US Led Facebook Growth in August 2010, Mexico and India Tied for Second

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By Chris Morrison Comment

[Editor’s Note: The data cited in this article is excerpted from Inside Facebook Gold, our data service tracking Facebook’s business and growth around the world. Please see Inside Facebook Gold to learn more about our complete data and analysis offering.]

The United States has fully bounced back from a period of slow growth in June. Following fairly strong July numbers, we’re now seeing a big gain of five million new monthly active users in August for Facebook’s home country.

Seasonality can serve to explain some of what’s happening in the US — early summer has traditionally been a slow period for social networks and other youth-dominated sites, as high school and college kids take a break from school. But there appears to be more to the story.

The overall penetration level of the US has continued to creep up through monthly volatility, now standing at 43.8 percent overall. The common wisdom has held that US growth would likely level out at around 40 percent penetration. That hasn’t happened yet, with the US continuing to provide the strongest gains for Facebook more often than not.

Still, the US cannot at this point grow quickly enough to keep up with the group of developing-world nations led by Mexico and India, which both came in at just under 1.7 million new users.

Mexico and India seem a world apart from one another — and they are, in both geography and population. Yet they’re closer in terms of internet penetration, at about 30 million and 80 million respectively.

The two countries are also similarly experiencing booms of youthful, internet-savvy people. Mexico is on the verge of becoming North America’s second largest market, while India has huge potential as more and more of its residents gain access to the internet.

Several more countries on this leaderboard offer a similar story. Indonesia’s growth rate has slowed somewhat over the course of this year, but it still looks set to pass the 30 million mark, and is just a few thousand users short of beating the United Kingdom to become Facebook’s second-largest market. Its smaller neighbor, the Philippines, is on a similar trajectory.

Turkey, the United Kingdom and Canada all fall into the same bucket as the US, in terms of growth: each month, it’s something of a surprise to see them reappear on the leaderboards. Canada, notably, is on the verge of becoming the first medium-sized country to break 50 percent penetration.

Finally, Germany and Brazil deserve special note. We’ve heard several times that these markets will be tough for Facebook because the social network is catching hold with wealthier, more worldly users first, instead of the mass market. Yet they also continue to post satisfying growth numbers. It might be worth remembering, at this point, that Facebook won out over MySpace by catching hold with similar groups.

The countries listed above accounted for a bit over half of Facebook’s total growth in August, sending 14.7 million new monthly active users to the network — almost double what the top 10 added in July. They grew an average of 7.5 percent each.

The traffic and growth data cited above is excerpted from the full Facebook Global Monitor, September 2010 edition. The Global Monitor is available through Inside Facebook Gold, our data and analysis membership which also includes analysis on developments, risks and opportunities in the Facebook business ecosystem. To learn more or join the membership, please visit Inside Facebook Gold.