Percent of monthly active Facebook users who return daily increases

The percentage of Facebook’s monthly active users who use the service daily increased across all regions in Q4 2012, according to an analysis of data the company released last week.

Overall more than 58 percent of Facebook’s 1.056 billion monthly users are also daily active users.

DAU as a percentage of MAU is an important metric to judge engagement and “stickiness.” If the social network were gaining millions of new users but not maintaining a steady DAU over MAU, it would suggest those users were not finding reasons to return as frequently or that existing users were tiring of Facebook. For the most part that hasn’t been happening.

About 69.95 percent of monthly active users in the U.S. and Canada were also daily active users in Q4, which is up slightly from 69.84 percent in Q3, though that’s still a bit below the peak of 70.49 percent in Q1 2012. All other regions surpassed their previous highs in this most recent complete quarter. Europe has a 64.75 DAU over MAU percentage. Asia is at 51.35 percent, and the rest of the world is at 52.96 percent. CFO David Ebersman said on the company’s earnings call last week that mobile usage is a key factor driving the increase in daily engagement. In fact, mobile DAUs surpassed desktop DAUs for the first time in Q4 2012.

Facebook has not released information about time spent on the social network by region, which would provide clearer insight into just how engaging users find the service. However, CEO Mark Zuckerberg noted on the investor call last week that the company made a number of changes to improve its ranking system and show users more content they’re interested in and overall increased News Feed engagement “on the order of 50 percent.” That was slightly offset by a 1 to 2 percent decrease in Likes and comments when ads were inserted into the feed, but overall interaction with News Feed is still above where it was previously.

Ebersman also mentioned another important way Facebook measures its engagement performance.

“There’s another metric we track, which measures the number of people who come to the site in at least six of the last seven days,” Ebersman said. “So, it shows the audience for whom Facebook is a daily experience, and we ended the year with record highs on that metric as well.”

A report from Pew Internet released this week indicates that 61 percent of American Facebook users say that at one time or another they have voluntarily taken a break from using the service for a period of several weeks or more. The report also found 28 percent of users say the site has become less important to them than it was a year ago and 34 percent of users say they amount of time they are spending on Facebook has decreased over the past year. The issue with this survey, though, is self-reporting bias where users are more likely to give answers that are shaped by an imperfect memory or a certain perception they want people to have of them.

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