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More UK internet users continue to join in on social networks, but as smaller networks become mainstream, some sites are having more success than others attracting new users.
In February 2013, Kinetic Worldwide surveyed UK internet users ages 18 to 80 about their participation on social networks and found that Facebook, unsurprisingly, led the pack. The site reached 72% of internet users, with penetration up 12 percentage points in the last two years, indicating that as ubiquitous as the site may seem, there is still room for growth. Penetration was lowest among the older age groups, but even among those between 55 and 64 years old, six out of 10 used Facebook.
Twitter saw the biggest bump in penetration since February 2011, more than doubling from 13% to 28%. And while nearly half of those ages 18 to 24 used Twitter—the highest penetration level of all the age groups—the 35-to-44 age group had the second-highest penetration rate, at one-third of internet users.
LinkedIn had a decidedly older slant to its user base, which is unsurprising given that it is primarily a tool to facilitate work-related networking. But even though the service has a distinct niche and utility, it has not been nearly as successful growing its user base in the UK, compared with Facebook or Twitter, according to Kinetic’s data. Penetration rose only 2 percentage points in the last two years, from 9% in 2011 to 11% in 2013.
That said, data from the Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) showed a significantly higher LinkedIn UK penetration rate of 24% in October 2012. The Kinetic survey specifically asked participants about networks where they had an account that they used regularly, which may explain the discrepancy.
According to Kinetic, Twitter actually had a slight edge over Facebook for use outside of the home in the UK, an indication of Twitter’s relatively easy translation onto mobile devices. But Facebook has certainly been fast to catch up. More than half of users on both sites used the networks outside of the home. Almost three in 10 LinkedIn users also logged on to the network while away from home.
eMarketer estimates that the total number of UK social network users will rise by an additional 6% this year, to reach 67% of internet users overall. Growth will begin to taper in the coming years, though, and networks that add users will likely pull from among a set that is already familiar with the medium and seeking the sites that best suit their needs and proclivities.
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