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The astonishing growth of all things digital continues to gather pace around the world, as We Are Social’s new Social, Digital & Mobile Worldwide report on the key social, digital and mobile stats from around the world demonstrates.
It should come as little surprise that much of this growth is being fuelled by connected mobile devices, but this year’s data do reveal some interesting trends and anomalies, especially in relation to Japan and Korea.
You’ll find the complete story in the SlideShare deck above, but we’ve pulled out some of the highlights below.
Adding up all the users in individual countries around the world, there appear to be around 2.5 billion global internet users today – roughly 35% of the world’s population:
While this represents around 150 million more users than this time last year, these numbers may still be conservative. Reliable, recent data for some countries remains patchy, but the International Communications Union estimates that there are probably closer to 3 billion global internet users, with most of the difference made up by mobile-only connections.
Users are still not distributed evenly either, with some parts of the world still struggling to reach double-digit internet penetration. In particular, Africa, Central and Southern Asia all report relatively low numbers, although it’s worth highlighting that mobile internet users may contribute a significant – yet uncounted – increase in these areas.
With reference to the continued growth in internet penetration, it seems clear that mobile connections will account for the vast majority of new sign-ups in the coming months. As the chart below highlights, the distribution of mobile penetration matches much more closely to the distribution of the world’s population, meaning most people around the world now have a realistic opportunity to access the internet:
The cost of mobile data clearly remains a barrier in much of the remaining world, but as costs continue to fall, and as the benefits continue to increase, it’s likely we’ll see more and more people in the developing world putting increased importance on reliable internet access.
Social channels continued to show strong growth over the past 12 months, with top social networks adding more than 135 million new users in the course of 2013.
This number is slightly misrepresentative of actual growth though, as we’ve decided to focus solely on monthly active user figures to report social media usage in this year’s report. As a result, some numbers may appear lower than they did this time last year (when we used total registered user numbers for some platforms), while the actual growth in active usage may appear smaller than it really was.
Due to the different usage contexts, associated behaviours and opportunities for brands, we’ve also chosen to treat chat apps such as WhatsApp and WeChat separately to social networks in this year’s report.
However, these platforms continue to capture significant interest from users and marketers alike, a trend reflected in their huge active user bases:
It also appears that social media is now an engrained part of the lives of people across different demographic groups. This increased ubiquity may result in some changes to the specific demographic bases of individual platforms, but even if people’s habits are changing, it appears that people are moving from one social platform to another, rather than deserting social media in its entirety.
Despite this increasing ubiquity, though, social media penetration remains unevenly distributed around the world:
As might be expected, mobile is playing an increasingly important part in the social media landscape. Facebook reports that almost three quarters of its 1.2 billion monthly active users around the world access the platform through mobile, while on any given day, almost half of its users are mobile only.
The importance of mobile is mirrored across other platforms too, with Twitter increasingly a mobile-dominated platform, and platforms like WhatsApp, WeChat and Instagram depending entirely on a mobile ecosystem.
Given the above, most marketers have now accepted that mobile devices are people’s most important devices, but the opportunities they offer continue to evolve at a staggering pace.
Connected mobile devices have already outpaced more traditional means of internet access such as laptops and PCs, while smartphone sales now outnumber those of feature phones around the world too.
The number of mobile subscriptions jumped by 173 million in 2013, and the number of active mobile subscriptions around the world now equates to roughly 93% of the world’s population.
Penetration rates are more healthy all over the world too, with two-thirds of Africa’s population now mobile powered. Meanwhile, many regions – including those in the developing world – have penetration levels far in excess of 100%:
Mobile broadband access has exploded around the world in recent months too, and 1.5 billion people now have access to relatively fast internet from their mobile devices:
A Regional View
While the picture in many Western countries has converged, there are a number of areas around the world that maintain their idiosyncrasies. In particular, China and Eastern Europe continue to prefer local social networks, while Africa, Central and South Asia are considerably under-represented when it comes to internet penetration:
The world’s most populous region saw another strong year of growth across all things digital in 2013.
China’s social media giants continue to post strong growth, whether it’s active users on Qzone, or the incredible growth of Weixin (WeChat).
