Facebook’s community has just reached two billion people. What better time to do an analysis of Facebook mobile data usage to find out how the world is using it. Shockingly, the results suggest we really are addicted.
The evolution of Facebook’s mission statement is a sign that the social platform is maturing and ready to focus on using its colossal impact on society for good.

“Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.”

This is important given the pressure on Facebook to better regulate and address online issues like cyberbullying, “fake news” and the live streaming of suicides and other disturbing content.
Not to mention the claims that social media apps like Facebook use ‘brain hacking’ techniques that leave us all addicted.
So what’s next for Facebook and how should we adjust to its addictive nature and dynamic role in our lives?
Facebook mobile data - likes

Facebook is a social media plat…. wait, no it’s not

Undeniably, Facebook is no longer just a place to share funny cat videos and holiday snaps, it’s a huge corporation. Facebook has been busy gobbling up online innovators like Instagram, Whatsapp and Oculus.
It has opened a hardware lab and entered the world of VR and drones. It has taken on the e-commerce world with its Marketplace offering. It’s bolstering its advertising and marketing solutions for businesses.
It’s a news service, a gaming hub, oh, and it’s still a place to connect with friends.
So if Facebook is no longer a social media platform then what is it?
While Facebook goes through its identity crisis, it is wise for businesses to start paying more attention to this service. Especially since this Facebook mobile data analysis reveals it is the most used app on corporate devices after the browser.
At the moment, it’s more likely to drain employee productivity than enable it. But will it always be this way?
Soon it might not be as simple as blocking employee access to Facebook altogether. It might eventually enable productivity or it might be essential to doing business in various ways.
In any case, we took a look at Facebook mobile data consumption and user behavior as it stands, so our customers can make informed decisions around managing access to the service, now and into the future.

Employees now use Facebook more than email

Facebook has long held a strong lead among popular social media and communication services based on monthly users.
When you narrow the sample to corporate mobile users, it appears Facebook is the most popular app used on employee mobile devices. Even more heavily used than the Mail app, which is surprising since the primary purpose of corporate mobile devices is to access email.
This further demonstrates that Facebook really is ubiquitous and is no longer just capturing a targeted demographic.
It also suggests that Facebook’s so-called ‘brain hacking’ techniques are working on employees and perhaps interfering with their ability to focus on work – a negative impact that most addictions have.
Facebook mobile data leaderboard

Facebook more popular on mobile than desktop

In November 2016, mobile traffic surpassed desktop for the first time, representing a marked shift in how people access the web.
This is also reflected in Facebook mobile data usage, too. A stunning 54% of all Facebook users exclusively use the mobile version of the … erm, platform … and this number is growing every quarter.
Even as this growth slows, the revenue share coming from mobile is still growing. In fact, in Q1 2016, Facebook’s mobile ads already accounted for 79 percent of all revenue.

A more feature-rich mobile service

Facebook’s success doesn’t come without effort. The company has been busy updating its service to keep its users happy.
Facebook Messenger has enjoyed some fancy new updates in the past year including Instant Video, Group Video Chat, Instant Games and Live Location.
Then Facebook Live arrived in April 2016 and over the past year, daily watch time for broadcasts has grown four-fold. In this time, more engaging features were added like Live With and Live Chat With Friends.
Add to that the huge number of videos now appearing on your newsfeed. Not only do they autoplay if you don’t opt out, but they also minimise and continue to play while you scroll down your newsfeed.
A larger userbase, more mobile-only access, plus more exciting features equals big data cost problems, especially for businesses that struggle to control user behavior on mobile.
Facebook mobile data 2
We heard from some of our customers that the Facebook app updates alone were getting larger and larger. Unless they have been configured, apps auto update without warning. If this happens when a user is abroad, the cost can be shocking.

Why is Facebook mobile data consumption now dropping?

This analysis looks at our database of corporate mobile users across more than 500 enterprises in the US and UK to find out how Facebook is being used.
We analyzed the usage trends on Facebook’s mobile website, Facebook app and Facebook Messenger app on both iOS and Android devices.
Facebook mobile data
We discovered a steady increase in Facebook mobile data usage throughout last year before it started to dip in March.
At first, this doesn’t seem to make sense when you consider Facebook’s mobile user base, feature complexity and frequency of use are all increasing.
According to a recent article on TechCrunch, 66 percent of Facebook’s monthly users return each day now compared to 55 percent when it hit 1 billion.
In addition to this, its user count is growing as fast or faster than any year since 2012.
Though we can’t be sure, here are three reasons why we think this downward trend is happening?

1. Accommodating for the developing world

The growth in Facebook’s user base has largely been fueled by the developing world. It’s added 746 million users in Asia and the Rest of World region since hitting 1 billion users total. Meanwhile, it only added 41 million in the U.S. and Canada.
It may be a reflection of Facebook making its service lighter to accommodate for its growing user base in the developing world where cheap Android smartphones and low-bandwidth connections are prevalent.

2. Facebook fatigue in Western countries

Since our research sample only includes data from EMEA and North America, perhaps Facebook mobile data usage in the western world is slowing down. Since the user base in this region has matured and more competing services have challenged Facebook’s strong-hold, sessions have become less intensive.

3. Businesses are blocking access

This trend could also be a reflection of IT administrators becoming more strict with mobile usage policies to block access to services like Facebook proactively.
Facebook mobile data

What time are employees feeding their Facebook addiction?

Facebook might be chewing up less data for various reasons, but it’s still useful to look at what time of day employees are scrolling through their feeds. It could be distracting them during the hours when they are supposed to be the most productive.
Facebook mobile data
The good news for businesses is we discovered that usage begins to decrease at 10am and increase again at 4pm suggesting employees are focusing on work and not their newsfeed for the most of the day.
Facebook mobile data usage peaks at about 8pm which is not a surprise as people wind down for the day and pick up their phones to catch up on all the day’s news and entertainment that Facebook now has to offer.
The lowest dip in Facebook usage occurs at 4am.

If you’re going to take away anything from this analysis, take this.

Facebook is evolving rapidly and so is the way we consume it. While Facebook is essential for some businesses and not for others. Likewise, Facebook is essential to certain departments (like marketing for example) while it is not for others.
If you want to manage Facebook mobile data drain and associated productivity drain and security risk, you need a solution that can monitor how much data it is using and allow you to control who accesses it, how much they can use it and from where. This principle can be applied, not just to Facebook but to all apps that straddle the business and personal boundary.
[text-blocks id=”content-filtering-whitepaper”]