"This morning, there are more than one billion people using Facebook actively each month," announced Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg today. "Helping a billion people connect is amazing, humbling and by far the thing I am most proud of in my life."
It took Facebook six years to hit the 500 million user mark and just two to double that in an unprecedented social media milestone which equates to the social behemoth reaching one out of every seven people on the planet.
While fewer than 20% of Facebook's users live in the U.S. and Canada, they account for 48% of the $992 million in advertising revenue the network took in last quarter. “Facebook makes an average of $3.20 each quarter in revenue off its North American users, versus just 55 cents from those in Asia,” notes CNN. Now that it's public with financials revealing how it's really doing, it also just debuted (at #69) on Interbrand's annual Best Global Brands report.
Still reeling from a 40% stock share fall post May’s IPO, top priorities for the social network include a larger mobile footprint as according to Cisco, there will be soon be more mobile devices on planet Earth than people. Facebook already attracts 10% of membership solely on its mobile site.
Another priority is entering China and reaching 1.3 billion citizens still at bay due to government censors. Zuckerberg is studying Chinese and his wife, Priscilla Chan, has relatives there. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has said, "If your mission is to connect the entire world ... you can't connect the whole world and not China."
Cue the first ever commercial by Facebook "Things That Connect," at top, in honor of its one billionth registered user. Chairs, doorbells, bridges, airplanes and basketball are abundant in the film from Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., unveiled today as Facebook’s global agency of record.
"What we're trying to articulate is that we as humans exist to connect, and we at Facebook to facilitate and enable that process," said Rebecca Van Dyck, head of consumer marketing since February, to Ad Age. "We make the tools and services that allow people to feel human, get together, open up.”
The film, introduced by Zuckerberg, highlights Facebook ad products including premium page posts and sponsored stories for the rollout. "We'll be able to walk the footsteps of what our advertisers go through," said Van Dyck.
Wieden Creative Director Karl Lieberman quoted David Kennedy in Ad Age, “'Great brands don't talk about themselves, they talk about what they really love.' If you follow that blueprint, you'll realize that Facebook loves things that are social.”
Two comments on the article beg to differ: “I watched this and didn't notice anyone engaged in any online activity. I saw people actually interacting face-to-face with each other. If anything, this video is the antithesis of Facebook. BTW, I also didn't notice any advertisers sitting in those chairs.” (Mike Einstein)
“While I'm a big fan of W&K and their stellar work, this ad doesn't connect with me at all, and it most certainly doesn't do anything to connect me to Facebook. I agree with Mike Einstein's comment above: this ad is about everything Facebook is NOT.” (Nader Ashway)
In another initiative with huge potential, Facebook is bringing stateside its controversial Promoted Posts feature that lets users pay $7 to get higher visibility in the news feed. Already available in 20 countries, Promoted Posts are accessible to those with fewer than 5,000 total friends and subscribers and as pure profit to Facebook, could nearly double revenue per user if every U.S. member promoted one post a year.
“Promoted Posts could change the atmosphere of Facebook from one where the most beloved content gets seen most to one where the rich can dominate the news,” comments TechCrunch. “If Facebook isn’t careful, Promoted Posts could offend and marginalize financially-strapped users. If it makes sure to minimize overuse, though, it could give people a powerful way to identify what their most important content is: putting their money where their mouth is.”
On the public service front, and in recognition of the growing correlation between social and security, (even as the social giant continues to fight privacy advocates), the UK government is considering using Facebook’s login details for online public services in its Identity Assurance (IDA) program, intended to help people securely sign in without an ID card.
"Facebook and people like that are potential providers," said a British Cabinet spokesman, as well as social media firms, banks and mobile phone businesses as the Gov.uk site is being tested as an uber portal for government services.
Zuckerberg’s final comment in today’s announcement, “I am committed to working every day to make Facebook better for you, and hopefully together one day we will be able to connect the rest of the world too.”
That’s six billion and counting, or in Chinese, “胜利,” winning.