Mexico and Brazil Set the Pace For Latin America in April 2010

Several of Latin America’s largest countries added significant numbers of new monthly active users to Facebook in April, the latest month tracked by our Global Monitor report. Above all others, Mexico’s growth during the month was exceptionally high, coming in second only to the United States in our overall world rankings.

Mexico has led growth for its region for three months now, adding nearly a million MAU during both February and March. But as you can see on our chart below, the country experienced a surge in April of 1,511,320 new users, enough to drive its total penetration above 10 percent.

The growth trend for Mexico is all the more interesting in light of that country’s current unrest. Time reports that Mexican drug traffickers have learned to use Facebook and Twitter to coordinate against government forces; in response, the Revolutionary Democratic Party has drawn up a bill to regulate social networks. But short of a complete ban such approaches have rarely done much more than act as unintentional advertising for Facebook. We’ve also covered how people in the drug cartel-torn city of Ciudad Juarez have been using Facebook to unite against violence.

Although Colombia also accelerated sharply in April, the real growth story is still Brazil, for which we’re showing 632,520 new MAU. There’s a clear growth trend here. In February, Brazil’s Facebook audience grew 9.9 percent; in March it was 14.7 percent, while April rose to 17.5 percent. Although total penetration will remain low for some time for the country, its future on Facebook looks increasingly certain.

Going back to Colombia, it forms a trio with Argentina and Venezuala in that the three all usually show up in the top five growers for the region, but usually swap places as their growth fluctuates. All three have relatively high penetration rates, so we expect that they’ve settled into long-term trajectories. In April, Peru joined in with more than double its previous-month growth.

The only new arrival to the top 10 in April was Costa Rica, which as you can see also posted the highest relative growth rate of the group at 20.5 percent.

Facebook’s penetration into South America (not counting central America and the Caribbean) now stands at 10.6 percent, with about eight percent growth in April. Counting in every country in the Latin American region, it has edged over 50 million Facebook users — a significant number, since Facebook is probably about to announce that it has crossed 500 million users. Our own stats run a bit low since they come from Facebook’s advertising tool, which is typically a few weeks behind.

The data above all is all contained within our in-depth Global Monitor report, with 164 pages of growth statistics and forward projections for 98 countries and five world regions. For more on Global Monitor, check out the details of our Inside Facebook Gold subscription service.