Facebook has inked a deal with Bango as part of a wider strategy to monetise its mobile user base.
Bango has signed an agreement to provide payment services to Facebook, enabling millions of Facebook’s mobile users to purchase apps, Facebook Credits, and other related items, directly via its mobile app or via its mobile website with the costs charged directly to a user’s mobile phone bill.
Facebook reported more than 425 million active mobile users in December 2011– representing 50.3% of its total user base of 845 million. This represents growth of over 20% from the 350 million mobile users reported in September 2011 – equivalent to 43.8% of its total monthly users.
Facebook has made it clear it is keen to monetise its mobile base. In its recent IPO filing it stated: ‘We currently do not show ads or directly generate any meaningful revenue from users accessing Facebook through our mobile products, but we believe that we may have potential future monetisation opportunities such as the inclusion of sponsored stories in users' mobile News Feeds.’
A report by research consultants Mobile Squared estimates a potential current market of 90.5 million Facebook mobile commerce users. It states: ‘The combination of mobile advertising and a mobile payment solution would be a strong pull for many brands.’
According to Mobile Squared’s Mobile Consumer Trends database, total mobile commerce users in the UK numbered around 17.7 million as of Q4 2011 – representing 35% of the total user base. In the US, the proportion was lower with around 45.6 million m-commerce users representing 19% of the total mobile user base.
‘By taking an average of these numbers, and applying to the Facebook mobile users, we can extrapolate a potential market of 90.5 million Facebook mobile commerce users as of Q4 2011,’ the report adds.
The report also calculates a total mobile advertising reach of Facebook mobile users of 107.3 million with 52.6 million purchasers.