A look at international social network growth

By regular contributor Lloyd Gofton, Liberate Media MD, who tweets here

bii-top-global-social-properties-4We often hear about the never-ending growth of the big Western social networks. User number announcements for Facebook and Twitter are now international news, but this is only the tip of the iceberg.

In the West we usually assume that social networks revolve around U.S culture, but that is far from the case. Global social network data tells us a much more interesting story, and this post delves into the key figures from BI Intelligence’s global social media census 2013.

According to the census, Facebook is truly international, with 86% of its 1.16 billion users living outside of the UnS. Breaking that figure down; Facebook has 95 million users in China, despite the fact that it’s officially blocked, 68 million in India and 42 million in Brazil. Facebook’s US population of 100 million is far from unreachable.

China is hugely influential as you would expect and blocking Chinese users from accessing western social networks has not been effective. For example, Google+ has 100 million users in China, Twitter has 80 million, and YouTube has 60 million.

LinkedIn, the only major social network that is not blocked in China, has more than 20 million users in the country. India also accounts for nearly 25% of LinkedIn’s users. In fact, there are more Indians than Americans on LinkedIn and Google+.

However, the world does not rely on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn alone, with regional social networks showing strong growth. In fact, Chinese social network Qzone is the third largest global social network with 712 million total users.

That’s nearly three times as large as Twitter and growing quickly. China’s Sina Weibo is the fourth largest social network with 500 million monthly active users and Tencent… Weibo is the 11th largest social network with 220 million users, just ahead of LinkedIn, which has 184 million users.

Asia-Pacific overall has more active social media users than any region, and when it comes to frequency of use, the Asia market is difficult to match. Eighty-two percent of Thai smartphone owners access social media daily on their phones.

In terms of social network focuses, three of the world’s top 10 social properties are messaging platforms: WhatsApp, LINE, and WeChat. Both WhatsApp and LINE have more users than Twitter, which is the ninth largest social network with 240 million users and was valued at $24bn (£15bn) after its second day of trading.

Tumblr, which was recently acquired by Yahoo, is also bigger than Twitter, with 300 million users, making it the seventh largest social network. Just in case you were wondering what the second largest social network is after Facebook. It’s YouTube, with one billion monthly active users.

Lloyd Gofton (5 Posts)

Lloyd Gofton is the Managing Director of Liberate Media who Tweets here and blogs here.