GWI Social - Q4 2014

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GWI Social is where GlobalWebIndex presents the very latest figures for social networking behaviors and engagement levels across more than 30 global markets.

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GWI Social - Q4 2014

  1. 1. 1 GWI SOCIAL GLOBALWEBINDEX’S QUARTERLY REPORT ON THE LATEST TRENDS IN SOCIAL NETWORKING Q4 2014
  2. 2. 2 INTRODUCTION PAGE 03 05 21 06 29 13 33 38 FASTEST GROWING NETWORKS NETWORKING BEHAVIORS AGE TRENDS KEY TRENDS AND IMPLICATIONS SOCIAL AND MESSAGING APPS TOP SOCIAL NETWORKS FUTURE OUTLOOK INDEX
  3. 3. 3 GWI Social is where GlobalWebIndex presents the very latest figures for social networking behaviors and engagement levels across more than 30 global markets. Drawing on our Q4 2014 wave of research, we highlight a range of demographic, region and market specific trends and offer insights on: • The most popular social networks and apps, including rates of growth during 2014 • Time spent on networking, as well as average numbers of accounts per person • The rise of mobiles, tablets and messaging services • Trends among younger groups, and teens in particular By analyzing such recent and robust data – which is representative of nearly 90% of the global internet audience – we are able to cut through the headlines and hype to provide a unique understanding of what’s actually happening within the social media landscape. Clients can access further detail on any of the topics covered in this report through our pre-cut data packs available to download in the Insight Store, or by analyzing them against bespoke, target audiences in our PRO Platform. For further details on social trends at a national level, please see our Market Reports – each of which contains a section dedicated to networking platforms and behaviors. INTRODUCTION
  4. 4. 4 Each year, GWI interviews more than 170,000 internet users across 32 markets – making it the largest on-going study into the digital consumer instigated to date. Research is conducted in quarterly waves, each of which has a global sample size of more than 40,000 internet users. Typically, we interview between 3,000 and 4,000 people per year per market, with larger sample sizes in key countries such as the UK and the US (30,000 each). Data is collected in the last six weeks of every quarter, ensuring it is as up-to-date as possible. In this particular report, we draw primarily on our Q4 2014 wave of research among 41,983 adults. Respondents complete an online questionnaire that uses stratified sampling techniques to ensure that they are representative of the internet population aged 16 to 64 in each country (with correct proportions in terms of gender, age and educational attainment). This data is also used to calculate the universe estimates which we present throughout this report. Universe figures are designed to provide highly informed approximations as to the number of users (in millions) that any percentage represents. EMEA UK / Ireland / France / Germany / Italy / Spain / Netherlands / Poland / Turkey / Russia / Sweden / Saudi Arabia / UAE / South Africa AMERICAS US / Canada / Mexico / Brazil / Argentina APAC China / Hong Kong / Singapore / India / Indonesia / Japan / Taiwan / Vietnam / Thailand / Malaysia / South Korea / Australia / Philippines We measure three forms of engagement with social platforms, defined as follows: Account Ownership – those who say they have an account on a social network Visitation – those who say they have visited the network in question in the last month (via any device) Active Usage – those who have an account and say they have used or contributed to the network in the last month (via any device) These definitions are consistent across all of the platforms we track and thus allow accurate comparisons between networks. In contrast, self-published figures from social networks tend to use a wide and competing range of factors, but would typically utilize ‘Visitation’ as a definition of ‘Active Usage’. To see an example of this and explore GWI’s numbers in more detail, please download the Understanding Facebook’s User Numbers trend from the Insight Store. In addition to using local platforms, it’s clear that large numbers of internet users in China are connecting to major global platforms such as Facebook via VPNs, Proxy Servers and other tools – something we address in the charts dedicated to Chinese social networking and which we explore further in our Market Report on China’s internet population. However, due to the sheer scale of the Chinese market, its high number of local social networks and the official restrictions it places on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, China is excluded from most of the global charts which track specific/named platforms (see the base of each one for confirmation). GWI’s USAGE DEFINITIONS SAMPLE SIZES AND UNIVERSE FIGURES CHINA NOTES ON METHODOLOGY
  5. 5. 5 • Over two thirds of online adults are actively using social networks, with more than 40% connecting via mobiles and more than 20% via tablets. While both of these devices continue to trend upwards, the percentage engaging via a PC or laptop is declining. • Internet users are now spending an average of 1.72 hours per day on social networks, up from 1.61 hours in 2012. Multi-networking is key to this trend; adults typically have accounts on 5.54 networks and are actively using 2.82 of them. • Outside of China, Facebook is still the clear leader; 81% of adults are members of the site and 42% think of themselves as active users. However, YouTube has more people visiting it each month (82%, vs 73% for Facebook). Inside China, Sina Weibo and Qzone dominate (with membership rates of 75% each) but large numbers are accessing global platforms such as Facebook and Twitter via apps or VPNs. • Pinterest was the fastest growing social network in 2014 (with active users up by 97%), followed very closely by Tumblr (+95%). Of the major networks, Facebook was the only one to see a decline in active usage (-9%). • Facebook is the most popular social app (41%), with its Messenger (27%) and WhatsApp (25%) tools leading in the mobile messaging space. That said, Snapchat was the fastest growing app in 2014 (+57%), with teens over-indexing more strongly for this service than for any other; more than a third of 16-19s are now using it in the UK, Ireland, Sweden and the USA. • Of the major social networks, Tumblr has the youngest audience; 39% of its users are under 25. For messaging apps, Snapchat has the youngest base; 57% of its users are under 25. • In terms of social networking motivations, 16-24s over-index the most for following celebrities, for FOMO and for finding content. In contrast, 55-64s are ahead for using networks out of habit and because lots of their friends use them too. • Although it’s a multi-device approach that now characterizes internet usage, the ever-rising importance of mobiles for social networking – and micro-blogging in particular – is abundantly clear. Indeed, the size of the mobile social audience continues to increase each quarter and, for micro-blogging, the PC and mobile user bases are close to reaching parity. Of the various online activities tracked by GWI, networking behaviors are also the ones which have shown the strongest migration to mobile in almost all of our 32 countries. Categorizing networking as a mobile-only activity is extreme, but seeing it as more and more of a mobile-first behavior is certainly legitimate. • Multi-networking is flourishing. Users aren’t leaving certain platforms in favor of others; instead, they are increasing the number of networks on which they maintain accounts. This is a crucial trend when it comes to Facebook, which now exists within a much more competitive networking landscape and is therefore capturing a lower share of our attention and fewer of our activities. • Understanding the different ways that people are engaging with various networks is key to assessing their relative popularity. While active usage remains highly appropriate for a name like Facebook, for example, it is visitation rates which are increasingly relevant on platforms such as YouTube and Twitter. • As fast-growth nations typically have low to modest internet penetration rates, it’s their relatively young, urban and affluent online populations who are the most engaged with social networks. It’s also in these countries where we will see the most new users in the years and decades ahead. • VPNs are a major access point for social networks for users in fast-growth nations. This means that many users will be passing under the radar or will be incorrectly geo-allocated to countries like the US (where VPN servers tend to be located). KEY IMPLICATIONSKEY TRENDS AND NUMBERS KEY TRENDS AND IMPLICATIONS 1
  6. 6. 6 NETWORKING BEHAVIORS Engagement by time, device and number of accounts2 OVER TWO THIRDS ARE ACTIVELY USING SOCIAL NETWORKS KEY HEADLINES • Over two thirds of adults are actively using social networks each month, with PCs/laptops (59%) still some way ahead of mobiles (44%). In contrast, two fifths are using micro-blogs but mobiles (27%) have nearly reached parity with PCs/laptops (30%). • 16-34s are the biggest mobile networkers, while 25-44s are furthest ahead for tablets. • Internet users are now spending an average of 1.72 hours per day on social networking – up from 1.61 hours in 2012. • Typically, online adults have accounts on 5.54 social platforms and are actively using 2.82 of them. 16-24s lead for membership but 25-34s are ahead for active usage. That social networking is now an absolutely mainstream and majoritarian activity is beyond doubt; globally, just over two thirds (68%) of online adults say that they have used a social network within the last month. Chart 1: SOCIAL NETWORKING AND MICRO-BLOGGING BY DEVICE Question: Which of the following have you done online in the past month? Used a social networking service / Used a micro-blogging service /// Source: GlobalWebIndex Q4 2012 - Q4 2014 /// Base: Internet Users aged 16-64 Want to explore this data on the PRO Platform? Enter “Online Activities” in the free search box, or click Cross Device > Online Activities - Cross Device Split. Alternatively, you can download our pre-cut “Used a Social Networking Service” data pack
