The social audience is growing across networks and countries. That is the takeaway from GlobalWebIndex’s “Stream Social: Quarterly Social Platforms Update.” The study found that Facebook remained the No. 1 social network worldwide, with just over half of internet users logging on to the site at least once a month in Q1 2013. eMarketer puts worldwide Facebook penetration slightly higher, expected to reach 60% of internet users this year.
Behind Facebook, there was a crowded field of second-place contenders, with Google+ out front at 26% of internet users. In the US, Google+ gets limited attention, though its user base is growing. Worldwide, however, Google+ has been much more successful. Given that YouTube was right behind, in use by one-quarter of active internet users, there’s no question that Google, which owns YouTube, is giving Facebook a run for its money in the global social network space.
Twitter came in fourth worldwide at 22% of internet users, but GlobalWebIndex also found that the microblogging service claims the title of fastest-growing social network. Between Q2 2012 and Q1 2013, active users of Twitter rose 42% globally, according to the study.
After these major networks, local Chinese social networks garnered among the greatest percentage of users worldwide, a reflection of both the vastness of the social audience in China and the limited availability of foreign properties, like Facebook, in the country.
LinkedIn and Pinterest each came in at less than 10% of global internet users.
Growth in social network usage came especially from the mobile phone and tablet, which were increasingly used for a variety of social activities. Watching videos on Facebook saw among the biggest jumps in usage, with viewing increasing by 47% on both PC and mobile, and nearly doubling on the tablet. Messaging friends on a one-on-one basis via Facebook also grew substantially on mobile phones and tablets.
In terms of which regions saw the biggest user gains, Asia-Pacific countries were the biggest growth drivers. On Facebook, Japan saw the fastest growth, at 42% change vs. Q2 2012. In South Korea, Google+ use exploded, increasing 209%. And on Twitter, participation in Indonesia rose 44%. Saudi Arabia was not far behind, with the number of account holders increasing by 42%.