126M Accessed Facebook Solely From Mobile Last Month, Up 24% Since June. US User Count Inches Upward

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Facebook’s 10-Q reveals some juicy tidbits left out of its earnings call yesterday. The final price it paid for Instagram was $715 million in stock and cash. Despite rumors that it has stopped growing in mature markets, Facebook’s US user count did increase slightly from 168 million to 171 million monthly users during Q3. And the amount of people who accessed Facebook solely from mobile each month grew 24% to 126 million in since June 30th.

Instagram’s Final Price

The Instagram acquisition finally closed in early September after months of legal review. The 10-Q explains that Facebook bought it for $300 million cash plus $221 million in vested shares and $194 million (aggregate fair value) in unvested shares. That totals up to $715 million. That number is not listed anywhere in the 10-Q, but it’s well under the $1 billion Facebook would have paid if its share price hadn’t slipped.

Mobile-Only Growth Accelerates

As for mobile-only growth, Facebook wrote in its 10-Q: “Approximately 126 million mobile MAUs accessed Facebook solely through mobile apps or our mobile website during the month ended September 30, 2012, increasing 24% from 102 million during the month ended June 30, 2012.”

That means the trend is accelerating, as Facebook saw a 23% increase in mobile only users from 83 million in March to 102 million in June. While it made 14% of its ad revenue from mobile in Q3, up from 0% in February, it has to keep up with the change in how users access the site.

The increase in mobile-only users doesn’t necessarily mean people are ditching their desktops. Instead, it’s likely due to an increase in sign-ups by mobile-only users, many of them on feature phones in emerging markets like India and Brazil.

Right now Facebook shows news feed ads to these users through its Facebook For Every Phone app. However, since they aren’t downloading apps from the iOS or Google Play app stores, several of its new ad units like app install ads can’t be shown to feature phone users. Boosting average revenue per user for these segments will be a tough challenge in the years ahead.

Solid International Growth

Facebook’s key emerging markets kept growing fast in Q3. Brazil’s monthly active users (MAU) hit 61 million, up 13% from 54 million at the end of June, and up 109% year-over-year. India hit 65 million MAU, up 8.5% from 59 million at the end of Q2, and up 62% since September 30th, 2011.

Unfortunately for Facebook, growth in both those markets is slowing, as Brazil grew 146% and India grew 84% from June 30th 2011 to June 2012. One brighter spot, though. Japan grew to 18 million MAU, up 218% year-over-year.

US Growth Just 1.71%

And now onto mature market growth. While some third-party measurement services including ComScore said Facebook’s unique US visitor count fell in May, Facebook responded through its 10-Q, noting “We had 171 million MAUs in the United States as of September 30, 2012, an increase of 8% compared to the same period in 2011″, and an increase of 1.71% from 168 million as of June 30th.

That’s surely not stunning growth, as Facebook is hitting its saturation point in the US. Instead of boosting its bottom line by increasing its user count, Facebook must now look to increase the ARPU in mature markets.

Users in countries like the US, Canada, UK, Germany, France, and Australia have discretionary income, and Facebook needs to learn how to suck it out of their wallets rather than scraping it off of their eyeballs with ads (yuck, I know). Facebook Gifts, its entrance into ecommerce, is squarely aimed at growing ARPU in these types of markets. However, Facebook will have to navigate obstacles like localized shopping preferences and international shipping to bring Gifts abroad.

You can slog through the whole 10-Q below if you want: