The social media landscape is ever-changing and evolving, and some of the trends that we have seen over the past nine months since the release of our Q2 2012 dataset have been fascinating.

These trends are covered in our latest Stream Social Q1 2013 report, and the most significant trends are:

  • A rise in active engagement across all social platforms with Twitter the fastest growing
  • Local social platforms continue their decline around the world with the exception of China and Russia
  • Mobile is playing a massive role in driving real-time active usage of social platforms in all markets
  • Older internet users are also driving social platforms growth globally
  • Google+ remains the number 2 social platform in the world with 359 million monthly active users

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Starting with Facebook, the world’s largest social network has seen its total number of active users (defined by those who have used or contributed to the service in the past month) increase by 35% between Q2 2012 and Q1 2013. Twitter has seen even faster active user growth, and at 44% growth in the same period, is currently the fastest-growing social platform in the world by active users. Google+ continues to register strong growth as well with its active users base growing by 33% between Q2 2012 and Q1 2013.

The driving forces behind these impressive performances – especially interesting given the evidence of “Facebook Fatigue” we found couple years ago – are two key factors: mobile and older users.

Mobile is by far the main factor, and since Q1 2011, the number of people access the internet via a mobile phone has increased by 60.3% to 818.4 million across the 31 GWI markets.

Further evidence to support the fact that mobile is driving social can be found when we compare the active social platform usage of iOS and Android users to the average. iOS and Android users are significantly more likely to use Facebook, Twitter and Google+ compared to the average internet user around the world. For example, iOS users in Germany, France, the Netherlands, the US,and the UK are nearly twice as likely to use Twitter compared to the average and in Poland, they are four times more likely to use the micro-blogging service.

The impact of older user groups is more limited but still significant. Between Q2 2012 and Q1 2013 Twitter’s fastest growing age demographic was 55 to 64 year olds, registering an increase in active users of 79%. Both Facebook’s and Google+’s fastest growing age demographic was 45 to 54 year olds, growing by 46% and 56% respectively.

Importantly, these trends have increased Facebook’s active user to accounts ratio to 82% while Twitter and Google+ see their active user ratios at 62% and 60% respectively.

It is clear that both the social platforms and the marketers that use them to engage consumers will need to adopt a mobile first strategy in future.

This brings with it significant opportunities for brands to leverage social, mobile, in-store, TV, outdoor, and print using creative, integrated campaigns and engagement strategies.

In my opinion, we are just starting to see the innovation in marketing that will occur due to the constantly connected world that is emerging, and I’m excited about the opportunities and innovations to come!


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