  7. 7. 7 PCs/laptops remain absolutely fundamental to networking; the vast majority of those engaging with social platforms are doing so via PCs/laptops at least some of the time. Indeed, that’s the key thing to note key: although the rise of mobile and tablet networking (rightly) continues to dominate headlines, it’s not the case that other devices are being abandoned. It’s a multi-device approach that now characterizes internet usage, and while mobiles might be becoming more frequent and more important online gateways within our daily lives, it’s not to the total exclusion of PCs and laptops. That said, the prevailing trends here are extremely clear: while the percentages who have networked via a PC or laptop have dipped slightly during the current decade – from 63% in 2012 to 59% by the end of 2014 – the equivalent figures for mobiles and tablets continue to trend upwards. It’s now 44% of adult internet users who are using social networks on a mobile, with just over a fifth doing the same via a tablet. Compare this to the situation for micro-blogs and there’s a key difference: mobiles are close to reaching parity with PCs/laptops. Overall, more than two fifths of online adults are using micro-blogs each month; 30% are connecting via PCs and 27% are doing so via mobiles. Clearly, micro-blogging is assuming an increasingly mobile-first character – at a quicker rate, and in a more pronounced way, than social networking. 16-34s LEAD FOR MOBILE NETWORKING Profiling mobile networkers reveals little difference by gender, with men and women posting almost equal figures. Far stronger variation emerges by age; 16-24s (51%) and 25-34s (50%) are at the very forefront of this trend, with 35-44s not too far behind. Figures drop off considerably among the oldest age group, however; among 55-64s, just 19% are networking via a mobile. There are clear income-based differences too. As the top quartile is the most likely to own and use a smartphone, it’s hardly surprising to see them ten points ahead of the lower quartile. Chart 2: PROFILING MOBILE NETWORKERS Question: Which of the following have you done online in the past month via a mobile? Used a social networking service /// Source: GlobalWebIndex Q4 2014 /// Base: Internet Users aged 16-64 Want to explore this data on the PRO Platform? Enter “Mobile Activities” in the free search box, or click Mobile > Activities on a Mobile > Monthly Activities on a Mobile. Alternatively, you can download our pre-cut “Mobile Activities: Used a Social Networking Service” data pack
  8. 8. 8 Regionally, Europe and North America lag notably behind the others – with just over a third of their online adults being mobile networkers. Two trends contribute significantly to this. As we explore in more detail below, there’s the younger age profile of online populations in fast-growth markets (which dominate in APAC, LatAm and the Middle East). But there’s also the more important role that mobiles have played in the development of the web within these regions, where PCs and laptops have always been less fundamental to the infrastructure of the internet. Looking at engagement rates by country is further confirmation of this; in our chart, there’s a fairly neat divide between fast-growth markets in the top half and mature nations in the lower section. Mexico is the most active mobile networking market of all, while Japan, Australia and several European markets are notably behind. 25-44s LEAD FOR TABLET NETWORKING Chart 3: PROFILING TABLET NETWORKERS Question: Which of the following have you done online in the past month via a tablet? Used a social networking service /// Source: GlobalWebIndex Q4 2014 /// Base: Internet Users aged 16-64 Want to explore this data on the PRO Platform? Enter “Tablet Activities” in the free search box, or click Tablet > Activities on a Tablet > Monthly Activities on a Tablet. Alternatively, you can download our pre-cut “Tablet Activities: Used a Social Networking Service” data pack Similar regional patterns emerge when we look at engagement with social networks via tablet devices; LatAm and Mexico top the table once again, with Japan being even further behind (a result of this market’s lack of enthusiasm for both tablets and social networking). As with mobiles, the figures by gender are even. Elsewhere, though, income differences are even more pronounced than before: the top quartile (33%) is now more than twice as likely as the lower one (16%) to be engaging. By age, there’s an important shift to note. While16-34sweretheleadersformobiles, it’s now 25-44s who come to the fore. These trends are reflected across most of the behaviors we track on tablets, and are the result of ownership and usage levels remaining relatively modest among the youngest age group. Whether for reasons of cost or preference, 16-24s are yet to be convinced by tablets – reflecting one of the biggest barriers that these devices are yet to overcome.
  9. 9. 9 DAILY AVERAGE OF 1.75 HOURS SPENT ON SOCIAL NETWORKS GlobalWebIndex has been tracking the daily time that people spend on various forms of media since 2012. By asking our 170,000 annual respondents how long they typically devote to the internet as well as online and offline forms of TV, press and radio, we can build a detailed profile of media behaviors. What’s strikingly clear from our data is that the internet is capturing more and more of our time each day – with total hours spent online via PCs, laptops, mobiles and tablets growing from 5.55 in 2012 to 6.15 in 2014. One of the drivers of this is still-increasing levels of engagement with social networks, which have climbed from a daily average of 1.61 to 1.72 hours over the period in question. Micro-blogs have risen too, now typically capturing 0.81 hours per day. As a share of the time we spend online, these engagement figures mean that social networking now accounts for almost 30% of our daily internet activities, with micro-blogging approaching the 15% mark. As we explore throughout this report, that’s important food-for-thought given how many commentators have been willing to proclaim that the social networking “bubble” has burst and that the top networks are dying. Rather, we’re actually spending more time on networks now than in the earlier part of the decade – with the rise of the mobile internet, and the ability it affords us to connect to networks at any time and from any location, being a major driver of this. Chart 4: TIME SPENT SOCIAL NETWORKING Question: On a typical day, roughly how many hours do you spend on/doing the following? /// Source: GlobalWebIndex 2014 (average across Q1-Q4 waves) /// Base: Internet Users aged 16-64 Want to explore this data on the PRO Platform? Enter “Time Spent” in the free search box, or click Media Consumption > Cross Media Consumption > Time Spent... Alternatively, you can download our pre-cut “Time Spent...” data packs as well as our “Digital vs Traditional Media Consumption” report
  10. 10. 10 All that said, engagement with social networking does of course vary from country-to-country. Typically, it is highest in fast-growth nations where online populations are skewed towards young, urban and affluent demographics (all of these being characteristics which increase an individual’s likelihood of being a social networker). The Philippines posts the highestfigureofall(withasizable3.42hours),butthree LatAm countries follow very closely behind. It’s hardly a surprise that there’s a very strong correlation with usage of the mobile internet here; where the mobile web scores well, we typically see social networking accounting for large amounts of daily media time. At the other end of the spectrum, we find the lowest amounts of time being devoted to networks in a number of mature markets; here, internet penetration rates are normally very high, meaning the corresponding online populations have a much broader/higherageprofileandaremorerepresentative of the country’s total population. In short, older segments are better represented in mature nations but are some of the least enthusiastic about social networking – something which has an obvious impact onnationalaverages.Japanappearsattheverybottom of the table, with just 0.30 hours spent on networking per day; as we explore later in the report, the lack of enthusiasm for networks generally – and for Facebook in particular – is a key local factor in this market. Behind this are other mature APAC markets such as Australia as well as most of the European countries tracked by GWI. Clearly, then, fast-growth markets really are at the forefront of social networking engagement. Chart 5: TIME SPENT SOCIAL NETWORKING, BY COUNTRY Question: On a typical day, roughly how many hours do you spend on/doing the following? Social networking /// Source: GlobalWebIndex 2014 (average across Q1-Q4 waves) /// Base: Internet Users aged 16-64 Want to explore this data on the PRO Platform? Enter “Time Spent” in the free search box, or click Media Consumption > Cross Media Consumption > Time Spent....
