Global social platform trends: the decline in local networks, the reach of Google+ and the influence of smartphones, highlighted by GlobalWebIndex
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GlobalWebIndex specializes in investigating social media usage patterns across the globe to help marketers, advertisers and communications professionals ensure they provide the best localized experience. The recent Q1 2013 study shows the extent to which our usage of smartphones drives up social platform engagement, particularly on Facebook.
As Brett Petersen, Director of Stream at GlobalWebIndex explains in this presentation, their research methodology involves surveying consumers across 31 geographies asking specific questions about social media usage as it relates to interacting with brands.
Running quarterly surveys means that GlobalWebIndex is well-placed to spot trends and keep abreast of the rapid changes in this dynamic field. Let's face it, two years ago Google+ did not even exist yet now according to their data, it has the largest number of people accessing the network (more on this shortly).
This is one of the few studies that takes into account brand engagement, as opposed to general social media usage which can also include political or cultural discourse.
Watch the full presentation:
Some key points Brett illustrates:
The big networks continue to take market share from local players
Until 2012 local social platforms had been holding their own in terms of usage. However over the last year there has been a pronounced increase in market share from the major platforms Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Interestingly, Twitter is the fastest-growing social platform across the world. Account growth is driven by Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Singapore, whilst USA, Russia and Saudi Arabia have seen the most increase in usage.
China is the most socially-engaged country
Here in the West we hear a lot of the blockage of popular social networks like Twitter and Facebook, but the Chinese engage heavily with brands on Sina Weibo, Q Zone and Tencent Weibo. The sheer number of accounts on these platforms points to the size of the Chinese market. Brett suggests that Chinese government crackdowns on VPNs and proxies means that China is one of the few markets where its own social platforms continue to dominate.
Google+ model favors account creation over engagement
Google+ is a service that ties together a growing number of Google products, from search to YouTube to Gmail. As Google is the gateway to the internet for many people, Google+ in a very short time has become the number two global social network after Facebook, when you look at the number of registered users. However, there is much less engagement on Google+ as users are not interacting to the degree they do with Facebook.
The link between social and mobile is particularly strong
As we do more of our computing on mobile devices, we spend even more time on social networks. This effect is even more pronounced in the developing world, where the emerging middle class jumps thinks about acquiring mobile phones and tablets, effectively bypassing the PC era. Even though Google+ is heavily integrated into the Android operating system, iOS users are interestingly actually more active on Google+ than Android users at this point.