GM Thought of the Week

Four strategies Facebook used to reach 2bn users

Facebook recently announced they now have 2bn registered users. An impressive figure, although it is hard to remember a time when the platform wasn’t available. Only a couple of years ago Twitter and Facebook were the two top social media networks, but whilst Twitter is falling down the ranks, Facebook is continuing to grow their user base. Below are 4 key strategies behind Facebook reaching 2bn users. None of them are genius on their own, but together they have had a powerful effect:


Facebook knew early on that if user’s friends weren’t on Facebook, no one would become a regular user. Therefore they implemented a button on the homepage for users to import friends contact details. To ensure that everybody can sign up to Facebook, it is now available in 100 languages. Users volunteered to help with translations as they understood there are concepts on Facebook that are hard to translate – for example, how best to translate ‘tagging someone’, ‘poking someone’ and ‘writing on someone’s wall’.


The team responsible for Facebook growth quickly turned its attention to data – tracking the flow of techniques it used to find, sign up, and engage new users, allowing it to judge their effectiveness on a granular level. By breaking their work down into components (new signups, the churn of members who became inactive) it helped them understand the effect of changes they made and whether what they had built resonated with specific groups of people around the world.

As the majority of the populations in many countries still use bad networks and low end devices, Facebook realised the needed to create a stripped down version of the network – a minimalist version known as Facebook Lite. This version has 200m users in countries such as Vietnam, Bangladesh and Nigeria.

Facebook has continued to innovate and release new products, most recently with Facebook stories and Instastories to rival Snapchat. Not all products have been successful (did anyone ever use!) but this has ensured Facebook users don’t get bored and swept away by a new social media network.


Facebook’s journey hasn’t been predictable, and it will be interesting to see what the network and company itself will look like in 10 years.


Nadia Khaldi, Associate Director & Head of Engagement