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Mobile and older users driving more active usage of social networks

Facebook, Google+ and Twitter crushing local networks except in Russia and China; Twitter fastest-growing social platform globally with users up 42 per cent year on year

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Delhi | May 1, 2013

Mobile and older internet users are driving a surge in active use of the major global social platforms, says a new report from GlobalWebIndex. Stream Social Q1 2013 reveals that Android and iOS devices are making a key contribution to active usage of the biggest social platforms in the 31 countries surveyed.

In Russia, for example, iOS users were 51 per cent more likely to be active participants on Facebook than the average Russian internet user, while Android users indexed 34 per cent higher.

The impact was even more marked on Google+ and Twitter. Japanese iOS users are 133 per cent more likely to use Google+ than average Japanese internet users and the figure was 125 per cent in Germany and 73 per cent in Italy.

On Twitter, iOS users were 211 per cent more likely to be active participants in Poland than average internet users in the country and 116 per cent more likely in France.

At the same time, while the five major global platforms – Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn – have grown their headline numbers, growth is skewed towards older users with active use of Twitter growing nearly 80 per cent among 55-64s and Facebook up 46 per cent among 45-54s, for example.

Stream Social Q1 2013 is GWI’s ninth look into global use and behaviour on digital platforms and highlights the continued dominance of Facebook, Google+ and Twitter around the world. The results are based on a survey of 31,779 consumers in 31 different countries carried out in the first quarter of this year.

Facebook remains the biggest platform with 63 per cent of global internet users – or 860 million people – having an account and 51 per cent of all internet users active on the platform in the last month. This gives it an engagement rate of 82 per cent compared to around 60 per cent for Twitter and Google+ and just over 50 per cent for Pinterest and LinkedIn

Google+ has hit 44 per cent penetration – or 602 million accounts – with 26 per cent of all internet users actively using it. Another Google platform, YouTube, records 44 per cent penetration – 602 million accounts – and 25 per cent active use among the global internet population.

The data also shows that Twitter has now signed up 35 per cent of all internet users as account holders – 476.5 million people in total – and 22 per cent of all those online actively use the platform.

Other key findings from Stream Social Q1 2013 include:

  • The US remains the world’s largest Facebook market with 113.4 million active users, followed by India with 89.7 million users and Brazil at 48.5 million users. Despite the presence of complex controls to restrict access to Facebook, more than 40 million users in China contributed and/or actively used both networks in Q1 2013. However, recent crackdowns on VPN and proxy usage seemed to be having an impact as the number of active users has fallen by 20%.
  • China is also the world’s largest Google+ market with 97.1 million active users on the platform.
  • Active user penetration for LinkedIn is heaviest in India, South Africa and the UAE at 28%, 26% and 28% respectively.
  • Pinterest usage remains concentrated in the USA and Canada where active usage is 14% and 12% respectively.
  • Local platforms outside Russia and China continue to decline, although vKontake in Russia is the second-fastest growing platform (up 40% in the nine months to the end of Q1 2013) and just behind Twitter (which is up 44%). Other fast-growing platforms include Facebook up 35% year-on-year, Taiwan’s Eyny up 34% and Google+ up 33%.
  • Chinese platforms Sina Weibo, Tencent Weibo and Qzone are also showing strong growth up 21%, 21% and 10% respectively between Q2 2012 and Q1 2013.

“With every new quarter of data we can see with clarity the growing dominance of Facebook, Twitter and Google+ in the global social ecosystem. With the exception of China and Russia, local players are losing share. More impressive is the recent re-emergence of these social platforms in saturated markets such as the US, the UK and Canada thanks to the growing adoption of mobile and increasing integration of these services into mobile OS and applications. Social is increasingly the fabric of the internet,” said Tom Smith, founder of GlobalWebIndex.


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