Earlier this month we had a story on this blog about the likelihood of Facebook passing the 1 billion users mark by August 2012. In his report, Gregory Lyons of iCrossing reached the conclusion regarding 1 billion Facebook users by extrapolating recent site user numbers from 2006 to present, noting that the threshold should be crossed by August this year.
Addressing the issue of decline in Facebook growth rates within the USA and UK, he pointed to the markets in South America and Asia as being likely contenders to bolster the figures and show significant growth enabling the 1 billion mark to be reached. Recently released figures are now indicating that his hypothesis is correct, as it has been revealed that Facebook has passed Google’s Orkut as the most visited social network in Brazil.
Analytics firm comScore have conducted research that suggests within Brazil Facebook attracted 36.1 million unique visitors in December, versus Orkut’s 34.4 million visitors. According to the research this also equates to a 192% year-on-year rise in the number of visitors to Facebook in the South American country.
Now contrast this with the competition. The combined unduplicated audience for Google+ and Orkut was 34.9 million – less than Facebook alone, and this also indicates a significant overlap between the two networks. As a country, Brazil has the fifth largest social networking population in the world, but it was only in December 2011 that Facebook became the most popular.
So with all of this in mind, it’s hard to disagree with Gregory Lyons’ inclination that the emerging Facebook markets such as South America are set to show increasing sign up rates, and help push the number of global Facebook users towards that 1 billion mark.