  11. 11. 11 ADULTS HAVE AVERAGE OF 5.54 SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS GWI’s survey monitors engagement with close to 50 named social platforms – some with truly global footprints, others which are localized to particular markets or regions. Our respondents see a list relevant to their own country and are then asked to select those platforms on which they have an account, as well as those which they have actively used or contributed to within the last month. This data allows us to calculate the average number of social media accounts per internet user – with the global figure being 5.54. As might be expected, active engagement lags some way behind; on average, people are actively using 2.82 social platforms – giving clear evidence that multi-networking behaviors are flourishing (for more on this, see our Multi-Networking trend). Chart 6: AVERAGE NUMBER OF SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS Question: On which of the following services do you have an account? // Active users: Which of the following services have you used or contributed to in the past month using any type of device? /// Source: GlobalWebIndex Q4 2014 /// Base: Internet Users aged 16-64 Want to explore this data on the PRO Platform? Enter “Account” or “Active” in the free search box, or click Social Media > Social Platforms > Account Ownership / Active User.
  12. 12. 12 Naturally, demographics have a strong impact on this – with the average number of accounts falling as age increases. Predictably, 16-24s are at the very forefront of this trend and have an average of 6.55 accounts each; in contrast, 55-64s are maintaining accounts on just 2.85 services. If we then switch our attention to active usage, an important difference emerges: 25-34s are now ahead of 16-24s, with the former being active on some 4.21 networks. That this age group remains the most loyal to Facebook, and is also the most likely to be using professional networks such as LinkedIn, is a major driver of this. It also means that 16-24s might be the most visible social networkers but 25-34s are the most engaged. Differences emerge at a national level too. With digital consumers in fast-growth nations typically spending the most time on networks per day, we have some context for why they dominate Chart 6 – with Indonesia being the most socially diverse country of all, where internet users typically have accounts on 7.39 networks. However, it’s in China where people are most likely to be actively using the highest number of social networks (4.27). Compare time spent on social networks against active usage of named networks and there are in fact some particularly noteworthy national trends. China is the most socially promiscuous country – that is, its internet users are visiting the higher number of platforms for the shortest amount of time each. Put another way, Chinese internet users do not spend much time on social networking as an activity, but cram a lot of different platforms into their relatively short social window each day. That there are so many local platforms will be a major contributor to this, particularly with many turning to VPNs in order to access global names like Facebook (a topic we explore in more detail in the next chapter). In contrast, Germany is one of the most socially loyal countries – meaning that one platform (in this case Facebook) tends to capture the vast majority of the total time that German internet users devote to networking.
  13. 13. 13 TOP SOCIAL NETWORKS Tracking the most popular platforms at a global level3 SETTING THE SCENE: DEFINING AN ACTIVE USER KEY HEADLINES • Outside of China, Facebook is the number one network in terms of members (81%) and active users (42%). • By visitation rates, however, YouTube (82%) is ahead of Facebook (73%) – a pattern present in all five world regions as well as in 29 of the 32 markets surveyed. • Facebook’s active users log-in/visit more frequently than their counterparts on any other network; over half (56%) say they use Facebook multiple times per day. • In China, it is Sina Weibo and Qzone which dominate; both have membership rates of 75%. Across all of the named social platforms tracked by GWI, user engagement is monitored in two main ways: • Account Membership. People who say they have an account on the platform in question • Active Usage. People who say that, within the last month, they have actively contributed to or used the platform in question. We measure both of these aspects in order to differentiate a social network’s total potential audience – e.g. its overall membership base – from its current active audience (those who are actually engaging with it on a regular basis). This allows us to see how many of a social network’s members can be legitimately counted as “active users” – by far the most important measure of engagement in a digital landscape where social networking behaviors have proliferated. Critically, GWI applies the same definitions across all of the platforms that we track. This enables us to assess their relative popularity in a fair and like-for-like way, whereas the networks themselves tend to have rather more complex, competing and sometimes slightly elusive definitions which do not permit accurate comparisons between platforms. In short, in their own self-published figures, an active user as defined by Facebook is unlikely to be the same as an active user as defined by Twitter or Google+. What’s more, some networks will categorize someone as an active user if they are logged in via their app, if they have clicked an associated button on a third-party website or if they have simply visited the network’s main site without actually doing anything. That means an individual can potentially be classified as active without really engaging with the site – especially where passive web analytics are being deployed. As Instagram’s recent membership “purge” exemplifies, spam, “bot” and other false accounts can also be a real issue. GWI’s data has the benefit of representing the user’s perspective; an individual is counted as an active user only if they consider themselves to be one. We believe our figures thus represent the most accurate and robust snapshot of active usage and offer one of the only ways to make true comparisons across networks.
  14. 14. 14 OVER 80% HAVE A FACEBOOK ACCOUNT Outside of China, Facebook is still the clear leader in terms of members; over four fifths (81%) of adults aged 16-64 report having an account on the service – reflecting just how big its audience remains and just how many people its ID-based ad system Atlas can potentially reach. Regular engagement is considerably lower: about half of Facebook’s members consider themselves to be active users (its figure is still almost twice as high as the equivalent seen for any other network, though). GWI’s active user figure for Facebook is considerably lower than the one published by the social networking giant itself; the main reason for this is Facebook’s very broad definition of what counts as “active usage” (which is in fact much closer to GWI’s “visitor” metric, detailed below). In terms of members, there are three networks which compete for second-place, with YouTube and Google+ both scoring 60% and Twitter just behind on 53%. Figures are close for active usage too: YouTube is on a quarter while the others are around a fifth. Broadly speaking, YouTube performs particularly strongly in mature markets while Google+ is much more popular in fast- growth nations. It also benefited from the period where Google required people to sign up in order to access various services. The “third tier” of social platforms comprises a range of smaller and more specialized networks which are increasingly challenging for mainstream status. Instagram (29% membership, 13% active usage), Pinterest (27% and 13%) and LinkedIn (34% and 13%) are at the forefront of this group. Given that China is excluded from Chart 7, it’s particularly notable that its micro-blogging platforms Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo still feature prominently, with about 10% of non-Chinese internet users being members. The sheer size of Russia, as well as the domestic popularity of its local platforms, means that VK and Odnoklassniki make appearances too. Arguably, though, perhaps the most interesting stat in our chart is that just 11% of internet users aged 16-64 say that they do not have an account on at least one social platform. This is surely the most definitive proof for how widespread and ingrained this activity has become. Chart 7: TOP 20 SOCIAL PLATFORMS - ACCOUNT OWNERSHIP AND ACTIVE USAGE Question: On which of the following services do you have an account? // Active users: Which of the following services have you used or contributed to in the past month using any type of device? /// Source: GlobalWebIndex Q4 2014 /// Base: Internet users aged 16-64, exc. China Want to explore this data on the PRO Platform? Enter “Account” or “Active” in the free search box, or click Social Media > Social Platforms > Account Ownership / Active User. Alternatively, you can download our pre-cut “Account Ownership: Social Platforms” or “Active Usage: Social Platforms” data packs
  15. 15. 15 YOUTUBE HAS THE MOST VISITORS When tracking social platforms, understanding the differentwaysinwhichusersarelikelytoengagewiththem is key. That’s particularly true for a service like YouTube, where many people are visiting the website and watching videos without ever signing in (or indeed registering). In fact, for those simply wishing to view content, not having an account in no way diminishes the user experience. If we track Membership, Active Usage and Visitation Rates across the “Big 4” social platforms, there are some clear differences apparent. As we’ve seen, Facebook is the obvious global leader when it comes to both membership and active usage. But there’s a notable change when it comes to visitors: YouTube overtakes Facebook, with more than four fifths of internet users outside of China saying they’ve visited the video-sharing site within the last month. It’s particularly striking that this trend is present in all five of the regions tracked by GWI: YouTube is ahead in all places. In many ways, Twitter is in a similar position to YouTube – being a platform that many internet users might visit without becoming a member or even considering themselves to be an active user. This is especially true in those instances where Tweets have been embedded within news stories or on other third-party pages. As we discuss in our Twitter’s Hidden Users trend, we in fact find between 5-10% of non-members in each country saying that they’ve visited or engaged with Twitter in some form during the last month. What’s more, there are as many as 150 million adults across GWI’s 32 countries who are visiting Twitter each month without being counted as active users. Both YouTube and Twitter thus have large user bases which typically pass under the radar when we look just at membership or active usage. Google+ is in a different, and less favorable, position. While it has a very healthy membership rate – a partial result of users for a long time needing to sign up in order to access other Google products – it has the lowest active user and visitor rates. That means Google+ is struggling to engage many of its members – although, as we noted above, it does continue to perform much more strongly in fast- growth rather than mature internet nations. Chart 8: THE BIG 4 SOCIAL PLATFORMS: MEMBERS, VISITORS AND ACTIVE USERS Question: Membership: On which of the following services do you have an account? // Visitation: Which of the following websites/services have you visited or used in the last month via any device? // Active usage: Which of the following services have you used or contributed to in the past month using any type of device? /// Source: GlobalWebIndex Q4 2014 /// Base: Internet users aged 16-64, exc. China Want to explore this data on the PRO Platform? Enter “Account” or “Active” in the free search box, or click Social Media > Social Platforms > Account Ownership / Active User.
