In a previous post, we looked at the rising popularity of mobile messaging and social networking apps between Q2 and Q4 2013 – noting growth across the board and particularly strong rises for services such as WeChat.

Here we turn our attention to engagement with social networks proper, tracking changes in estimated user numbers across all devices.

The figures reveal that Instagram made the biggest gains during the second half of 2013, increasing its estimated audience size by 23% to 90.77 million. It’s worth noting that Instagram also has one of the greatest shares of 16-24s among its active user base, something which is clearly contributing to its growth.

A strong rise was also recorded by Reddit (+13%), with small to modest increases for a range of others (including LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, Quora, Google+ and Twitter). And with this data excluding China due to the distorting effects it can have on global figures, the rises seen for micro-blogging sites Tencent Weibo and Sina Weibo represent growth outside of their home market.

At the other end of the spectrum, Facebook recorded a slight drop in its estimated active user numbers between Q2 and Q4. But a dip of -3% is hardly illustrative of widespread abandonment, as some recent reports have claimed (we’ve rebuffed this elsewhere). Facebook’s active user base still remains considerably ahead of the 500 million mark, making it the leading social platform by quite some distance.

Among the major platforms, Myspace experienced the biggest drop, down 12% and with an estimated audience which is now smaller than that of Tumblr. Along with several country-specific networks across Europe which also lost considerable numbers of active users between Q2 and Q4 (e.g. Hyves, Tuenti, MeinVZ, Copains d’Avant), it’s here that there’s more cause for concern.

For the latest insights social media platforms, check out our brand new GWI Social report.


Written by

Jason is Chief Research Officer at GWI. He's the main man who leads our global team of analysts, delivering world-renowned research. He's an in-demand data junkie who you might see popping up on your telly screens every so often to show you what's actually happening in the lives of consumers.

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