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The countries Facebook has left to conquer

FacebookIn most countries today, Facebook is either the most popular, or second or third most popular website. The social network has reached such widespread popularity that it can these days only really be compared to Google, the only other company that can brag about a similar reach.

But Facebook isn’t in the top everywhere. There are still several countries where Facebook hasn’t been able to reach a dominant position (at least not yet).

Which countries? Read on to find out.

Places left to conquer

To find out where Facebook hasn’t been able to reach the top, we examined the traffic ranking of Facebook in more than 130 countries. Our goal was to find countries where Facebook wasn’t among the top five sites (traffic drops off rapidly once you get past the top positions).

When you do that, you end up with a pretty interesting world map. The red sections here below are countries where Facebook isn’t among the top websites.

Countries Facebook has left to conquer

You can almost think of these countries as a to-do list for Facebook, because you can be sure that they want to dominate these markets as well.

A few things worth observing:

  • Facebook has conquered “the west” almost entirely, as well we South-East Asia and Oceania/Australia.
  • Since it’s blocked in China, Facebook has pretty much zero market penetration in the world’s largest online market.
  • Facebook is still weak in Japan, which is also one of the world’s largest online markets.
  • Facebook is significantly less popular in much of Eastern Europe and Russia than in the rest of Europe.

The potential of these countries

As we’ve mentioned, some of these countries have a huge user base for Facebook to tap into, especially China and Japan, but there are several other big markets as well.

Here’s an overview with the countries where Facebook is outside the top five websites, together with the number of Internet users in those countries. These countries are the ones we marked out in the map above.

Where Facebook isn’t dominating
Country Alexa traffic rank Internet users
China Blocked 420,000,000
Iran 26 33,200,000
Japan 15 99,143,700
Belarus 11 4,436,800
Russia 10 59,700,000
Brazil 8 75,943,600
Kyrgyzstan 8 2,194,400
Latvia 8 1,503,400
Ukraine 8 15,300,000
Kazakhstan 7 5,300,000
Vietnam 7 24,269,083
Poland 6 22,450,600
Moldova 6 1,295,000

As you can see, the single biggest boon is without a doubt China, with 420 million Internet users and counting. That said, Japan, Brazil and Russia all have more than 50 million Internet users each (Japan has almost 100 million).

To understand the potential of these markets, we can look at Facebook’s market penetration where it has been successful.

According to Google’s DoubleClick Ad Planner, Facebook has around 50% of the Internet users in countries where it is successful, for example in the US, UK, France, etc.

If Facebook could reach a similar percentage in these not-yet-conquered countries, it would gain hundreds of millions of new users. Sum up the countries above and you end up with almost 765 million Internet users, of which 50% is 382 million. Some of these users are already on Facebook, but think about China… That country alone could give Facebook an additional 200+ million Internet users. Not only that, the number of Internet users in China is growing fast, so the potential for more users is huge even after that.

Conclusion

On its march to one billion users, these are markets that Facebook would love to get a firmer foothold in. In some, they are arguably on their way to accomplish this already, especially where Facebook has managed to enter the top 10.

One significant problem for Facebook is that many of these countries have massively popular local social networks, like Mixi (and even Twitter) in Japan, Orkut in Brazil, vKontakte in Russia (which ironically started out as a Russian Facebook ripoff), and once China opens up for Facebook, QQ will stand in its way.

But considering Facebook’s track record so far, does anyone dare betting against them?

Data sources: Traffic data from Alexa. Internet users per country from Internet World Stats.

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