And social networking is biggest in... South Korea!
About a fifth of adults have visited a social networking Website, and an equal percentage of Internet users have done so in the past 30 days, according to a survey of several countries by Ipsos Insight. "The Face of the Web 2006" survey was conducted in November and December 2006 in urban Brazil, Canada, urban China, France, Germany, urban India, Japan, urban Mexico, urban Russia, South Korea, the UK and the US.
Social networking was most popular in South Korea, with half of all adults there having visited at least one of these sites in the past, and over half having done so in the previous 30 days.
The popularity of social networking in South Korea is driven by Cyworld. Three out of every 10 South Koreans have a Cyworld account. In comparison, roughly a quarter of Americans have ever visited a social networking Website.
In most of the countries surveyed, at least two-thirds of all Internet users that had visited social networking sites had done so within the past 30 days.
A study by the UK Office of Communications with Synovate covered social networking use among broadband users in China and Japan, and European and US markets.
Among adult Chinese broadband users, 80% had discussed hobbies or interests online via a social network, and 78% had used a social network to meet new people. Less than half of users in most other markets surveyed said they had used a social network for either of those purposes.
eMarketer Senior Analyst Debra Aho Williamson says, "The year 2007 will determine whether a global social network strategy will make sense, or whether homegrown sites will win out. Two entities — MySpace and Windows Live Spaces — generate the lion's share of global visitors to social networking sites. But social networking is ramping up in a variety of markets."
Social networking has gone pro. Learn how the entry of media giants like News Corp. are affecting the sector. Read the eMarketer Social Network Marketing: Where to Next? report.