What do four out of five Facebook accounts have in common? According to a new report by globalwebindex, 82% of Facebook accounts are active users (compared to 62% for Twitter and 60% for Google Plus). Despite their differences, things are looking good for all concerned (though there is one conspicuous red flag).
Facebook has the highest percentage of active users.
It's one thing to have the largest social network in the world, but for it to have 30% more active participation than it's competitors is awfully impressive. This is the social network that may or may not be losing millions of customers each month, so it will be interesting to see what Facebook self-reports to the SEC and what other third-party apps report. If Facebook was able to maintain its user base affinity despite its EdgeRank filter and myriad advertising tactics, this would be a huge victory for them.
The study also revealed that year-over, Twitter saw 44% active user growth compared to 35% for Facebook and 33% for Google Plus. So it may be that Google Plus isn't necessarily seen as a replacement for Twitter or Facebook but as a "third way." In any event, it appears that Twitter was gaining momentum even before Vine and #music were introduced onto the platform. It will be interesting to see if the platform can continue this rate of growth.
The study also anoints Google Plus as the number two social network by size (discounting YouTube)., although in the comments of the study synopsis the analyst puts some doubt into that assertion by intimating that the number reflects the entire Google site and not just plus.google.com. So that happened.
Here's the red flag.
By all accounts this looks like a pretty comprehensive look at social media globally. However, in this study globalwebindex asserts that men are the dominant gender on all of the aforementioned social networks. This is consistent with conventional wisdom about Google Plus and LinkedIn, but for Facebook and Twitter, this is a radical departure from conventional wisdom and many other third-party reports. Because this is a global study there may be higher male usership outside of the U.S., Canada and U.K.. But particularly for Twitter which has 70% of it's user base in the U.S, Canada, and U.K., it would take a supermajority of male users in the other countries to get active male usership to the 61% that they claim. I'm not saying it's untrue, I'm just saying I've never seen a gender demographic for Twitter or Facebook that skewed male, so this point may require further substantiation.
This study was a self-reported study of social media behavior, so it's very possible that the sample wasn't representative of internet user demographics. That said, the patterns of growth that the study describes are compared to a similar sample of users so they may be valid insights with skewed percentages. In any event, this data is compelling. It will interesting to see if subsequent studies substantiate these findings.
What do you think? Have you noticed growth on Twitter? Increased activity on Facebook? What do you make of Google Plus (possibly) being the #2 social network?