  16. 16. 16 YOUTUBE LEADS FACEBOOK FOR VISITORS IN 29 OF 32 COUNTRIES Arguably, it’s the visitation metric which offers the fairest way to compare the big four platforms in terms of relative engagement. When we do this at a country-by-country level, YouTube’s lead over Facebook is particularly striking: it is ahead in 29 of the 32 markets surveyed by GWI, with just Indonesia, the Philippines and South Africa bucking the trend (and even in these three markets, YouTube is just 1-5 percentage points behind). Chart 9: VISITORS TO THE TOP SOCIAL PLATFORMS BY COUNTRY Question: Which of the following websites/services have you visited or used in the last month via any device? /// Source: GlobalWebIndex Q4 2014 /// Base: Internet users aged 16-64 in each country Want to explore this data on the PRO Platform? Enter “Web Brand” in the free search box, or click Cross-Device > Web Brand Visitation - Device Split > Web Brand Visited in the Past Month on PC, Mobile or Tablet. % internet users who have visited/used the service in the last month
  17. 17. 17 YouTube’s lead is especially pronounced in Japan (50 points) and Russia (40 points), which have always been challenging markets for Facebook, while it is close to 20 points ahead in South Korea and Saudi Arabia. As elsewhere, though, it’s the move towards multi- networking which is the most compelling trend here: outside of China, some 18% of internet users have visited YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ during the last month. As many as a third have visited YouTube, Facebook and Twitter – dispelling the notion that there is no or little overlap between the audiences of the three leading networks. Just look at engagement rates among Facebook visitors: 9 in 10 of them are also accessing YouTube each month, while close to half are visiting Twitter too. Chart 10: SOCIAL PLATFORMS VISITED BY FACEBOOKERS Chart 11: FREQUENCY OF VISITS ON THE TOP GLOBAL SOCIAL PLATFORMS Question: Which of the following websites/services have you visited or used in the last month via any device? /// Source: GlobalWebIndex Q4 2014 /// Base: Facebook visitors aged 16-64 Question: Thinking about the social platforms that you use or contribute to each month, can you please tell us how often you typically use each one? /// Source: GlobalWebIndex Q4 2014 /// Base: Active users of each network aged 16-64, exc. China Want to explore this data on the PRO Platform? Enter “Web Brand” in the free search box, or click Cross-Device > Web Brand Visitation - Device Split > Web Brand Visited in the Past Month on PC, Mobile or Tablet. Want to explore this data on the PRO Platform? Click Social Media > Social Platform Usage Frequency. Alternatively, you can download our pre- cut “Social Platform Usage Frequency” data packs FACEBOOKERS ARE THE MOST FREQUENT USERS Facebook regains pole position when we examine usage frequency: more than half (56%) of Facebook’s active users are logging in more than once a day – a figure which puts it 25 percentage points ahead of second-placed YouTube. And, significantly, if we re-base this to be among the total online population, 24% of all internet users aged 16-64 outside of China are logging on to Facebook multiple times each day. That more than half of Facebook’s active audience is connecting so frequently is a testament to how ingrained it has become within daily lives, but also of the ongoing migration of social networking behaviors to mobile platforms; the nature of smartphone internet usage means that many users are checking in multiple times a day, albeit for relatively short periods. There’s also a strong age effect at work here: the younger a Facebook user is, the more likely they are to be using the service more than once a day. By region, it is users in LatAm who are ahead for this behavior; by country, users in Argentina, Mexico, Thailand and Turkey are the most engaged.
  18. 18. 18 SINA WEIBO AND QZONE LEAD IN CHINA As noted in the introduction, China has been excluded from charts which track named/specific platforms; this is due to the rather unique nature of the social networking landscape in the country and hence the ease with which it can skew the figures for global trends (China accounts for about a third of all internet users across the 32 markets surveyed by GWI, and hence global averages can be impacted heavily if a trend is not pronounced in this particular market). If we focus on China by itself, though, the highly social nature of its online audience is clear: in Q4 2014, just 7% of Chinese internet users said they didn’t have an account on any social network. And just 16% reported that they hadn’t actively used any social platform within the last month. Given the vast size of the country’s adult internet population (close to 500 million), the number of social networkers that these figures represent are colossal. Currently, it is Sina Weibo and Qzone which share the honors in terms of popularity; both have membership rates of 75%, although Sina Weibo (54%) is very slightly ahead of Qzone (52%) when it comes to active usage. Other Chinese platforms also have commanding audiences: Tencent Weibo, Youku, Tudou and RenRen all post membership rates of 50% or more. Traditionally, many of these Chinese networks have been seen as close equivalents to some of the global platforms tracked in our earlier charts; micro-blogging sites Sina and Tencent Weibo are compared to Twitter, Qzone to Facebook and Youku to YouTube. Given that many of the world’s major networks are subject to official bans in China, it’s therefore been assumed that the country’s internet users are turning to these local equivalents because they can’t access the international ones. However, our data shows that this simply isn’t the case: significant minorities of Chinese internet users have accounts on Google+ (38%), Facebook (35%), Twitter (30%) and YouTube (24%), as well as many of the more specialized platforms. Smaller but still important groups are actively using them each month, too: rates on Google+ and Facebook are actually higher than those for domestic platforms Kaixin and 51.com, for example. Of course, the figures for the Big 4 global platforms in China are significantly below the equivalents recorded in almost all othernations.Nevertheless,whenweconvertthepercentages in China into audience figures, it’s clear that all of the major platforms have substantial Chinese user bases. In some traditional studies – especially those based on data from passively collected analytics – it’s still common to see Chinese usage of Facebook, Twitter and similar sites recorded as zero. This is a major mistake; there are in fact a number of ways that Chinese internet users are bypassing official restrictions on social networks. These include logging in while abroad as well as via apps; indeed, 16% in China say that they have used the Facebook app in the last 30 days, and a look at the top apps being downloaded in China on a daily basis shows that Western social networks feature very prominently within the list. Also subject to heavy download rates are VPN apps – one of the other major routes that internet users in China are deploying in order to bypass official restrictions. Chart 12: TOP 15 SOCIAL PLATFORMS IN CHINA - ACCOUNT OWNERSHIP AND ACTIVE USAGE Question: Account: On which of the following services do you have an account? // Active users: Which of the following services have you used or contributed to in the past month using any type of device? /// Source: GlobalWebIndex Q4 2014 /// Base: Internet users in China aged 16-64 Want to explore this data on the PRO Platform? Enter “Account” or “Active” in the free search box, or click Social Media > Social Platforms > Account Ownership / Active User. Alternatively, you can download our China Market Report as well as our pre-cut “Account Ownership: Social Platforms” or “Active Usage: Social Platforms” data packs
  19. 19. 19 VPNS ARE A MAJOR GATEWAY FOR SOCIAL NETWORKS For anyone unfamiliar with VPNs, they allow people to bypass traditional connections and tracking methods to use the internet via a remotely located server; essentially, it’s as if people are entering the internet discretely via a side door rather than through the main entrance. That means VPNs can provide access to any social network which is subject to geo-restrictions (whether in place to protect content or because usage has been prohibited by authorities). At present, VPNs are still viewed as pretty niche tools used mainly by savviest or geekiest of internet users. Worldwide, though, it’s over a quarter of online adults who say they’ve used one to connect to the web. Hardly that niche, then – especially when we recognize that this percentage translates to around 400 million VPN users. Significantly, VPN usage is much higher in fast-growth rather than mature markets. What’s more, using them to access social networks is a major motivation, with a notable peak in APAC; as our chart shows, it’s Indonesia, Turkey and Vietnam which lead the way (20%+ each), followed closely by Thailand and China (19% each). Chart 13: USING VPNS TO ACCESS RESTRICTED SITES AND SOCIAL NETWORKS Question: Can you please tell us why you use VPNs or proxy servers when browsing the internet? To access restricted websites like Facebook / Twitter /// Source: GlobalWebIndex Q4 2014 /// Base: Internet Users aged 16-64 Want to explore this data on the PRO Platform? Enter “VPN” in the free search box, or click Internet Landscape > VPN/Proxy Usage. Alternatively, you can download our pre-cut “VPN and Proxy Server Usage” and “VPN and Proxy Servers: Usage Motivations” data packs
  20. 20. 20 Look at the corresponding audience sizes and the importance of these tools in China is plain to see: over 85 million online adults in the country have used one to access restricted websites or social platforms. Compare that to places like the UK and USA, where the equivalent figure is just 3%, and the disparity is pretty striking (with most of the 1 million UK and 5.5 million US users looking to access sites/networks which are restricted in their place of work). Globally, this behavior is most common among men and 16-34s but – interestingly – it’s relatively equal across the income quartiles (albeit with a slight peak among the top 25%). Not only does this trend underline the potential limitations of using passivelycollected,geo-locateddata–whichcanover-estimatethe size of social audiences in markets such as the USA, Netherlands, South Korea and Sweden, where VPN and Proxy servers tend to be located – it also emphasizes the growing futility of attempting to prevent national audiences from accessing certain sites. This data also shows why networking behaviors in China – as well as in many other fast-growth markets – are much more diversified and sophisticated than often assumed. In fact, if we look at the social networks being actively used by those who have deployed VPNs, the numbers are pretty compelling. Given its number one position overall, it’s perhaps not surprising to see that VPN users are most likely to be active on Facebook (42%). But other major platforms are well represented too, including Google+ (30%), Twitter (28%) and YouTube (27%). Potentially, that means that significant portions of the audiences for these sites are being incorrectly geo-allocated by passive analytics. It also gives clear context to the buzz generated by Facebook’s Atlas platform, as well as other tracking techniques which rely on self-reported information from users who remain logged in across devices. Chart 14: ACTIVE USAGE OF SOCIAL NETWORKS AMONG VPN USERS Question: Which of the following services have you used or contributed to in the past month using any type of device? /// Source: GlobalWebIndex Q4 2014 /// Base: VPN Users aged 16-64 Want to explore this data on the PRO Platform? Enter “VPN” in the free search box, or click Internet Landscape > VPN/Proxy Usage. Alternatively, you can download our pre-cut “VPN and Proxy Server Usage” and “VPN and Proxy Servers: Usage Motivations” data packs
  21. 21. 21 FASTEST GROWING NETWORKS Changes in active usage across 2014 4 PINTEREST AND TUMBLR FASTEST GROWING SOCIAL PLATFORMS IN 2014 KEY HEADLINES • Pinterest (+97%) and Tumblr (+95%) were the fastest growing major social networks during 2014, followed by Instagram (+47%). • In contrast, Facebook saw a drop in active usage of 9%, with the decline consistent across all five world regions. • 16-24s are the leading age group on all three of the fastest rising platforms, but while men over-index for Tumblr, women are ahead on Instagram and Pinterest. • Among the smaller platforms, growth is led by professional social networks as well as China’s micro-blogging sites. Meanwhile, many of Europe’s country-specific services such as nk, VK, Odnoklassniki and Tuenti have all seen declines. While Facebook and YouTube compete for the title of largest social platform, it’s Pinterest (+97%) and Tumblr (+95%) which recorded the biggest rises in active user numbers across 2014. Chart 15: TOP SOCIAL PLATFORMS: GROWTH IN MEMBERS AND ACTIVE USERS DURING 2014 Question: On which of the following services do you have an account? // Active users: Which of the following services have you used or contributed to in the past month using any type of device? /// Source: GlobalWebIndex Q1 2014 & Q4 2014 /// Base: Internet users aged 16-64, exc. China Want to explore this data on the PRO Platform? Enter “Account” or “Active” in the free search box, or click Social Media > Social Platforms > Account Ownership / Active User. Alternatively, you can download our pre-cut “Account Ownership: Social Platforms” or “Active Usage: Social Platforms” data packs
  22. 22. 22 Instagram (+47%) and LinkedIn (+38%) experienced very healthy rises too, a pattern which reflects the trend towards multi- and more diversified forms of networking as well as the ongoing rise of the smaller social networks. Of course, it’s easier for these smaller networks to record big increases as they start from lower starting points; it’s nevertheless pretty telling that Facebook saw a 9% fall in active users across 2014. Last quarter, we noted that – along with most other social platforms – Facebook had enjoyed a boost during the World Cup; now that this effect has receded, overall engagement is slightly lower than it was a year ago. What’s more, of the 8 biggest social networks, Facebook was the only one to experience a drop – and it’s a pattern which is present in all regions. Naturally, some context is essential here. As we’ve seen, Facebook still has the best figures for membership, active usage and log-in frequency. It also comes a strong second for visitation rates. It’s not that Facebook is being abandoned, then. Rather, it’s that people are using Facebook less intensively or actively than before as it becomes more and more of a hub that underlies our social behaviors instead of hosting them directly. It’s a complex combination of factors which is causing this. For certain behaviors, there are some very specific contributors; it’s not hard to see how the rapid rise of Instagram would cause fewer people to upload photos on Facebook, for example. Similarly, the explosion of mobile messaging apps means that many of the conversations that used to take place inside Facebook have now migrated elsewhere (a trend which was accelerated by Facebook’s decision to remove the messaging functionality from its main app). Chart 16: FACEBOOK: CHANGE IN ACTIVE USAGE OVER 2014 Question: Which of the following services have you used or contributed tointhepastmonthusinganytypeofdevice? /// Source:GlobalWebIndex Q1 2014 & Q4 2014 /// Base: Internet users aged 16-64, exc. China Want to explore this data on the PRO Platform? Enter “Account” or “Active” in the free search box, or click Social Media > Social Platforms > Account Ownership / Active User. Alternatively, you can download our pre-cut “Account Ownership: Social Platforms” or “Active Usage: Social Platforms” data packs At a more general level, though, the rise of mobile networking is playing its part here too. Broadly speaking, mobile visits to social networks tend to be more frequent but shorter and less interactive than those made via other devices. Although there’s no set rule, it is fair to say that – generally – people are more likely to browse their newsfeed and perhaps click the like button than undertake more in-depth activities. And this encourages much more passive forms of engagement where people are more likely to simply look at things rather than interact with them. As a result, many will not consider themselves to be actively engaging with the site, even if they are still visiting it.
