Facebook. We have historically not shown ads to users accessing Facebook through mobile apps or our mobile website. In February 2012, we announced plans to include sponsored stories in users' mobile News Feeds. However, we do not currently directly generate any meaningful revenue from the use of Facebook mobile products, and our ability to do so successfully is unproven. Accordingly, if users increasingly access Facebook mobile products as a substitute for access through personal computers, and if we are unable to successfully implement monetization strategies for our mobile users, or if we incur excessive expenses in this effort, our financial performance and ability to grow revenue would be negatively affected.

There's more. For the first time, Facebook has revealed the number of monthly users who only access the site from a mobile device: 58 million, or 13.4 percent. Facebook also revealed a year-over-year mobile growth of 76 percent, from 245 million mobile MAUs at the end of 2010 to 432 million mobile MAUs at the end of 2011. Here's how the company put it:

Worldwide mobile MAUs increased by 76% from 245 million as of December 31, 2010 to 432 million as of December 31, 2011. We estimate that approximately 58 million mobile MAUs accessed Facebook solely through mobile apps or our mobile website during the month ended December 31, 2011, and the remaining 374 million mobile MAUs accessed Facebook from both personal computers and mobile devices during that month. We believe that our mobile MAU growth was also driven by product enhancements across several mobile platforms. For example, we improved our product offerings on feature phones following our acquisition of Snaptu in April 2011 and we launched the Facebook app for the iPad in October 2011. Improving our mobile products and increasing mobile usage of Facebook are key company priorities that we believe are critical to help us maintain and grow our user base and engagement over the long term. We expect consumers around the world will increase the amount of time they spend and the information they share and consume through mobile devices.

Facebook has said (or at least implied) many times that mobile is a big focus for the company. Mobile is of course the future of the whole technology industry, and Menlo Park is very much aware of this.

See also: