Hey, Facebook … China still doesn’t like you.

Punch line: As Facebook reaches a billion global users, the company is turning to new tactics to drive international growth.  Despite China’s firm ban on Facebook, Facebook still has opportunity in other Facebook-inclined countries.

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Excerpted from adage.com’s, “How Facebook Will Find its Next Billion Users”

Facebook crossed the billion-user threshold last week but where it finds its next billion is a tough question, especially since the world’s largest internet market, China, is still closed to the social network.

Facebook’s mature markets are saturated. In the U.S., 61% of the 65-and-older population visited Facebook in August, while 87.3% of the 18-to-24 set did.  It’s hard to imagine those numbers getting much higher as growth has slowed to 2% a month.


For Facebook, Japan qualifies as an emerging market, as does South Korea.  In Russia … the company is being upfront about its aspirations. CEO Mark Zuckerberg spent last week in Moscow, where he hosted a competition for developers to build Facebook apps tailored for the Russian market.

While it might appear that Facebook has already conquered markets such as Brazil (where it surpassed once-dominant Orkut last year) and the Philippines, millions more are likely to come online there in the next several years and will be apt to share their fellow citizens’ appetite for Facebook.

Advertising may play a part in recruiting the next billion users. Working with an agency, Facebook unveiled its first brand ad last week. The ad … was made for existing users, but also contains a message for nonusers, even without a distinct call to action.  Facebook noted the purpose of the ad isn’t to promote growth.

Facebook plans to distribute the spot using its own ad products, and the 13 markets selected shed some light on where the company thinks its next billion users could be, even if it’s not being overt in its messaging. The ad will be promoted in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Mexico and India, as well as in what Facebook hopes are markets fueling future growth: Indonesia, the Philippines, Brazil, Japan and Russia.

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