  23. 23. 23 All that said, it’s crucial to acknowledge that ad-based revenues on Facebook are underpinned by the proposition of reaching specific audiences. So, as long as membership and visitation rates remain strong – as they are – profits will follow. This is one of the major strengths of Atlas, its new advertising platform; not only can Atlas use the information it knows about you from Facebook to target you while you’re on other websites or in third-party apps, it overcomes the problems of being reliant on cookies. It thus represents a significant leap-forward in terms of mobile tracking in particular, an area where 3rd party cookies have been made redundant through restrictions at the operating-system level, such as those on iOS devices among others. In short, the success of Atlas depends on people being logged in rather than actively engaging with the site; if we bear in mind that more than 4 in 5 adult internet users outside of China currently have a Facebook account – and hence have handed over basic demographic information about themselves as well as a degree of behavioral data derived from their usage habits – the potential reach and accuracy of Atlas is pretty impressive. No wonder it’s been seen by many as a direct challenge to Google’s DoubleClick platform as well as one of the best solutions yet to the challenge of understanding today’s multi-device internet users – able to marry up visits made in different browsers/apps and across different devices. Chart 17: TOP BEHAVIORS ON FACEBOOK Question: Thinking about when you use Facebook, can you please tell us if you have done any of the following within the last month? /// Source: GlobalWebIndex Q4 2014 /// Base: Facebook active users aged 16-64 Want to explore this data on the PRO Platform? Click Social Media > Social Platform Past Month Activities > Facebook Actions. In the same section, PRO Platform users can also explore lists of behaviors specific to Twitter and Google+
  24. 24. 24 More worrying for Facebook are age-based patterns in engagement. As we saw in the last GWI Social, some 50% of members in the UK and US said they were using Facebook less frequently than they used to, with the figure climbing to two thirds among the key – and much coveted – teen demographic (defined here as 16-19s). We find further evidence for this trend in the Q4 results; by looking at the most popular behaviors on Facebook by age, it’s clear that the youngest users are behind others for most of them. As our chart reveals, the differences are rarely profound – with teens in fact slightly ahead of average for clicking the “like” button (arguably the most important interaction of all). Nevertheless, teens lag behind other users on 17 of the options tracked in the chart. Compare that to the situation on Twitter and the particular challenge facing Facebook becomes clearer still; although the differences are once again far from sizable, it’s still revealing that – on Twitter – teens are now ahead of others for 17 behaviors. Across both networks, it’s interesting that teens are more likely than average to say they’re using them in passive ways – e.g. browsing their newsfeed without doing anything, or logging in to see what’s happening without posting/commenting on it. As we saw earlier, younger users maintain the most accounts on a monthly basis, meaning they’re more prone than average to flitting between services without actively engaging with them. Teens are also ahead for liking/following as well as un-liking and un-following – confirming that this audience is the most fickle and subject to fluctuation. Clearly, then, it’s teens who are one of the most demanding segments to keep engaged, a challenge that Facebook now needs to face more than most. Chart 18: TOP BEHAVIORS ON TWITTER Question: Thinking about when you use Twitter, can you please tell us if you have done any of the following within the last month? /// Source: GlobalWebIndex Q4 2014 /// Base: Twitter active users aged 16-64 Want to explore this data on the PRO Platform? Click Social Media > Social Platform Past Month Activities > Twitter Actions. In the same section, PRO Platform users can also explore lists of behaviors specific to Facebook and Google+
  25. 25. 25 16-24s LEAD ON ALL OF THE FASTEST GROWING PLATFORMS Across the three networks which saw the biggest increases during 2014, it is 16-24s who are the most likely to be active users – a trend which confirms that this group is at the very forefront of new networking behaviors. It’s Instagram which records the best figures of all for the 16-24 group, with 16% now using it. On Pinterest, meanwhile, 16-24s and 25-34s share the honors as the most active age brackets Chart 19: ACTIVE USAGE ON THE FASTEST GROWING PLATFORMS Question: Which of the following services have you used or contributed to in the past month using any type of device? /// Source: GlobalWebIndex Q4 2014 /// Base: Internet users aged 16-64 Want to explore this data on the PRO Platform? Enter “Account” or “Active” in the free search box, or click Social Media > Social Platforms > Account Ownership / Active User. Alternatively, you can download our pre-cut “Account Ownership: Social Platforms” or “Active Usage: Social Platforms” data packs
  26. 26. 26 By country, it’s clearly significant that Instagram is now being used by more than a fifth of the online population in 6 of GWI’s 32 countries. Thailand, Turkey and Indonesia top the table for this network although – if we convert national percentages into audience figures – it’s China and the US which represent the biggest markets for the photo-sharing platform. Instagram’s claim that it has overtaken Twitter is simply not validated by our figures, though; Twitter retains a bigger audience of active users in 30 of GWI’s 32 countries (the only exceptions being Hong Kong and Sweden), and this is before Twitter’s “hidden” users are added in. As Instagram’s own recent purge of false and spam accounts suggests, it has trouble validating how many people are actively using it. We explore user figures for both platforms in more detail inside our trends dedicated to Twitter and Instagram. Pinterest can also now boast six countries where a fifth or more are actively using it, with India, the UAE and Indonesia representing its very best markets. By audience size, though, it’s the US, China and India which take the top three spots. By gender, there’s an over-index among women (as there also is on Instagram). For Tumblr, it’s men rather than women who over-index. In terms of countries, there’s a fairly neat divide – with fast-growth nations in the top half and more mature markets in the lower half. So, the 17% who are engaging in the leading countries of India and Indonesia compare to just 9% in the US and 5% in the UK (high figures in India and Indonesia are a direct result of these two countries having the lowest internet penetration rates of all the 32 markets monitored by GWI; with both still below the 20% mark, there’s a very strong skew towards the youngest age groups). Nevertheless, Tumblr’s success in this type of country is in line with the general popularity of blogging and blog-related platforms in emerging internet markets: consumers in these countries are much more vocal when it comes to sharing their own views online as well as engaging with blogs written by other people. As a result, Indian internet users represent a larger segment of Tumblr’s user base than their American counterparts. China is also a major player.
  27. 27. 27 CHINESE PLATFORMS LEAD GROWTH ON THE SMALLER NETWORKS In Chart 15, we concentrated on growth on the 8 biggest social platforms. Here we look at changes in active user and member numbers on the smaller networks; we treat them separately as their smaller overall sizes make it much easier for them to post extremely strong growth rates. Given that China is excluded from these figures, it’s clearly important that Chinese micro-blogging platforms lead the field, with Sina and Tencent Weibo both up by more than 250%. This is being driven principally by growing levels of engagement within the APAC region, as well as by Asian populations resident in other countries. In the US, for example, active usage of both platforms doubled among Asian Americans between Q1 and Q4 2014; the numbers in question might be very modest – with both rising from 2% to 4% - but the pattern is telling nonetheless. That Yammer and Viadeo have also seen strong rises of more than 200% each is a reflection of the rising importance of professional social networks (LinkedIn grew by 38% over the same period). As a result,it’snothardtoseewhyFacebookis launching a dedicated “At Work” service during 2015; with Facebook the only major network to see a drop in usage over the last twelve months, this is a way for it to increase engagement among an existing and highly attractive audience (LinkedIn’s age profile is extremely similar to Facebook’s, and GWI’s data shows that two thirds of LinkedIn’s active users are also active on Facebook). Chart 20: SMALLER SOCIAL PLATFORMS: GROWTH IN MEMBERS AND ACTIVE USERS DURING 2014 Question: Members: On which of the following services do you have an account? // Active users: Which of the following services have you used or contributed to in the past month using any type of device? /// Source: GlobalWebIndex Q1 2014 & Q4 2014 /// Base: Internet users aged 16-64, exc. China Want to explore this data on the PRO Platform? Enter “Account” or “Active” in the free search box, or click Social Media > Social Platforms > Account Ownership / Active User.
