Mariel Grazella, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Headlines | Tue, June 18 2013
Facebook has revealed it has 64 million users in Indonesia who actively access their accounts on a monthly basis and says this number puts the country in the social networking site’s top five largest markets.
It also plans to monetize this huge market by inviting small and medium-sized businesses to advertise on the popular site. “Those are our internal figures on monthly ‘actives’ as of March,” Dan Neary, Facebook vice president for Asia Pacific, said recently.
The Internet company, headquartered in Menlo Park, California, had 1.1 billion global users in the first quarter of this year. “We have 390 million active users in Asia Pacific. So, that gives you an idea of how important Indonesia is in the region,” he told The Jakarta Post.
He further said that Indonesia stood out from other countries because mobile had become a “more important factor in Indonesia than any other market” considering the penetration rates of mobile broadband compared to fixed broadband.
This, he added, was in tune with Facebook’s strategy to “become a more mobile company”.
“Mobile has become a big focus for us as a company and in our markets such as Indonesia,” he said.
Indonesia is a mobile-driven market. Mobile phone subscription in Indonesia – a country with over 240 million people – reached 290 million in 2012 as people frequently carried two or more devices.
Government plans mirror market conditions as they aim to push mobile broadband penetration to 22 percent this year, higher than the 8 percent penetration target for fixed broadband.
The favorable trends in Indonesia — both in monthly activity and mobile trends — offer opportunities to Facebook’s business in Indonesia.
On the user side, Neary said that the company would continue collaborating with local mobile phone operators to promote Facebook usage among subscribers.
On the advertising aspect, he said Facebook had compressed advertising tools from 27 products to less than half of that. It aims to get Indonesia’s small and medium-sized businesses to advertise on the site.
“An interesting point about Indonesia is that it is driven by small and medium businesses, which, based on statistics, number 50 million,” he said.
“But one thing you will find is that they do not have the level of sophistication to take advantage of some of the complicated offerings that Facebook has when it comes to advertising. So we have made a concerted effort to make things easier,” he added.
Facebook’s mobile strategy has brought results. In the first quarter of the year, approximately 30 percent of Facebook’s US$1.25 billion global advertising revenue came from mobile.
Neary said “one of our focuses going forward is providing education” to Indonesian businesses as well as advertising agencies on conducting effective advertising campaigns on Facebook.
However, he did not detail the plans to educate advertisers but noted that Facebook has “a number of services online” as well as self-tutorials on advertising available at the site.
Neary also declined to specify the plans to officially establish a representative office in the country.
“I think we love Indonesia from an overall market standpoint. The size and growth of Facebook in Indonesia is fantastic. We are going to look at this market much like the way we look at other markets in the world and we will internally make the right decision,” he said.