Facebook: With 100% of potential customers, is total user sell-out next?

From Facebook’s most recent earnings statement:

Monthly active users (MAUs) were 1.23 billion as of December 31, 2013, an increase of 16% year over year.

There are only 7.1 billion people on the planet. Some are babies, some are in jail, some illiterate, and some are Amish, and the like. Facebook’s customer reach is close to saturation; there simply are very few people left on the globe that could be future Facebook users and that aren’t already.

What now, Facebook? If your revenue is growing 55% p.a., but your user growth declines to zero, as it must, it seems you need to change focus:

  • from: “we grow by giving the same product to 50% more people this year”
  • to: “we grow by giving 50% more product to the same people this year”.

This seems an interesting business challenge. But that’s just an aside. I’m more interested in this:

Facebook, you seem to want to extract 50% more money out of me this year.

Given that you are in the advertising business, this means that you are either going to show me 50% more ads, or you are going to give 50% more of my personal information to advertisers so they pay you 50% more.

Either prospect is horrifying. Time to leave …