Don’t even think of Facebook as a social network anymore.

It’s an empire. Check this out:

  • It has more than 1.7 billion monthly active users. That’s 40% of the world’s population. 1.1 billion of them check it every single day.
  • The average North American spends 40 minutes a day on Facebook.
  • There are 500,000 new users every day.
  • 25% of the time we’re looking at our phones, we’re looking at Facebook

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47 Incredible Facebook Statistics and Facts for 2016

There is no shortage of interesting Facebook statistics out there. We’ve collated and categorized the most up-to-date, most interesting facts we could find.

I could go on, but you get the idea. Facebook is the creepiest, most pervasive, most powerful business tool on the planet. It’s also the best tool that you, as a Marketer, have access to. But we need to learn how to use it, first.

Facebook is Not Our Friend:

We get cozy with Facebook. It’s how we zone out from our busy day for a moment to check up on cat videos, conspiracy theories, or creep old classmates. It has such a feel-good vibe; so much so that we forget that when it comes to doing business, Facebook will keep smiling as it squeezes out our last nickel.

Facebook is not our friend. It’s a business; we, as businesses, are its fuel.

The Myth: If I put it on Facebook, people will see it.

Truth: Unless you’re a ninja poster, less than 3% of your audience will see your post. It’s largely pay-to-play.

Here’s Why: Facebook has pulled off one of the biggest bait-and switches in history. The years leading up to 2012 were a golden age for the businesses on Facebook. They collected fans, posted often, and could assume that almost all of their peeps would see their messaging.

Starting in 2012, Facebook turned the tables. Recognizing the value of its platform, it began to progressively lower the number of people that free posts reached. The free ride was over.

Here is the % of your audience that the average post will reach:

2012: 16%

2013: 11%

2014: 6%

2015: 2%

2016: below 1%

Why? It’s a classic bait-and-switch. We got so hooked on Facebook we forgot it’s a private company out for as much of our money as possible. We got addicted, and we got our businesses addicted. That’s how their ad revenue, from the US alone, went from $5 billion in 2014 to a projected $10 billion in 2016.


Let’s think about Facebook differently. It’s not a glorified community bulletin where we can post messages for all to see. However, with only 2% of your audience seeing your average post, it’s a glimmer of the profitable platform it once was.

The good news is that Facebook offers the best advertising platform in the world. With the mountain of data it has on every user (it’s genuinely creepy), you can target your audience not just by geography and demographic, but by education, interests and job title.

Google allows you to search by what people are looking for. Facebook targets who they are and what they’re interested in. As long as you have a good understanding of the nature of your target audience, you can speak to them directly and it doesn’t need to cost a lot of money.

When we think of “advertising,” we’re conditioned to think of expensive, mass media campaigns. Facebook is different. Instead of spending $1000 to whisper your message into the virtual noise, you can spend $50 to state it clearly and persuasively to the people you most want to engage.

Case Study: How it Works

I own a pet store, “Craft Pets.” I’m bringing in a new flea collar that, unlike the others, uses no nasty chemicals. I’m so excited about it that I write a blog post about all the nasty chemicals that are used to make your average flea collar in order to promote my organic option.

I post my blog online and link it into my email newsletter. But when I send it out, the response is tepid. A small fraction of my established customer base is committed enough to organic products to buy my premium priced option. I sell 3 in my online store and then crickets. I need to go outside my regular audience base…but how?

Craft Pets has a healthy Facebook page and I throw a post onto it promoting the blog post (with a link to my online store in the blog post, of course). I need to get it out to the right people, so here’s what I do:

(Note: this is the simplest route and the best place to start. Once you have the hang of this, Facebook has more advanced tools that give you more options)

  • Under the post, I click “Boost.” Make sure less than 20% of the image is covered in text.
  • When the window pops up, I choose to “Create a New Audience.” 80% of my customers are women, so I choose to target women, aged 20-55, living within 25 miles of Edmonton.
  • Under “Interests”, I choose “organic food,” ”pets,” “sustainability,” “dog owner,” and a variety of other synonymous words. It will prompt me about how many people are in my “reach” and if I should broaden or narrow my parameters. I only want to speak to the people who are likely to be interested.
  • I choose to run my ad for 7 days, at $25/ day. I plug in my credit card and double check how the boost will look on desktop and mobile. Remember that the majority of views will probably be on a mobile device

I wait. I can check in to see how my ad is doing at any time, and if I’m keen I can look up established benchmarks for my performance numbers.