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12 Awesome Social Media Facts and Statistics for 2013

social media facts and statistics

As the world continues to embrace social media, the ways we use the social networks are becoming clearer.

Twitter with its short and snappy messaging is very dependent on mobile usage and smart phones. The rise of the visual web is making Pinterest and Tumblr the fastest growing social networks on the planet. Facebook is where we share with friends and family. Google+ is no longer an afterthought and is embedded in Google’s web assets including Gmail, local checkins and the mobile Android ecosystems.

Google is getting the data it wants from Google+. Demographics, usage and content popularity. This is feeding into how it is ranking search results and much more. The universes of content, social and search are being woven together and creating a web experience that looks more like magic everyday. The social and mobile web is becoming an extension of our lives as we share, search and upload photos.

Artificial intelligence that adds other dimensions to humanity has already arrived but we just don’t notice it. We take it for granted

So what are the latest facts about social media provided by the latest study by GlobalWebIndex for the second quarter of 2013?

#1. Google+ is catching up to Facebook

Facebook still dominates at 70% of account ownership but Google+ is not far behind at just over 50%. Keep in mind though that Google+ account is mandatory whenever you create a new  Gmail account. This is pushing up the account ownership stats. No other social network has Google’s web assets leverage.

The large Chinese internet user population is producing some large Chinese centric social networks including Sina Weibo, Tencent Weibo and Qzone. So Facebook doesn’t just have Google+ breathing down its neck. The rise of China’s social networks will possibly be a threat in the future.

Social media facts figures and statistics 2013 1

#2. Facebook active usage still dominates

Facebook has nearly 50% of all the world’s internet users as active users. This is only set to increase as regions and countries in the developing world including Africa, Asia and South America get connected to the web.

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#3. Pinterest is the fastest growing social network

The visual web is driving the rise of Pinterest and Tumblr with growth rates of 88% and 74% respectively over the last 12 months. Twitter and LinkedIn though are still rapid risers with growth rates around 40%.

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#4. LinkedIn is the most popular for older users

LinkedIn is the network of choice for most knowledge workers and professionals. It is maybe the most conservative of the social networks due to the fact it is all about business. It is becoming more social as it has realized that this will enhance its user penetration and attractiveness.

The latest statistics show it having 7% of its users over 55 and 14% in the 45 to 54 age range.

Social media facts figures and statistics 2013 1

#5. Usage of social networks by older users is increasing

Social networks were and still are a hit with the younger demographics. Don’t think though that social media is just for the for the teens and people who still have their hair. The increase in usage by the 55 to 64 year olds is greater than 100% for Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

The young aren’t the only ones having fun.

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#6. Google+ dominates on monthly visits

Google+ has very large numbers on visits per month at 1,203 million. This has a lot to do with activity generated by visits to Google services (read Gmail) that is counted as a Google+ visit. This is providing serious skewing of the figures so don’t take the headline number of 1.203 billion as an accurate indicator of monthly visits.

Facebook visits are 809 million and Twitter had 416 million.

Social media facts figures and statistics 2013 1

#7. Facebook dominates social media engagement

What this graph doesn’t show is that engagement of all the social networks actually dropped in the last  12 months. Maybe we are becoming over saturated with social?

Facebook though dominates with 62% of all its account owners being active in the last month of this study.

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#8. Facebook usage highest in North America

Facebook has 59% of all internet users in North America as active users. Google+ only achieves 15% and Twitter 25%.

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#9. Asia Pacific region dominates the social media landscape

When you have one region (Asia Pacific) with a very large population including two countries with more than 1 billion citizens each then these statistics shouldn’t surprise. This is despite the fact that it has one of the lowest internet penetration rates in the world.

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#10. Uploading photos is the most popular activity on Facebook

Facebook has become the place to put your photos. This is not just from the desktop but the smart phone and the tablet. Facebook is making a big push to become even more mobile.