However, both Japan and South Korea have seen some fragmentation of the social media landscape, with chat apps like LINE and Kakaotalk continuing to gain momentum. Neither company releases monthly active user numbers though, so it’s hard to know exactly how these platforms compare to the more traditional networks like Facebook and Twitter.
Interestingly, however, ‘claimed’ usage of social media in both countries differs dramatically from the picture painted by Facebook’s monthly active user numbers, suggesting that Northeast Asia’s netizens may be harnessing a wider variety of platforms.
Facebook continues to lead Twitter in both countries though, and appears to maintain its top spot almost everywhere.
China and countries in Eastern Europe host the few exceptions to Facebook’s global dominance, with Qzone and VKontakte claiming the top spots in a handful of nations.
However, with more than 1 billion monthly active users, it’s safe to say that Facebook will continue to play a central role in the social media landscape in 2014 too.
The Local Picture
We’ve gone into an extra level of detail in this year’s report too, offering insights into the local digital ecosystem across 24 of the world’s biggest economies:
Alongside offering the key digital indicators, we’ve also collated some key behavioural indicators, including time spent on the internet and on social media, as well as the prevalence of important activities on connected mobile devices.
You’ll find all the facts and figures for each country in the complete 180+ page report on SlideShare (as embedded at the top of this post).
Continuing our series of data snapshots for Social, Digital and Mobile usage worldwide, we’re pleased to share the latest numbers for the different regions around the world.
All indicators show significant growth since last year’s worldwide report, with mobile clearly the driving force for all aspects of our connected lives.
Internet penetration adds an extra 3 points year-on-year to reach exactly one third of the world’s population, posting growth of a quarter of a billion new users in the past 12 months.
Much of this growth has come from ‘developing’ nations, with Asia accounting for a significant proportion of the global growth.
Social media usage is up by almost the same volume, registering an additional 240 million new users in 2012.
However, in markets like China, the biggest shift we’ve been tracking is a change in usage patterns between different platforms, rather than growth in the absolute number of users of social networks.
Facebook continues to dominate the worldwide picture with close to a billion monthly active users, but Chinese platforms take the remaining 4 of the top 5 slots.
Sina and Tencent’s weibo offerings are clearly the biggest success stories over the past year, growing both their registered and active user bases by hundreds of millions.
Google+ has also made big gains since last year, although its 235 million monthly active users don’t quite give it enough weight to achieve ‘Global Top 5′ status. However, with more than 500 million registered users, it’s clear that Google+ has plenty more potential, and is surely one to watch in 2013.
Twitter continues its stellar growth too, passing 200 million active users a couple of months ago. The West’s favourite microblogging platform also passed the half-billion registered users milestone last year, and its popularity shows little sign of slowing.
Vkontakte continues to play an important role in Central and Eastern Europe, with the latest figures suggesting the platform has amassed just shy of 200 million registered users.
Meanwhile, the new breed of ‘Instant Messenger Plus’ platforms like WeChat (Weixin), Line and KakaoTalk look set to change the global social media landscape over the next few months, with Tencent’s WeChat already surpassing 300 million registered users.
The mobile growth story continues to impress, with more than half a billion new subscriptions activated around the world in 2012.
Mobile subscription penetration now exceeds 91% of the world’s population, and although like-for-like data are hard to come by, it seems mobile now reaches at least as many people around the world as television.
All indicators suggest continued growth throughout 2013 too, so the critical question marketers need to answer now is,
How are we going to integrate all of these opportunities into a consistent and engaging approach that builds real brand value?
The answers to that question will be central to our posts in the coming months here on the We Are Social blog.
Are you a spontaneous type who thrives on adventure and new experiences? A self-confessed social media addict who loves taking and sharing photos too? Well, you’d better listen up!
Volvic are on the hunt to find top-class, naturally bursting with life Content Creators to form part of Team Volcanicity 2013.
As you may have read in Marketing, we’ve recently launched a facebook app for Volvic UK which allows fans to apply to become part of the 2013 team who’ll be responsible for bringing ‘moments of Volcanicity’ to the masses, by capturing photos and sharing the scoop from festivals, gigs and trips up and down the country live on the Volvic UK facebook wall.
Those lucky enough to be selected will be supplied with a state-of-the-art camera plus funding towards adventures, or, exclusive access to some of the hottest gigs and events of the year.
