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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Our Daily Cup of Facebook

Checking Facebook has become almost as embedded in the lives of Americans as getting a cup of coffee.

The social network disclosed on Tuesday that on any given day, more than 40 percent of Americans â€" 128 million people â€" visit Facebook. Of those daily visitors, about 79 percent, or 101 million, use a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet to access the service. (Globally, the company had 699 million users a day in June.)

That is impressive reach, especially on mobile, and the company distributed the figures as part of its effort to convince advertisers that it is one of the few online platforms that can reach a mass audience like television while also offering precision targeting of specific slices of the audience â€" like mothers of young children, for example, or regular soda drinkers who haven’t made a recent purchase.

“We have intimacy at scale,” Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s vice president of global marketing, said in a recent interview. “There’s never been a platform that has been able to offer both things.”

Typically, the ad industry and analysts have focused on monthly active users, which counts the number of people who visit at least once a month. But Facebook says that daily use is a better measure of its value to advertisers.

“Advertisers should be thinking about how they can combine this kind of scale and targeting with flexible, creative campaigns that drive results,” the company said in a statement announcing the figures. “Understanding who comes back at least once a month is only part of the picture. Instead, businesses should focus on people who come back online every single day, because that is how they live their lives.”

Facebook’s strong second-quarter revenue and profits suggested that advertisers were getting the message.

The company said it would also be releasing data about use in other countries. On Tuesday, it said that 24 million people in Britain visit Facebook each day, with 20 million of those using mobile devices.

Still, Facebook has a ways to go before it catches up to coffee, which is consumed daily by half of American adults, according to the National Coffee Association. If only the company’s engineers could figure out how to deliver caffeine through the news feed.