What is surprising is the very low ranking of “like” as an activity on Facebook compared to the other actions

Social media facts figures and statistics 2013 1

#11. Twitter is about daily activities

Do you get sick of hearing about what someone had for breakfast, where they have been or who they are talking to on Twitter? The figures show that Twitter is a lot about your daily activities.

You could call it the personal news channel.

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#12. Google+ is a lot to do with photos

Google had a clean slate just over 2 years ago when it designed the user interface and feature and function set for Google+. Its banner and image display makes the user experience compelling, contagious and immersive.

Photo uploads…that is one of the things that Google+ and Facebook  have in common as the most popular activity.

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Key findings

The GlobalWebIndex study found these to be the major insights into social media usage

  1. Active usage of the major, global social platforms is growing worldwide with mobile being the key driver 
  2. Google+ remains the second most actively used social network with 318.4 million active users in 31 markets 
  3. Emerging platforms have experienced notable growth in popularity since Q2 2012 with Pinterest and Tumblr being currently the fastest growing global social media 
  4. Facebook maintains the highest penetration of active users among account owners at 62% globally. This compares to 51% for Twitter and 44% for Google+ 
  5. Emerging markets remain more active on social networks compared with developed countries. In Q2 2013 South Africa had the highest proportion of active Facebook users: 68%. 
  6. Mobile and tablet usage is beginning to heavily impact social media usage with mobile having the biggest effect on Twitter which is used by 94 million active Twitter to share photos compared to 140 million on PC. This is the highest proportion of mobile vs. PC photos sharing of any social network 

If you want the full report you can download it here.

What surprises you?

What were the numbers that you found to be a surprise. What was ho-hum and what have you learnt that may affect your social media isage for business and pleasure?

Look forward to your insights and feedback in the comments below.



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  • Very interesting to see that the older demographics still leading the stats year after year. It actually makes sense when you think about it.

    A few months ago a did a quick survey at a mall and 90% of the younger generations (under 25 years old) thinks that social media is a waste of time (as the top answer). The number two answer was that social media blows everything out of proportion.

    This article shows everyone that social media is just getting stronger and this is just the starting point. As per the younger generations, they will eventually catch up and they will get involved at some level.

    Thanks Jeff for sharing this stats and article.

  • Great post with some awesome stats. Have a great day by design!

  • Erin Bettis

    Very insightful, Jeff.

    A few months ago I heard that Google+ was going to overtake Facebook in 2013, and the way things are going, they just might exceed FB by the first quarter of next year if not by years’ end. The stats help me gauge where to focus my social media efforts. Thank you for sharing.

    – Erin


      This is incorrect, i have seen Facebook has been number one from good time and only close in terms of number of people joining is http://www.talkurlife.com

  • Great post Jeff! Those statistics are very interesting to look at.

  • venkyiyer58

    Some advice, please: As an aspiring author who is trying to narrow his social media focus on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn, do you think I could benefit from a presence on Pinterest? It tempts, but I have no defined plan, and I am finding it tough giving enough time to my social media efforts, as it is.

  • One observation about the fact that older people start using social networks: we are now in the laggards stage (according to diffusion of innovations http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diffusion_of_innovations)

  • I’ve only recently started using Google+ again but I do enjoy the level of engagement I’m finding there. Twitter engagement is often difficult with the character limit, and Facebook…well…

  • It’s up for debate, but “liking” is losing its meaning. The same happened with “Poke.” The increase in photo uploads and commenting is because more people want to be heard and/or seen and “Liking” gives you neither.

  • Captain Penfold

    Absolutely no surprises there at all – unless I’m failing to read between the lines. Good to have the status quo reconfirmed though. Wake me up when someone seriously challenges Facebook.

    • IdiocyAbounds

      don’t hold your breath as I said above. google+ numbers are skewed due to forced registering

      • Yes, the Gmail element skews Google+ big time

  • This is Amazing. Was at Rich Brooks Agents of Change conference this weekend and the audience was asked to raise their hand on Google Plus usage and not many hands went up. Hearing the growth, but guess that the “active” part. Great stats.

