Facebook's mobile users

A little idle browsing: Facebook has a page for every app authorised to connect to its system, and those pages give active users (examples: iPhone, Blackberry). So, you can see how many people are using each Facebook app on each mobile platform. You can then compare that to Facebook’s figure for its total user base (750m) and for the number of people using Facebook with mobile devices (250m).  

The interesting complication is that there are lots of independent apps, especially on the iPad (where there is no official one yet) and on Android, where the OEMs make their own (and there may be overlap with people using both the OEM app and the official app). HTC, Samsung, Moto, SE and LG Facebook apps combined add up to 24m actives versus 53m for the official Android Facebook app. 

Observations: 

  • Apple has sold around 190m iPhones and iPod Touches (of which not all are still active, of course) and has 85m Facebook app users - perhaps 50-60% penetration
  • Android is roughly at par with iOS with 76m FB installs despite having a smaller figure of 120-130m units in the market. A third of these are using the custom clients pre-installed by OEMs - clearly that’s a good deal for Facebook. However, this probably points to some duplication, with people using both the official and OEM apps. The minimum base, therefore, is the 53m using the official app
  • FAR fewer people use the mobile website exclusively than use apps (caveat - this assumes that the number of people using more than one app at the same is not significant)
  • Nokia’s ‘Ovi’ app is nowhere (5.6m), and indeed Facebook’s feature-phone app, launched in the last few months, is already ahead with 7.5m active users
  • Facebook has around half as many mobile users using third-party apps as using its own app

(update) All of the apps combined add up to 222m, not far off Facebook’s ‘250m mobile users’. The implication is that the remaining 28m are the only people exclusively using the mobile web for Facebook (the ‘mobile web only’ category below). In reality the scope for duplication in these numbers (how many people have Moto Blur updating their address book but also use the official app?) means the real mobile web number is probably bigger - plus that conveniently round 250m number dates from April. But if we take only the official apps (and hence remove any possible duplication), we still get to about 200m app users versus 50m mobile web users. 

Meanwhile the Facebook app for the RIM Playbook has 93k active users. So RIM must have sold at least that many of the 500k it claims to have ‘shipped’.