  28. 28. 28 Elsewhere in Chart 20, the European networks are the obvious losers; Russia’s Odnoklassniki and VK were down by 6% and 16% respectively, while Poland’s nk dropped by 16%. This continues a trend we’ve been seeing for some time now, with users in Europe migrating away from country-specific platforms towards the more global networks. It’s certainly telling that Dutch site Hyves transformed itself from a social network into a gaming platform, while Spain’s Tuenti has seen active usage fall from 20% back in 2012 to just 5% by the end of 2014. Although country-specific networks in other parts of the world continue to perform well, it’s clear that they have lost a large part of their appeal in Europe. Chart 21: ACTIVE USAGE ON TUENTI Question: Which of the following services have you used or contributed to in the past month using any type of device? Tuenti /// Source: GlobalWebIndex Q4 2014 /// Base: Spanish internet users aged 16-64 Want to explore this data on the PRO Platform? Enter “Account” or “Active” in the free search box, or click Social Media > Social Platforms > Account Ownership / Active User
  29. 29. 29 SOCIAL AND MESSAGING APPS Examining the fastest growing apps 5 FACEBOOK HAS THE TOP SOCIAL AND MESSAGING APPS KEY HEADLINES • Outside of China, Facebook has the leading apps – with 41% using the main one, 27% on Messenger and 25% on WhatsApp. YouTube is the main global challenger for social apps, while Skype is next most important within the messaging space. • Within individual countries, however, other messaging apps can displace Facebook’s – including WeChat in China, Kakao Talk in South Korea and LINE in a handful of APAC markets. • Snapchat was the fastest growing app in 2014 (up 57%), followed by Facebook Messenger, Pinterest and then Instagram. When China is excluded from analysis, the dominance of Facebook over app behaviors is abundantly clear to see. In terms of social apps, Facebook (41%) has a five-point lead over second-placed YouTube (37%), with Google+ (23%) and then Twitter (19%) following behind. Instagram can also claim a decent share – with 16% of adult internet users now using it – but most other apps then post relatively minor figures. Chart 22: TOP SOCIAL AND MESSAGING APPS Question: Which of the following mobile / tablet applications have you used in the past month? (on any device) /// Source: GlobalWebIndex Q4 2014 /// Base: Internet Users aged 16-64, exc. China /// NOTE: Apps being added to the GWI survey in Q1 2015 include BBM, popular in places such as Indonesia, Path, Telegram, Nimbuzz, China’s QQ, India’s Hike, and Vietnam’s Zalo Want to explore this data on the PRO Platform? Enter “Applications” in the free search box or click Apps > Specific Applications > Specific Applications Used. Alternatively, you can download our pre-cut “Mobile Apps Active Usage: Named Apps” data pack
  30. 30. 30 As we saw back in Chart 7, it’s now 42% of adult internet users who say they are actively using Facebook. That 41% are engaging with its app thus shows just how vital mobile traffic has become to the site (and to social networks more generally) and helps to shed light on the reason for its booming profits based on mobile advertising. For messaging apps, Facebook can lay claim to the first and second most-popular apps, with Messenger on 27% and WhatsApp very close behind on 25%. At the start of 2014, WhatsApp had overtaken Messenger as the top messaging app; that Facebook Messenger has reclaimed its number one position is an obvious reflection of the social network removing the messaging functionality from its main app. Globally, the only real challenge to Facebook comes in the form of Skype – an app being used by just under a fifth of the internet population (19%). Names such as Viber, WeChat, LINE and Snapchat then account for minor global shares only although, as Chart 23 indicates, some of these apps can nevertheless dominate in particular countries. Kakao Talk, for example, is the clear number one in South Korea, while LINE is ahead in a handful of APAC countries. WeChat is absolutely dominant in China, which we explore in more detail below. Despite this, the success of Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp in establishing truly global footprints is pretty clear to see; although something of a generalization, it’s broadly the case that Messenger is ahead in mature markets while WhatsApp takes pole position in fast- growth countries – further underlining why it was such a valuable acquisition for Facebook. Chart 23: TOP MESSAGING APPS BY MARKET Question: Which of the following mobile / tablet applications have you used in the past month? (on any device) /// Source: GlobalWebIndex Q4 2014 /// Base: Internet Users aged 16-64 /// NOTE: Apps being added to the GWI survey in Q1 2015 include BBM, popular in places such as Indonesia, Path, Telegram, Nimbuzz, China’s QQ, India’s Hike, and Vietnam’s Zalo Want to explore this data on the PRO Platform? Enter “Applications” in the free search box or click Apps > Specific Applications > Specific Applications Used. Alternatively, you can download our pre-cut “Mobile Apps Active Usage: Named Apps” data pack
  31. 31. 31 SNAPCHAT FASTEST GROWING SOCIAL APP OF 2014 Although Snapchat does not lead in any country, it can lay claim to two particularly important titles. It is the app where teens over-index the most strongly (see the next chapter) and it’s also the one that had the fastest rising audience over the last twelve months – up 57% between Q1 and Q4 2014. As we saw above, Snapchat remains a relatively minor force overall – being used by just 5% of the total internet audience – but this figure is impacted heavily by low engagement rates in the oldest age groups and in certain key markets with large populations. One recent report suggested that Snapchat’s growth flatlined in the second half of 2014; however, this study excluded 16-17 year-olds who, as we explore in the next chapter, are among the biggest users and drivers of growth. Elsewhere, Facebook Messenger increased its audience by 50% as users were forced to adopt it in place of sending messages via the network’s main app. Arguably, therefore, the more organic growth of Instagram and Pinterest (each up by 43%) is more noteworthy. Chart 24: TOP 10 FASTEST GROWING SOCIAL/MESSAGING APPS IN 2014 Question: Which of the following mobile / tablet applications have you used in the past month? /// Source: GlobalWebIndex Q1 2014 - Q4 2014 /// Base: Internet Users aged 16-64, exc. China Want to explore this data on the PRO Platform? Enter “Applications” in the free search box or click Apps > Specific Applications > Specific Applications Used. Alternatively, you can download our pre-cut “Mobile Apps Active Usage: Named Apps” data pack
  32. 32. 32 WECHAT AND QZONE DOMINATE IN CHINA Among Chinese internet users, two apps are significantly ahead in terms of engagement, with Qzone and WeChat being by far the most popular (on 65 each%). WeChat is in fact the world’s top messaging app if the Chinese audience is included. Sina Weibo (53%) and RenRen (30%) also claim significant shares, underlining the dominance of local names in this market, but a number of global names then follow behind – including Google+ (17%), Facebook (16%) and Twitter (13%). Back in Chart 12, we saw that these three international networks were being actively used by 21%, 20% and 18% of Chinese internet users respectively; these figures for app usage show just how important mobiles are as an access point for networks which are subject to official restrictions within China. Along with VPNs and Proxy Servers, mobiles are thus a major route for Chinese networkers looking to access global services – explaining why names like Facebook and Twitter have much bigger audiences in China than is often recognized. Chart 25: TOP 15 SOCIAL AND MESSAGING APPS IN CHINA Question: Which of the following mobile/tablet applications have you used in the past month? /// Source: GlobalWebIndex Q4 2014 /// Base: Internet Users in China aged 16-64 Want to explore this data on the PRO Platform? Enter “Applications” in the free search box or click Apps > Specific Applications > Specific Applications Used. Alternatively, you can download our pre-cut “Mobile Apps Active Usage: Named Apps” data pack
  33. 33. 33 AGE TRENDS Tracking social behaviors by age 6 TUMBLR AND SNAPCHAT HAVE THE YOUNGEST AUDIENCES KEY HEADLINES • Tumblr is the youngest social network, with 39% of active users aged 16-24. In the mobile messaging space, Snapchat is by far the youngest; more than half of its members are 16-24. • LinkedIn and Facebook are the “oldest” social networks, while Skype and Kakao Talk claim this title when it comes to messaging apps. • Teens over-index more strongly for Snapchat than for any other app, with particularly high engagement rates in the UK, Sweden and the USA. • During 2014, Facebook saw a drop in active usage among all five age groups, but for 16-24s (-11%) and 25-34s (-12%) in particular. Of the 8 biggest social platforms outside of China, it is Tumblr which has the youngest active user base; over 70% of its audience comes from the 16-34 bracket, with a particularly impressive 39% drawn from the key 16-24 group. Instagram follows very closely behind to claim the next youngest audience; 37% of its active users are 16-24 and a further 33% are 25-34. At the other end of the spectrum, LinkedIn now has the oldest audience; just 24% of active users come from the 16-24 age group, whereas 45% are over 35. Given its raison d’etre, however, this type of profile is to be expected. Perhaps more significant is that Facebook is only just behind LinkedIn as the second-oldest network. In fact, while 23% of LinkedIn users are 45+, 25% of Facebook’s audience are from these oldest groups.
