Hyderabad: Social networking site Facebook Inc., whose global user base touched one billion earlier this month, said its active user base in India has grown eight times to 65 million, up from eight million in 2010 when it opened its India office.

India is among the top five countries in terms of users for Facebook, said Kirthiga Reddy, director, online operations and head of Facebook India. In terms of Facebook users, India would rank third after the US and Brazil, according to London-based social media analytics firm Socialbakers.

The user base in India has grown by 7.36% in the past two weeks and 29.41% over the last six months, according to Socialbakers.

An increasing number of people, nearly 600 million of its one billion users, access Facebook through mobile devices, Reddy said. Facebook is available on every phone and in as many as nine Indian languages on mobile devices, and is committed to being “open and connected" to both rural and urban India alike, she added.

“Facebook for every phone is one of our key initiatives," Reddy said.

It recently launched a messenger as a stand-alone application on mobile phones to enable people to chat.

Reddy said new products such as Facebook exchange help the company make “specific impressions in real time to show the right ad to the right person at the right time and drive conversion".

Another feature that the company expects to drive revenue is advertisements and sponsored results in newsfeed, Reddy added.

Users spend 40% of their time on newsfeed, a feature that shows posts of friends and community pages a user likes. “There are eight times more engagement of ads in newsfeed than on the side (panel of the site where advertisements are traditionally placed)," Reddy said.

Genuine user profiles on Facebook drive accurate targeting for social media campaigns, which in turn is driving business, Reddy said. She did not disclose the break-up of where revenue comes from, but said advertising is the primary source of income followed by other modes such as revenue-sharing agreements with game and app developers.

Authenticity, simplicity, scalability and relevance are the four factors behind Facebook’s growth, according to Vineet Gupta, managing partner of digital agency, 22feet Communications Pvt. Ltd. Gupta’s agency reaches out to 16 million people on Facebook through 33 brands, whose accounts it handles (Airtel, Lenovo, Café Coffee Day, Royal Enfield, Fastrack and Wipro are among them).

Companies, too, are increasingly working closely with Facebook to build a presence on social media.

Airtel has built its community members on Facebook from 1.1 million to 4.75 million in one year across five different communities and its social media application has been downloaded 170,000 times, according to Bharat Bambawale, director, global brand, Bharti Airtel Ltd.

Reddy was speaking at the inaugural of Facebook’s new office in the information technology hub of Madhapur in Hyderabad. Facebook started its India operations in September 2010. It has under 4,000 employees globally, but Reddy did not disclose the number of employees in its India office.

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