The United Kingdom Led Facebook’s European Growth in May 2010

[Editor’s Note: The data cited in this article is excerpted from Inside Facebook Gold, our membership 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.]

A trio of large countries last month accounted for most of Facebook’s growth in the European region. The United Kingdom, Turkey and France added a combined 5.3 million new monthly active users to Facebook in May, over a million more than the combined top ten added in April.

The UK’s gains are most surprising. With 2.2 new MAU, the country experienced 8.9 percent growth in May, a better rate than it has experienced in months. This is notable not only for the sheer number, but for the fact that the UK was already well above 40 percent penetration. It’s now at at 44.4 percent. We’ve seen smaller countries do better, but only the UK and Facebook’s home country, the United States, combine high populations with deep penetration.

Turkey, also, has a relatively high penetration, now at 32 percent. It was also the number two grower for the European region in April – but in May its numbers more than doubled, to 1.7 million new MAU. That’s probably not a sustainable growth rate; on the other hand, Turkic-language users seem to comprise a particularly active and engaged group on Facebook. The country now has 22.5 million MAU on Facebook.

Rounding out May’s top three is France, which didn’t do so well in April – but before that, its growth was spectacular in February. Taking an average of its gains across the first five months of this year, it seems likely that the country will enter the mid 30 percent range of penetration by year end.

As for the rest of the European countries you can see listed below, most actually experienced significantly slower growth in May as compared to April. That also holds true for the numerous European countries we’re not showing you, like Romania and Portugal. But these numbers do fluctuate from month to month, and for the moment there’s no reason to think that European regional growth is slowing.

Overall, Europe added 151,058,720 new users to Facebook in May, rising to a 23.3% penetration. This data likely runs between a week and a month late, as it’s sourced from Facebook’s advertising tools, which are typically slightly behind actual growth.

The full Facebook Global Monitor, June 2010 edition, 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