Facebook’s North American Ad Rates Rose in December 2010, Traffic Stayed Flat

The following article presents data from Inside Facebook Gold, our research service presenting stats and insights on Facebook’s growth around the world.

No service to date has managed to dislodge Facebook’s dominance in North America since the site overtook MySpace in early 2009; our most recent data corroborates the site’s strength in the region.

Ad Rates Strong in December

Despite slower traffic growth in both the United States and Canada throughout the last month of 2010 (with audience counts for the latter market shrinking slightly), Facebook nonetheless maintained a regional total of over 145 million users by January 1, 2011. With audience numbers this massive in two of the strongest economies in the world, Facebook continued to see high advertising rates in the region, with US cost-per-click rates hitting an upper bound of $1.76 and Canadian rates trailing at $1.34.

While ad rates tend to fluctuate somewhat by week and even by day, they can serve as a useful indicator of the robustness of the advertising market in Facebook’s mature regions. The US market saw ad rates peak in late November, just before the holiday rush, followed by a dip and a rebound in the latter half of December. Relatedly, the peaks seen in the last month and a half of the year could be due to greater advertiser demand during the holiday season. So far, January has been a slower month for Facebook’s ad market; next month’s update will show if and how rates even out as we progress through 2011’s first quarter.

Traffic Saw Little Growth, but Remained High

With around half of the American and Canadian populations now on Facebook, it’s still too early to tell if the site is nearing its saturation points in these markets, or if there is still room to capture the half that is still unclaimed.

However, Facebook traffic in North America has hovered around 140 million for a few months now; as this market matures, the site may begin to see diminishing returns on its efforts to bring uninitiated users to the site.

In the year ahead, Facebook’s work in these markets will involve not only capturing new users, but also delivering experiences that keep today’s users coming back for more.

Detailed data on ad rates by demographic for over 190 country markets around the world is available with a membership to Inside Facebook Gold, our data service that also includes the monthly Global Monitor Report. Learn more at Inside Facebook Gold.