The state of the social web according to GlobalWebIndex

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Some interesting metrics form part of a global study into social media usage and trends published last week by GlobalWebIndex, the London-based market research firm.

Stream Social: Q2 2013 examines usage worldwide of the top five social platforms – Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest – during the second quarter of this year.

The report itself is behind a customer paywall, so you’ll need to buy it if you wish to see the detailed survey findings. But GlobalWebIndex analyst Brett Petersen summarizes key aspects of the report as does The Drum in a comprehensive post.

Ten key highlights:

  1. Facebook continues to be the most popular social platform globally with 69% of all internet users worldwide having a Facebook account and 43% actively using (used or contributed to) Facebook in the past month as of Q2 2013 (April to June).
  2. Facebook also has the highest user engagement with 62% of account holders actively using the social network on at least a monthly basis. (If Facebook now has about 1.15 billion active users, that’s equivalent to about 930 million people around the world.)
  3. Twitter has been overtaken by Pinterest as the fastest-growing social platform worldwide, and Tumblr has also seen a significant spike in its active user base after its acquisition by Yahoo!.
  4. Google+ continues as the second most popular social platform in terms of active usage, with an estimated 318 million users worldwide.  (The Drum’s report says “Google+ has beaten Twitter and LinkedIn to become the second-highest most actively used social network after Facebook.”)
  5. Facebook saw 388 million people hit the ‘Like’ button in Q2, compared to 150 million on smartphones and 85 million on tablets.
  6. Usage of social media as a whole is growing fastest among the 35 to 44 year-old demographic with usage of Google+ by the age group increasing by over 200% year on year in Q2 2013.
  7. 207 million Google+ users uploaded and shared photos by desktops, 104 million via smartphones and 60 million via tablets. Also, 112 million checked in at a location on desktops, compared to 72 million on smartphones and 38 million on tablets during Q2.
  8. Mobile is driving much of the usage, with Twitter, Google+ and Facebook seeing the highest growth in actions taken on mobile devices. Clearly, though, the majority of usage still take place on the desktop.
  9. Although Facebook still leads in terms of active usage in every region worldwide, Google+ has made strong inroads and its penetration in the internet population across Asia Pacific is only eight percentage points behind that of Facebook. (“GlobalWebIndex attributes this to high use of country-specific social networks such as Sina Weibo in China, which is the fourth-largest platform in the world with 300 million active members,” says The Drum.)
  10. The report forecasts that developing markets (that term isn’t defined in GlobalWebIndex’ post) are more likely to be active on Google+, while South Africa had the largest proportion of active Facebook users in the second quarter of 2013.

All of this is most useful even if such a concise summary doesn’t explain the differences between terms such as ‘active users,’ ‘account holders’ and even ‘active usage.’

Plus, I’d be a little hesitant to take huge meaning into perspectives that focus on the changing position of Google+ as the ‘second most popular social platform’ in the world without some major clarity on precise meaning and measurement methodology – which I would expect to be detailed and explained in GlobalWebIndex’ actual report.

Still, plenty to digest and think about as you work on your social media plans.

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Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

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