The ubiquitous social network is the first website to reach over 1.5 billion users and they have over 1 billion MAU(Monthly Active Users). These numbers are staggering to say the least and most of this success needs to be attributed to their Growth team led by Chamath Palihapitiya. They added millions of users in just a few weeks without spending any money. How did they do this? We’ll talk about this in the later sections. It’s reasons like this that Facebook dominates.
Facebook was not the first Social Network that was made. The journey started a long time back, but the ones that became popular were ‘Six Degrees’ in 1997 and Friendster in 2002. In 2003, another social network by the name of ‘MySpace’ was founded. MySpace quickly grew to become the largest social network on earth and they were the largest until 2008. In 2008, ‘Facebook’ surpassed them for the first time and everything has gone down for Myspace since then.
MySpace began to be run by sales people who were looking to get more ad-revenue and the focus was not on the user anymore. This destroyed the experience of the users and the value derived from the website diminished. They joined the open social alliance created by Google and also got a $900 Million advertising deal from Google that totally destroyed their product.
Facebook on the other hand was a thinking company; they thought of the future and focused on the users. They knew that if the users were not satisfied, they wouldn’t have a site to run. They also did not advertise to the world when they launched, they did it piece-meal by targeting colleges. When they nailed the ‘value’ part for the college students, they had a satisfied subscriber base. Also, because Facebook chose to grow piece-meal, they did not have any scaling problems that were faced by Friendster, which brought the latter company down.
Fast forwarding to the future for a bit, Facebook’s growth team managed to grow a million users in a few weeks without spending a dime. They realized, only the English-speaking people of the world were using their product. So for example, in India only 10% of their 1.2 Billion people speak English. What about the rest?
They crowd-sourced the language translation, by asking the existing users if the use of language was right. The people of a country, just by a simple rating system managed to translate all the commonly used words, just in a matter weeks. That helped Facebook add millions of people with no cost, but just some design changes.
This is the power of Facebook’s team and their true strentgth!
In part 2 of Facebook’s domination at TechUntold – You will learn more about Facebook’s strategy and how they continue to be on top!