Last week I looked at how local market social networks are still successfully competing with Facebook in certain countries around the world. This week, in contrast, I wanted to delve a bit deeper into a distinct type of consumer segment, the triple device user (myself included in that category). By triple device users I mean people who actively access the internet via PC/laptop, mobile phone, and tablet devices. This segment, at the moment, still resembles a typical early adopter segment that is more male and tends to be younger adults in most countries around the world.

One key point to remember is that the trend in triple-device users has been clearly increasing since the introduction of the iPad in 2010, and triple-device usage is fast moving to the mainstream particularly in more advanced markets such as the US and UK. The fact that Facebook penetration in these two countries is nearly the same among triple device users as it is for the average social networker testifies to this trend. As we examined last week, there are big local social network players in markets like Russia, but Russian triple device users are more than twice as likely to use Facebook than the average Russian social networker. If we extrapolate the trend we see in the US and the UK, it seems that Facebook has significant growth opportunities in Russia and other emerging markets, especially if its recent investments in mobile technology pay off.

What is more telling, however, is how much more prevalent usage of Google+ and LinkedIn are across all of our five example markets. This is where we truly see how much more social our triple device users are compared to the average social networker around the world. For example, triple device users are more than twice as likely to be using Google+ than the average everywhere except Brazil where Orkut (being rolled into Google+ as I write) still has a strong user base. LinkedIn too is a much more popular social destination among triple device users in our five markets. In Brazil and the US, for example, triple device users are over twice as likely to use LinkedIn. In the UK and Germany, they are three times more likely to use LinkedIn, and in Russia, they are over four times more likely to use the professional social network.

I, personally, am not surprised by the data figures above. The GlobalWebIndex has consistently revealed how consumers are shifting to more niche social networks that address specific needs they have within their lives. At the sociological level, none of us are the same person we are with our family as we are with our friends or as we are with our colleagues. People’s behaviour online reflects this as they become more and more concerned about how they’re representing themselves online to all of their social groups. The online future for brands looks ever more complicated. In reality, targeting and strategy will be less about using a shotgun approach to community marketing on Facebook as it has up to this point and more about knowing who your customer is on each of these platforms, why they’re using them in the first place, and how that affects the types of brand engagement they’re going to respond to. Answering these critical questions is, in essence, the mission of the GlobalWebIndex.

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