Facebook was launched in 2004 by a group of Harvard students but mainly by Harvard dropout Mark Zuckenberg. The concept was targeted to only those who attended Harvard, which created a huge intrigue from other universities concerning Facebook. Through time Facebook started to expand to nearby universities until a point that almost every American university was part of the Facebook niche. At this point, the market strategy of Facebook was effective as it created a huge curiosity and “attraction” to those whom couldn’t join, thus when Facebook was finally open to the public, it allowed a fast development throughout the whole world. The Expansion of Facebook can be studied in various segments such as marketing strategy, advertisement policies, globalization and in addition, the social networking phenomena.
There were two types of growth in Facebook to contemplate; the first one was the slow growth within the US due to restricted access and the exponential growth internationally.
As stated before, Mark Zuckenberg and company very well devised the marketing strategy for Facebook right from the start. The first step to take into consideration is that Facebook was only open to Harvard students at which point it didn’t have a strategy. Post-Harvard is when the social network commenced its journey to becoming the biggest networking phenomena.
As Facebook was only open to Harvard and neighboring universities, marketing of what Facebook was had began in an invisible way. The reason I say this, is because there wasn’t any advertising, speeches or any kind of marketing plan to how to expand Facebook, it used the best technique possible, customer loyalty and gossip. Until 2006 within the US, Facebook had approximately 12 million but then comes in the second part of the development of Facebook; when it went international.
The moment the social network was open to anyone with an valid email and aged 13 above, the growth of Facebook hit figures between 150% to 300% yearly based and by the end of 2007 it had 50 million, by 2008, 100 million and by 2009, 350 million. These growth figures are shown in appendix 1.
The rapid growth of Facebook was due to the necessity to be linked with everyone and now countries like Brazil, India and other African nations are starting to join the niche market.
Features that it offered were unique, from taking a photo and sharing it with the whole world to online Facebook messenger, from poking someone to playing games against your friends. At this point, Facebook had implemented so many ideas that not having online profile was pondered to be old fashion.
The second factor to consider in the role of other businesses on Facebook as online advertisement became one of the main bases of the social network. Facebook only started giving space to companies on the webpage after it had enough users, as it would allow them to charge high amounts. Businesses saw a huge opportunity for the following purposes; Fast advertisement as it could be set up within days and Facebook has users of different ages, different background’s, different nationalities thus the company would be able to target a huge audience. By online advertisement, employees of the businesses were also starting to use Facebook and it wasn’t just considered teen phenomena but a global phenomena.
By 2011 Facebook had 800 million users and the latest figure for 2012 is currently 845 million users. Although it seems it was all easy, the truth is that throughout the development, Facebook had to overcome various obstacles and the first one to consider is Privacy issue.
In 2009, Facebook changed their privacy issue “forcing” users to share their updates with a bigger audience and could now be found in search engines such as Google and Yahoo, being highly criticized by the public. “Critics said the changes were unwelcome and "nudged" people