To enter, fans simply have to upload a photo which expresses their Volcanicity along with a short description of what their idea of the best 2013 ever would be.
Entries are being accepted up until midnight on Friday 8th February (so if this is your thing, there’s still time to enter!).
In order to drive as much reach and engagement of the campaign as possible, Volvic are asking facebook fans to vote on their favourite competition entries. Those who vote will be entered into a weekly prize draw to win a Red Letter Day voucher so that they can choose an awesome Volcanicity experience of their choice.
Voting closes at midnight on Thursday 14th February and the top 5 entrants with the highest number of votes will be fast tracked to the next stage in the selection process, by-passing the judges. The remaining finalists will be selected based on the amount of Volcanicity expressed in their entry photo, in addition to whether the description of what their idea of the best 2013 is catches the panel’s attention.
One of the challenges which was put to us before launching this campaign was to make sure we help Volvic’s facebook fans to understand what ‘Volcanicity’ actually is…and because we love a challenge, we gladly accepted it. The output? Well, from the beginning of this year, not only did we ensure the facebook content was actively engaging fans with light-hearted ‘Volcanicity’ related games and updates, but we also reached out and secured 3 influential bloggers, who already demonstrate Volcanicity on their blogs, to introduce to the Facebook community as Team Volcanicity’s Founding Members.
We’ve already started sending our Team Volcanicity Founding Members on trips and adventures to capture content to share on the Volvic UK facebook page. We’ve been posting their content daily to firstly build buzz around the types of activities and events fans could take part in if they’re selected as part of the final team and, secondly, to demonstrate the sort of content we’re looking for from our entrants.
The quality of the entries so far have been really promising – there are definitely people out there who are already capturing moments of Volcanicity as part of their every day life, and it’s these people who are likely to be winning their ticket to the next round in the selection process.
What’s really exciting about all of this, is that finding the team is just the beginning for Volvic. The big idea behind the campaign is to be one of the first brands to put the Facebook content in the hands of the fans.
As we know, Facebook is pushing brands to deliver content that’s as relevant as the status updates we see from our friends. Ultimately, Team Volcanicity will become the page’s Community Managers, so that the content which is posted is much more likely to resonate with their peers and drive engagement.
The launch of the Team Volcanicity campaign has been a great kick-start to the year for Volvic – be sure to check out the Volvic UK page over the next few weeks to see who makes it into the final Team and follow their adventures as they bring Volcanicity to the masses.
The online environment in Pakistan is changing rapidly, as a quick comparison between today’s report and our first edition from December 2011 will testify.
The key headlines from this second edition are as follows:
- Pakistan has almost 30 million internet users, although penetration remains low at just 15%;
- Social Media use has grown by almost 50% since our last report, passing 8 million monthly users in the past couple of weeks;
- Mobile continues to grow quickly, with the country’s telcos adding more than 1 million new subscriptions each month in 2012.
As ever with our SDMW reports though, it’s the more focused details that tell the best stories.
With more than two thirds of Pakistan’s 190 million inhabitants below the age of 30, it’s clear that the nation benefits from a young and dynamic population.
Furthermore, despite financial challenges – the average income in Pakistan is less than $3,000 per year – Pakistanis are embracing connected devices and the content that they offer.
Interestingly, 80% of Pakistan’s netizens spend more than one hour each day on the internet, although the average ‘internet session’ lasts just 5 minutes, suggesting that Pakistanis go online multiple times each day for short ‘browsing snacks’.
The majority of netizens use laptops to access the internet, although 30% of internet users go online via a mobile phone – perhaps unsurprising given that more than 100 million mobile subscriptions have been activated in Pakistan to date.
Mobile penetration still remains relatively low however, at just over 60% – well below Asia’s regional average of 82%.
Social media penetration also remains acutely low, with barely 4% of the country’s population using Facebook, even though the site appears to maintain its position as the most popular social network in the country.
Social media remains a largely male preserve too, with men accounting for almost 70% of the country’s social media users.
However, Facebook is adding new users in Pakistan at a rate of one every 12 seconds, and 28% of social media users make use of 2 or more platforms, suggesting plenty of potential for growth in social media use in the country during 2013.
