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Global Opportunities with Facebook Still Remain Untapped

Don’t believe the hype that people aren’t using Facebook anymore.

Despite reports that US teens are getting tired of Facebook, there is no slowing down of Facebook’s growth both here in the US and overseas. A recent eMarketer study projects that through 2017 Facebook will average double-digit growth annually, with the number of accounts increasing from 1B in 2013 to 1.7B in 2017.  Facebook will soon be larger than China.

Slower growth in the US still finds opportunities for brand marketers on Facebook.

Facebook continues to grow in the US, albeit more slowly than the average, as it has almost reached its saturation point.  The same study referenced earlier shows that Facebook growth in the US will average between 2-3% annually through 2017.   Other developed markets in Western Europe will grow at similar rates during the same time period. US marketers see the continued growth of Facebook as an opportunity to improve on customer service—where a positive experience on social media can serve as way of generating positive earned media.  It’s no surprise then to see that the most responsive brands on social media are telecom companies, which have been taking a beating from consumers on social media: 1 Source:  Social Bakers

The level of investment in social media, particularly in Facebook, is high in order to handle the response rate given the large amount of inbound customer complaints.  What you see happening in the US  is Facebook brand behavior will eventually trickle overseas, and a window to influence Facebook consumer behavior is ripe.

The biggest opportunities are in large developing markets overseas.

With Facebook growth slowing to a more modest rate in the US, savvy global marketers may want to take a look overseas at the largest developing countries as a tremendous opportunity to introduce or expand their brands here as a means of capturing market share:

Source:

Country

# FB users

2013

Annual FB user growth rate through 2017

India

114M

29.30%

Indonesia

63M

19.40%

Brazil

69M

18.40%

Mexico

36M

14.40%

US

47M

2.70%

Source:  eMarketer

 New businesses overseas will develop through social media.

Just like in the US, where digital-marketing-savvy companies like Bonobos, BetaBrand, and Dollar Shave Club built their brands online through Facebook advertising and online video, you will start to see the same overseas. Supporting this is the change in consumer behavior worldwide to being more friendly to online marketing. 3

The most savvy marketers should be targeting iPad users, especially in Brazil, where social marketing is exploding as a result of rapidly changing user behavior and the upcoming 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics. American agencies and brands have an opportunity to partner with local brands and agencies overseas to share their strategic thinking and experience to further develop the industry.   How can we as an industry facilitate the conversation between these groups?

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