Facebook Lite Has Reached 200 Million Users, Continuing International Expansion
In their most recent earnings announcement, Facebook reported that it had gained more than 70 million monthly active users in the last quarter, a rise of 3.91% on their already massive 1.79 billion MAUs.
For comparison - Twitter has gained 10 million users in the last 12 months, while Snapchat, which is growing at a much faster rate, has gained 54 million users in the last year. Facebook gained more than both of these combined in just three months.
How has Facebook been able to maintain their growth rate? By looking to international markets and expanding their opportunities through initiatives like internet.org (which has now connected 50 million people).
And now, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced that another of their expansion initiatives is seeing big success, with their Facebook Lite application - a stripped down version of the app designed for regions with low connectivity - reaching 200 million users.
Facebook Lite is designed for older and low-end devices - it provides the core functionality of Facebook, but the app only takes up a small amount of space and can run on 2G connections. The app was originally launched back in 2015, and has seen strong adoption in developing nations - and as you can see from the above MAU chart, Facebook has seen its most significant user growth of late in the Asia Pacific and 'Rest of the World' brackets.
According to Mashable, Facebook's now expanding Facebook Lite's availability to more countries, including South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, Italy and Israel, which will see the app available in more than 100 countries.
From a social business perspective, it's important to note Facebook's ongoing international expansion for a few reasons.
For one, it expands your potential reach - as we reported back in September, Facebook's released a guide book to help businesses use the platform to expand their global footprint. Soon, there may come a time where all businesses - even the smallest ones - are international, where you no longer need to limit your opportunities to the regions you know, all facilitated by Facebook connection.
It's worth considering this capacity for your business and how these new connections and tools could help facilitate growth and expansion.
International expansion also gives Facebook a significant scale advantage, something they're currently using to strangle Snapchat. Facebook's tactic has been to launch Snapchat-like features in regions where Snapchat itself has not yet gained traction, which means that if Snapchat ever does make a push in these areas, they'll be seen as the copycats, making it harder to get attention.
It's important to take note of this, and to monitor the growth of competing apps, particularly as they expand into regions where you're looking to get traction.
Of course, Facebook Lite is only one part of the equation - what Facebook really wants is to wee wide scale expansion in the world's most populous nations - India and China. Facebook Lite is definitely helping The Social Network gain ground in India, where's it's had problems expanding in the past, while China is a much tougher nut to crack, and one that Facebook has seen little success with as yet.
But they are working on this, and given their various efforts, there no reason to think Facebook won't be able to use these initiatives to continue their international expansion.
The Social Network keeps getting bigger, and while over-reliance on Facebook does come with risks, the opportunities also continue to expand.
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