  34. 34. 34 In part, Facebook’s older user base is a natural consequence of it being the most popular network globally – and the one that older users are therefore most likely to have joined too. Clearly, the audience on a platform like Tumblr might be much younger, but it’s much smaller too. Facebook can also point to the young user base of Instagram. Even so, that YouTube and Twitter both have higher shares of 16-24s than Facebook is a sign of how behaviors have been evolving in recent years. It’s also a reflection of Facebook’s ageing user base; original adopters – now within the 25-34 age bracket – are still active on the site, but today’s youngest generation are not quite as enthusiastic as their predecessors. In terms of mobile messaging tools, Snapchat has the youngest audience; 83% of its users are under 35 (by way of comparison, the equivalent figures on WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are 63% and 64%). Kik, WeChat and Line can also boast that more than a third of their users are from the key 16-24 demographic, whereas a service like Skype has a much older audience – a result, in part, of it being popular as a family communication tool. Chart 26: ACTIVE USERS OF THE TOP SOCIAL PLATFORMS AND MESSAGING TOOLS, BY AGE Question: Which of the following services have you used or contributed to in the past month using any type of device? e.g. PC/laptop, mobile phone, tablet, etc. // Which of the following mobile/tablet applications have you used in the past month? (on any device) /// Source: GlobalWebIndex Q4 2014 /// Base: Active social network and active app users aged 16-64, exc. China Want to explore this data on the PRO Platform? Enter “Account” or “Active” in the free search box, or click Social Media > Social Platforms > Account Ownership / Active User. Alternatively, you can download our pre-cut “Account Ownership: Social Platforms” or “Active Usage: Social Platforms” data packs. For apps, enter “Applications” in the free search box or click Apps > Specific Applications > Specific Applications Used. Alternatively, you can download our pre-cut “Mobile Apps Active Usage: Named Apps” data pack
  35. 35. 35 TEENS OVER-INDEX HUGELY FOR SNAPCHAT Further evidence for Snapchat’s immense popularity among the teen demographic comes from Chart 27; across all of the social and messaging apps tracked by GWI, it is for Snapchat where we see 16-19s over-indexing the most strongly. Teens are in fact more than three times as likely to be using Snapchat as the average internet user. China excluded, it’s still only 15% of teens globally who are engaging with Snapchat. However, this relatively modest worldwide figure masks some much higher percentages from particular markets, especially in the North America and Europe regions. If we look at teens on a market-by-market basis specifically, it’s in the UK, Sweden and the US where Snapchat engagement is highest. What’s more, in both Sweden and the US Snapchat is actually more popular than either Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp among this most prestigious of demographics – a trend which helps to explain why the service remains such a frustration for Facebook. Elsewhere, teens are also noticeably ahead on services such as Kik Messenger (3.13 over-index), Vine (2.84 over-index), Tumblr (2.56) and Instagram (1.57). The latter shows just how vital Facebook’s acquisitions have been; while 16-19s are slightly more likely than average to be using Facebook’s main or Messenger apps, their strong adoption of Facebook-owned Instagram means that this key group is still active within the wider Facebook eco-system. Chart 27: TEEN USAGE OF SOCIAL AND MESSAGING APPS Question: Which of the following mobile / tablet applications have you used in the past month? (on any device) /// Source: GlobalWebIndex Q3 2014 /// Base: Internet Users aged 16-64, exc. China Want to explore this data on the PRO Platform? Enter “Applications” in the free search box or click Apps > Specific Applications > Specific Applications Used. Alternatively, you can download our pre-cut “Mobile Apps Active Usage: Named Apps” data pack
  36. 36. 36 FACEBOOK SEES SMALL DECLINE AMONG 16-24s Back in Chart 15, we saw that Facebook was the only major network to experience a decline in active usage during 2014. Look at this by age and it’s clear that this decrease was a cross-demographic one: Facebook usage stayed flat among 55-64s and fell among all four of the other age groups. Tellingly, the biggest decreases of all were in the 16-34 age range. As we stressed earlier, context is everything: Facebook is still number one, after all. Nevertheless, the fact that there are just two other drops across the whole of Chart 28 – of -1% for 16-24s on Twitter and -1% for 25-34s on Google+ – does give more evidence of the challenges which Facebook needs to tackle. We should of course recognize that the larger existing user bases of Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Google+ make it harder to them to record high levels of growth, but the dramatic increases seen on platforms like Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram are nevertheless in line with the move towards more diversified forms of networking where the smaller and more specialized platforms are the big beneficiaries. Pinterest’s particularly strong growth among 16-24s is especially noteworthy. Chart 28: CHANGES IN ACTIVE USER NUMBERS DURING 2014, BY AGE Question: Which of the following services have you used or contributed to in the past month using any type of device? e.g. PC/laptop, mobile phone, tablet, etc. /// Source: GlobalWebIndex Q1 2014 and Q4 2014 /// Base: Internet users aged 16-64, exc. China Want to explore this data on the PRO Platform? Enter “Account” or “Active” in the free search box, or click Social Media > Social Platforms > Account Ownership / Active User. Alternatively, you can download our pre-cut “Account Ownership: Social Platforms” or “Active Usage: Social Platforms” data packs
  37. 37. 37 16-24s OVER-INDEX FOR CELEBRITIES AND CONTENT GWI’s survey tracks more than 15 different motivations for using social networks, with staying in touch with friends being the most important across all age groups. However, looking at where each group over-indexes the most gives further context for why some networks did especially well in 2014. Among the youngest users, celebrities and content have particular relative importance – showing why this bracket are enthusiastic about sites like Pinterest and Tumblr. For 25-44s, it’s work-related reasons that have special resonance. Consequently, it’s not hard to see why platforms such as LinkedIn, Yammer and Viadeo have all been experiencing growth. Equally telling is that the oldest group score the best figures for using networks out of habit or because their friends use them too. Little wonder, then, that the drop in Facebook usage was least pronounced in this age group. Finally, it’s worth recognizing that sharing photos or videos is the fifth biggest motivation of all; that this behavior has been falling on Facebook gives further evidence that alternative platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest are capturing much of the activity that Facebook used to host directly. Indeed, as we discuss in our new Passive Facebooking trend, those users who say they are browsing Facebook without posting/commenting on anything are more likely than average to be on platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram too. Facebook might still be number one, then, but it’s operating in an ever more crowded space where it’s no longer the default go-to point it once was. Chart 29: SOCIAL NETWORKING MOTIVATIONS, BY AGE Question: Question: What are you main reasons for using social networking services? /// Source: GlobalWebIndex Q4 2014 /// Base: Social networkers aged 16-64, exc. China Want to explore this data on the PRO Platform? Enter “Motivations” in the free search box, or click Social Media > Social Network Services > Motivations to use a Social Network
  38. 38. 38 FUTURE OUTLOOK 7 • Despite finding ways to post quarter-on-quarter rises in its own self-published figures, the reality for Facebook is that its future growth levels will be modest at best. Increasingly, it is having to rely on fast-growth markets – where internet populations continue to expand rapidly each year – to add new members in any meaningful quantities; elsewhere, it has reached saturation point and is now employing an extremely broad definition of active usage. It knows that it can’t keep growing exponentially and hence will need to look for new ideas, and new audience types, to maintain momentum and to keep investors/headline writers happy. Enter services like Facebook at Work as well as its new offering for Tor users – which represent ways to increase engagement among existing audiences. We can expect to see more of this during 2015. • For services like Twitter and YouTube, monetizing “hidden” users will become more and more important. With many now visiting these sites without logging in or even registering as a member, looking at “active user” rates alone will only provide a partial picture of total engagement. • While Facebook continues to dominate traditional social networking and maintains a virtually unchallengeable reach, no service is yet to establish this type of dominance in the mobile messaging space – with WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Snapchat and others all doing extremely well in particular markets or among certain demographics but not having universal popularity. These names will battle for supremacy during 2015, along with new messaging services from other major players (rumor has it that Google will be releasing a messenger-style offering in the months ahead, for example). Monetization will also be a key area to watch; at present, messaging apps are attempting to grab the largest possible audiences but at some point in the near future it will be potential revenues which come to the fore. • Inevitably, the year ahead will see more headlines which proclaim the “death of Facebook” or the “end of social networking”. While behaviors will certainly continue to evolve and diversify, it’s simply not the case that traditional networking as we know it will suddenly disappear.
  39. 39. 39 www.globalwebindex.net Jason Mander Head of Trends E: jason@globalwebindex.net /// O: +44 20 7731 1614 A Trendstream Limited, Bedford House, 69-79 Fulham High Street, London, SW6 3JW, England

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