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Twitter Is Widely Known in France, but Garners Few Regular Users

Most visitors to Twitter are information seekers, not active contributors

How is social media use evolving in France, now that the phase of rapid uptake is over? While many advertisers are still struggling to develop a strategy for their presence on social sites, consumer usage in the country may be approaching a plateau.

Twitter is a case in point. According to a March survey by Ipsos and CGI, 89% of the population ages 15 and older in France had heard of Twitter. Of these, 11% had, or once had, a Twitter account. Yet more than half of that group said they no longer used their account. Just 5% were actively engaged on the site, and most of those were simply reading, not tweeting.

This is the latest in a series of research studies that suggest relatively limited involvement with Twitter in France. comScore Media Metrix found that Twitter had 5.6 million unique visitors in France in December 2012—one-sixth of Facebook’s total, and fewer than popular local social networking site Skyrock.

And data from GlobalWebIndex indicated that just 9% of web users in the country were active Twitter users in Q4 2012. Most other European nations studied—Germany and Poland excepted—registered substantially higher penetration rates.

This pattern is by no means restricted to Twitter, though. Historically, France has posted relatively low levels of involvement with social media overall.

In August 2012, eMarketer estimated that one-third of the population in France participated in social networks that year, the second-lowest penetration level of any of the EU-5 countries. Moreover, eMarketer expected France to post among the slowest social network growth rates in Western Europe, behind only the UK, which has a mature social network population.

The prospect of comparatively low growth in France’s social media sector has also been noted by other research firms. The Ipsos/CGI study concluded that for Twitter, the potential for significant expansion in France is limited, because few people without an account—or with an inactive account—expressed a desire to become active users. Male respondents, or those between ages 15 to 34, were more likely to say they might open or reactivate an account, however.


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