Crucially for marketers, two thirds of the country’s Facebook users are below the age of 25, and more than half of them come from the country’s richest 10% of households, resulting in a highly concentrated social media audience of young, affluent consumers.
Nearly three quarters of these users log in to Facebook daily too, and spend an average of 40 minutes on the site each day, mostly between 6pm and midnight.
Twitter users hover around the 2 million mark, although some estimates put Pakistan’s Twitter population closer to 3 million. Google+ also appears to have a certain popularity in Pakistan, although exact user numbers are harder to come by.
As with many countries around Asia though, the real excitement lies in mobile. Someone takes out a new mobile subscription every 2 seconds in Pakistan, resulting in growth of 46,500 new subscriptions every day.
Despite this impressive growth, however, mobile internet usage remains sparse, and just 15 million people in the country access internet services via mobile, even though the government reports that 64% of the population has the potential to access mobile internet services.
Of those who already access the internet via mobile, 75% do so via Symbian-powered devices, and most people in Pakistan continue to rely on feature phones.
Lack of 3G coverage may play a role in the slow uptake of mobile internet, and extending the coverage of these faster networks beyond today’s paltry 0.4% of the population would likely boost the country’s online connectivity.
These numbers all point to significant opportunities for growth though, so Pakistan is certainly another one to watch for 2013.
The sources for all the stats can be found at the bottom of each slide in the SlideShare deck above. You can download a high-res PDF of this report here.
Hands up if you’ve already broken your New Year’s resolution? If you’re anything like me, you probably gave up on your vow to stop eating cake/drinking cocktails/taking unnecessary taxis (delete where applicable) by the time the first day back at work came around.
New Year’s resolutions really can be a bore. Luckily for us, evian has recognised this and instead of focussing on the depressing side of having to give up your favourite things in gloomy January, they’re here to put a smile on our faces. And, as you may have read in Ad Age, we’ve been working with evian to bring their ‘Live young January’ campaign to life by creating a live social hub on Facebook which pulls together all the latest online and offline activity surrounding the campaign.
At the centre of the activity are 31 different ways to help you Live young this month. These range from playing rock, paper, scissors for helping make decisions, to making a den in your living room – for evian, Living young isn’t about age, it’s a mindset. Every day throughout January, we’ve been posting a new way to Live young on the evian UK Facebook wall and, so far, engagement rates have been soaring, showing that the campaign is having great traction amongst the fans. And whilst we’re talking fans, in just 1 week, the Facebook fan base has increased by a whopping 21,000 likes.
To drive further engagement around the campaign on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, we’re also running a competition giving fans the opportunity to win the ultimate Live young experience – a trip to Lapland to see the Northern Lights. Entrants simply need to submit a photo showing themselves Living young this month for their chance to win.
What’s really great about the Live young January activity, is that it’s truly integrated. We’ve been working as part of a cross-agency team with Havas Worldwide, Mediaedge CIA, Shine Communications and Live and Breathe to bring the campaign to life across all channels. In case you haven’t seen or heard about it, evian brought a giant pink snow-making ‘Live young playground‘ to London last week with the aim of encouraging commuters to find their inner Live young spirit by taking time out to play. There were digital panels on the underground to cheer up the commute and promote the playground, plus, there’s been lots of conversation on Twitter from people enjoying the magic of snow falling around them as they swing.
Of course, we wanted to maximise the reach and conversational buzz around the offline activity online and, with this in mind, we hooked up with a couple of influential bloggers in London and took them on a ‘Live young January’ day to remember. We started at the evian swings in Canary Wharf and gave them goodie bags containing envelopes which enclosed some of the 31 ways to Live young as clues to where we would be taking them throughout the day. From exploring the wonders of Hamley’s toy shop and indulging in a Mad Hatter’s themed afternoon tea, to a karaoke session and a street art graffiti lesson to unlock their creativity; the day was tailored to ensure the bloggers had plenty of Live young content to capture and blog about.
It’s going to be an exciting couple of weeks building on the early results we’ve seen so far. The evian UK ‘Live young January’ campaign is live until, well…er, the end of January (!), so if, like me, you’re not always the best at sticking to those month long New Year resolutions, why not forget about taking yourself too seriously and aim to do a daily Live young challenge instead?
Happy New Year!