Android, iOS and other smartphone platforms spring to mind when you think about Facebook’s mobile apps, but today the company has revealed that its ‘Facebook for Every Phone’ feature phone app now has more than 100 million monthly active users.
Facebook announced the milestone Sunday evening (US time) claiming that “millions of people in developing markets like India, Indonesia and the Philippines” use the application to access the social networking service, though it didn’t break down its numbers specifically by country/region. In relative terms, Facebook has over 1.1 billion monthly active users, meaning that roughly one in every ten people that use the site at any point each month do so from a feature phone.
The social network upped its focus on feature phones in March 2011 when it acquired mobile apps firm Snaptu in an undisclosed deal and the company continues to power the Every Phone app. Ran Makavy — who founded the Israeli startup in 2007 — wrote today’s announcement.
Snaptu’s efforts have been boosted by Facebook securing data deals with carriers worldwide to allow users to browse the basic service — and use some apps — as part of their monthly package or for free.
Facebook for Every Phone lives up to its name by supporting more than 3,000 different types of devices, providing access to a range of core services such as News Feed, Messenger, Photos and even stickers.
Despite the growth of smartphones and tablets, basic feature phones are a crucial gateway to much of the world. Analysis firm NPD estimates that 2013 will be the first year that shipments of smartphones overtake feature phones worldwide — and that’s a fact that underscores the importance of Facebook’s feature phone strategy.
The tipping of smartphone dominance is still to come in many key markets. For example, smartphone shipments in India are estimated to have increased 167 percent between January-April of this year, yet they make up just 12.8 percent of the total mobile devices shipped in the country, according to data from CyberMedia Research.
Being on feature phones is crucial to reaching the majority of users in India, and the same can be said of other emerging markets worldwide.
Headline image via LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images
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