  • Olivier Aerni

    Seriously? “visits to Google services (read Gmail) that is counted as a Google+ visit.” ? Then G+ data are inconsistent in this research !

  • IdiocyAbounds

    Don’t be fooled.
    Google+’s numbers are way skewed.
    They have an auto feature that uses a forced registration on people who use gmail and youtube, pushing people to sign up for google+ who do not want to be there and who do not use it at all- and never will

    Their search engine is not as good as it once was either. I just wish they would stick to search and stop the embarrassing “Facebook Wanna Be” behavior.

    • Marius Svendsen

      Google+ is not a new Facebook! That’s just why it’s so awesome.

  • Thanks for sharing this amazing post, Jeff!

  • Very nice explanation about “Awesome Social Media Facts and Statistics for 2013”. Great post. Thanks for sharing.

  • Marius Svendsen

    I guess ****

  • GlobalWebIndex

    Hi Everyone,

    Thanks for your comments!

    Google Plus is a great platform but is really hard to distinguish its services from other Google services in our respondents’ mind. This, despite our best efforts to have the most accurate data.

    This said, our numbers about Google Plus have been growing constantly throughout our researches over the years.

    If you have any questions you can download the full report here: http://g-web.in/18Sg1P9

    or get in touch on Twitter @globalwebindex or G+ +globalwebindex

  • iGeorgeDK

    Excellent information. This is a great post, thanks for sharing Jeff. For me, Pinterest is by far the biggest surprise.

  • Thank you for sharing useful information well done

  • alvoluksic

    I use Google+ for my design business portfolio, since I don´t want to mix my personal life (facebook) with my business stuff. Google´interfase is cleaner and posts get easily ranked on Google (of course)… I think Google´should focus on users wanting to share their work samples and professional activities in a more visual and creative enviroment (Linkedin interfase is quite boring… Facebook mixes your work with pictures of friends drinking beer). Google+ should have an option to change your Profile design betwen personal blog – pinterest look alike or portfolio view.

  • Neil Llew

    The Google+ verses Facebook argument is pretty irrelevant if you step back and look at what is going on.

    Social media isn’t driven by being social, its driven by a desire to encouraging people to give away personal information that can be used for targeted marketing and business use. Your daily posts enable the organisations to build a detailed profile of your life which is highly valuable to sell products or services to the right person at the right time.

    Social media is a milestone along the critical path to the shift of ownership of data, personal or otherwise. Cloud and Software as a service (SaaS) contribute to trend. Most people are keen to jump on these corporate offering as a way of increasing their social standing or the illusion of being hip and on trend without consideration for the access and safeguards to your information. Worse still users are unaware of is being given up. Copyright & Data protection Laws severely lag behind technological advancements and often only address issues once its to late. I guess it is better to define the rules rather than change them.

    Some of you already know that the stats we are discussing are not simply about popularity but are business metrics showing the potential market or active data assets to attract advertising clients. The accuracy of the numbers only matter if you are an investor or use the sites for business purposes.

  • kebman

    Google+ is not “catching up” to Facebook. It just looks that way because everyone on Gmail and YouTube are forced to convert.

  • Patricia Toth

    Great article Jeff

  • Micracle

    Not really. When ones you have Gmail, you definitely have G+

  • madiha Naz

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  • Jodib

    I really like Google Plus. I have joined some great communities where I’ve met wonderful people and accomplished a lot. However, Google Plus has a MAJOR SECURITY FLAW. It allows people to add you to their circles and there is nothing you can do about it. I was added by a pervert who started “sharing with me” (meaning photos). To this day I am “in his circle” (I will always show up on his pornography-laced page). My requests for Google to go in and remove me from his circle have fallen on deaf ears. It’s creepy, a bit scary actually, and Google couldn’t care less. If they intend to retain their customers, they might want to consider taking their security more seriously.

  • Surf Wellness

    Google+ is looking great now. Love all the features and how interactive it is.