updated 05:26 pm EDT, Thu July 26, 2012
Now more than half of Facebook users accessing through mobile
Facebook's first quarterly financial report showed the continuation of a trend that may in fact stymie the company as it moves forward: the number of users accessing the service from mobile devices jumped another 55 million in the quarter ended June 30. Now more than half a billion users of the world's largest social network are using it on tablets and smartphones. While Facebook's user base continues to grow, the mobile numbers might give investors pause, as Facebook has historically faced problems monetizing its mobile users.
This quarter's results revealed that 543 million users are now accessing the social network with a mobile device. That's up from 488 million at the end of the first quarter, and up 110 million from the end of 2011. This quarter marked the fourth in a row that the social network has added at least 50 million mobile monthly active users.
Since the second quarter of 2010, the social network has been adding an average of 48.5 million mobile users per quarter. As a percentage of total users, mobile users have grown from 32.2 percent of Facebook's user base in 2010 to 56.9 percent today. Due to overlap with users that also access the site from a traditional computer, as well as irregularities introduced by apps that automatically check in with the site, it is difficult to determine just how many of Facebook's users are now solely mobile-based.
The mobile sector represents a problem for Facebook because the ads from which it derives the overwhelming majority of its revenue are generally thought to be less effective on and ill-suited for the mobile platform. The smaller screens seen on smartphones, in particular, make Facebook's ad model less attractive for marketers.
To adjust to the trend, the social network has been looking to make itself more mobile. In April, it acquired Tagtile, a mobile rewards startup with a focus on managing customer loyalty. More recently, the company opened up its mobile ad model to third-party advertisers and opened an app portal with a focus on social apps.