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But Facebook knows that much of its growth, especially its mobile growth is coming from emerging markets where such an advertising strategy is not possible because such extensive knowledge of customers’ purchasing habits is unavailable. But the social network has implemented what might be the next best solution: giving users in 14 different countries access to “free or discounted data access” to Facebook Messenger, a plan aimed at ensuring that they spend more time on the social network and see more ads as a result.
Many of the approximately 18 mobile carriers who partnered with the company on the deal operate in emerging markets.
With this deal, Facebook not only acknowledged that its messaging platform is extremely popular — the social network’s blog update that announced the free or discounted data service also boasted that three out of four Facebook users send at least one message per month — but the company also gave an indication of how greatly mobile is affecting its business.
The most recent figures, from a filing made with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, show that 102 million users accessed Facebook solely through mobile devices in June. These numbers are not a sign that members are increasingly abandoning the desktop platform, but that more and more of Facebook’s growth is coming from what analysts call mobile-first areas, like India and Indonesia. However, it is also true that many users in developed countries are spending more time on the company’s mobile platform as well, hence the revenue problems that have been manifested in all of the earnings reports released since the company went public.
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