State of Social 2Q 2016: Facebook is mobile to a billion people

The largest social network in the world – and to some people, the entire Internet – released its Q2 2016 earnings. Let’s see how Facebook closed out the first half of 2016.

User Growth

Facebook’s overall growth remains above 3%; in fact, trend-wise, Facebook’s audience growth has been slowly growing over the last 8 quarters, no small feat when you have saturated markets. Total monthly active users ended at 1.712 billion people:

For comparison, from 70,000 BCE, the world population took until the 20th century to reach the same population level.

Contrary to the last two quarters, other regions outside North America dipped slightly in growth, saved for Europe, which dipped considerably:

Mobile Users

Facebook continues to be a mobile-first platform; almost 92% of Facebook’s monthly active users use a smartphone or other mobile device to access the service at least part of the time, shown by the orange bars:

What’s stunning is the growth of the next number: 967 million – almost a billion – Facebook monthly active users only use a mobile device to access the service, shown by the red bars below.

Consider the marketing implications of a billion mobile-ONLY users for a moment. Facebook is the premier mobile marketing platform for any industry, any sector, from government to healthcare to consumer goods.


After the annual Q1 slump, Facebook rebounded strong with ad revenue growth in every region, led by North America:

On a quarter-over-quarter basis, Facebook had a better Q2 than any previous Q2 except 2013:

What does this mean for you?

Discard claims that a group or demographic has abandoned Facebook. Whether or not they think it’s “cool”, Facebook is the Internet’s front page for a significant portion of the planet – and with Facebook’s new remote Internet initiatives, that portion is growing.

Facebook must be part of every communications strategy, no matter how small, because Facebook is where all the people are. 1.712 billion monthly active users, 1.1 billion daily active users: your customers are on Facebook, no matter what business you’re in.

What should you do on Facebook?

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg heavily emphasized rich media in the earnings call. He spoke of native support for 360-degree video, 360-degree camera apps for smart phones, virtual reality, video, live video… we can easily spot the trend and focus of Facebook. If you’re not already creating new, immersive rich media, you should be.

CFO Sheryl Sandberg recommended the “thumb stopping” test: does our content stop people from scrolling? The pre-roll/first few seconds of silent video in auto-play mode are critical. Subtitles on all video are critical, since videos auto-play without sound. If our rich media doesn’t capture attention as it scrolls by, our content fails the test. Facebook follows the 3 second rule in its analytics; if a video plays for more than 3 seconds, it counts as a view. Consider how many video impressions you have and how many pass the 3 second mark to determine your “thumb stopping” power.

Sandberg also tooks pains to emphasize Facebook’s Lead Ads format and new Lead Ad retargeting; B2B marketers in particular should try out these new features. Sandberg also made the claim that B2C marketers are seeing strong ROI from Dynamic Ads, which serve up products from catalogs in real-time, based on the content users share in their timelines.

Finally, Facebook continues to dilute organic brand reach; for companies without large ad budgets or sophisticated advertising teams, consider using an employee advocacy solution to compensate for your Facebook Page’s lack of reach.

Overall, it’s still Facebook’s world. We just market in it.

Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology


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