What Will Facebook India Do To Attract Women?

This report in ET the other day caught my eye. Key stat: “out of the 94 million monthly active [Facebook] users in India, 72 million are men – which amount to a staggering 76% of the total Facebook population in India.” This fact has been widely reported, but I’ve yet to trace it back to an official source (FB’s Q4 calls, slides and statements make no mention).

Now, let’s examine this in closer detail, because I was surprised by these figures. I would have expected a majority of FB’s Indian users to be men (because majority of Indian Internet users are men), but I wouldn’t have expected such a pronounced majority. HOWEVER.

According to the report, FB has 94 million users in India. According to a 6-month-old report in NextBigWhat, FB has 62 million mobile users in India. According to this Tech2 report from September 2013, nearly 90% of India’s mobile Internet users are men.

Let’s assume the same percentage applies for FB. That means that out of 62 million mobile users, some 55.8 million are men.  There’s your gender gap. (Can’t calculate it more exactly, since we can’t assume that the mobile and desktop users for FB are exclusive groups). But we can conclude out of the 22 million Indian women who are regularly using FB, at most one third are accessing on mobile as well. This is an issue for FB only in that its strongest growth has been in mobile, and it increasingly looks like the future of the FB product will be a mobile one.

So does FB India have a woman problem? No, they have a mobile women users opportunity.  Google recently announced “Helping Women Get Online” – a campaign to get 50 million Indian women online (and, it goes without saying, using Google products.) Their pages features messages like “The Internet made simple” and their official blog says “India’s digital gender gap is larger than those of most developing countries and closing it is crucial.”

It’s only a matter of time before FB follows suit.

Fun additional fact: Globally, FB’s users skew slightly female.

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