The latest figures from SocialBakers peg Facebook’s mobile users at 543 million, showing 57% penetration of the site’s 955 million active monthly users.
During the last quarter, Facebook for Android has grown the most in absolute numbers (22.5 million new users) and iPad increased its mobile Facebook base by 45%.
“North America continues to be the strongest Facebook Mobile continent with over 161 million monthly active users; and South Africa, Nigeria and Japan still rule the ranking of the countries with the highest Facebook Mobile penetration,” SocialBakers reported.
South Africa is currently ranked as the 31st largest country by Facebook users, with 5.35 million South Africans using the social network.
Of this figure, 84.5%, or 4.52 million users are accessing the site through mobile means, according to the social media tracker. The total number of Facebook users in South Africa grew by more than 394,100 in the last 6 months, according to the data.
Android has shown the most growth in users, adding 22.5 million users between May and August, with iPad showing the most growth (+45%) in the same period.
In July, Facebook executives said that more than half of its users regularly access Facebook through mobile sites, while analysts and investors have been critical about the groups mobile strategy and ability to make money.
Facebook’s mobile battle
Facebook has taken a beating on the Nasdaq since its IPO in May. By the time of publishing, the struggling stock had dropped to $18.06 – well under half of its initial listing price of $38.00.
According to John Ginsberg, marketing director of multi-channel marketing company, Ensight, the general consensus is that Facebook has hit a ceiling with its desktop- and laptop-based platform in terms of the number of users.
However, Ginsberg noted that mobile adoption is booming and the number of users who access the Internet via mobile is quickly catching up to that of web-based users.
“Facebook has identified the shift to mobile – as CEO Mark Zuckerberg highlighted in his recent results interview that active monthly users on mobile have grown to 543 million from 325 million a year ago – it now faces the challenge of how to monetise its mobile offering.”
“Right now, Facebook is very cautious to monetise its mobile offering in fear of alienating their current users who are both its biggest asset and its biggest liability,” Ginsberg said.
Facebook’s smartphone app had previously faced much criticism for being user-unfriendly, slow and not optimised for smartphones and mobile devices. On 23 August 2012, Facebook updated its mobile app to address these issues.
The following infographic was published with the SocialBakers report.