Eastern Europe Rises as Facebook Continues Strong Regional Growth in March

Readers who remember last month’s Global Monitor growth figures for the European region will notice that much of the top 10 list, below, is essentially unchanged. Among the top five, France and Germany have simply traded places, with France posting an impressive gain of 1.2 million new monthly active users in March.

It is a bit surprising to see Germany’s growth fall so suddenly. In February, Germany posted a 15.9% increase in users. This month, it’s down to 7.1%. Among the western European countries, Germany lags in total penetration; it has still only reached 10.1% penetration, where many of its neighbors are over 20% or even 40%, in the case of the United Kingdom.

Facebook may still face a harder fight than it might hope in the process of rooting out local German social networks like StudiVZ. Turkey, also, has slowed somewhat, but in this case the slowing is a continuation of a trend that began in February. But that country, with 28.6% percent penetration, may be approaching saturation. Italy and Spain have held about steady, with growth just a bit slower in March.

The real action starts with Romania. As we pointed out last month, growth is really taking off in eastern Europe and the Baltics, while central European states like the Czech Republic are also doing fairly well. What you can’t see below is Hungary, which like Romania had double-digit growth in March. Both have just passed the million-user mark.

While at first glance it would appear that growth is down slightly across Europe, the region as a whole actually grew 5.3% in March, about 0.2% faster than in February. Total penetration for Europe now stands at a respectable 21.1% with a total audience of 136,549,060 Facebook users — although Facebook’s advertising tool, from which we source this information, is usually delayed by a few weeks.

To get a closer look at the 98 countries and five regions tracked by Facebook and in-depth stats including growth, penetration and forward projections collated here at Inside Network, head over to our full monthly Global Monitor report. Note that it’s now part of our new Inside Facebook Gold premium data and analysis service, which you should take a look at here.