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In Norway, Facebook Reigns as Google+ Gains

Most Facebookers check the site at least daily, but growth has stalled for some age groups

July 8, 2014 | Social Media

Facebook continues to dominate Norway’s social media landscape, as 77% of internet users have a profile there—about 3.1 million people. Usage is high, too, with nearly four in five users saying they visit Facebook every day, according to data from Ipsos MMI. The firm recently surveyed a representative sample of Norway’s web users to learn how many were members of the major social networks, including Facebook, Google+, Snapchat and Instagram—and how much time they spent on those sites.

Social Media Users in Norway, by Site, April 2014 (millions and % of internet users)

Though Facebook had an overwhelming lead in user numbers, Google+ had become the second-largest social media site in the country, with 1.2 million people (30% of web users) registered there. Young adults ages 18 to 29 were the main drivers of this expansion, with Google+ membership among this age group rising to 49% in less than two years.

Frequency with Which Social Media Users in Norway Use Social Media Sites, April 2014 (% of total)

Engagement was much lower than on Facebook, though, with just 20% of Google+ users in Norway saying they visited daily. Ipsos MMI suggested that infrequent usage was a natural consequence of Google using other services, such as Gmail, YouTube and Google Play, as recruitment conduits to Google+; thus, many users of those services have a profile on Google+ without knowing it—and without being tempted to use the social dimension more than occasionally, if at all.

Instagram and Snapchat had also logged significant growth in the past year; 55% of 18- to 29-year-olds in Norway used the former in early 2014, while the latter was a runaway success in that age group, with 73% penetration. Both of these sites also fostered strong engagement, with more than half of members of all ages visiting at least daily.

Social Media Sites Visited by Internet Users in Norway, Feb 2014 (% of respondents)

These results tend to bear out February 2014 data from Buzzador, a firm specializing in social and word-of-mouth marketing. Its research also pointed to Facebook as the market giant in Norway, with 90% of web users ages 16 to 65 checking in at least once per day. More than three in 10 Instagram members said they were daily users, while just 11% of those on Google+ went to the site every day.

Demographics played a significant role in the makeup—and growth—of social site audiences. For example, Facebook penetration was highest among young adults ages 18 to 29 and had also been rising. In early 2014, Ipsos MMI found 91% of males and 97% of females in that cohort had a Facebook profile. However, penetration was lower—83% overall—among internet users ages 30 to 39 and hadn’t really changed since 2013. Similarly, among seniors 60 and older, penetration remained static at 64%.

At Google+, which is newer on the scene, current penetration levels were much lower, but usage was rising in all age groups. Moreover, males of all ages were more likely than females to use Google+; with Facebook, the opposite was the case.

The broader picture is one of many individuals using a range of social sites to communicate with different groups—and often for different purposes. Ipsos MMI reported that 70% of daily Google+ users also visited Facebook every day, and more than one-quarter went each day to Snapchat and Spotify as well.

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