Is your focus when it comes to social media set to the right country? It might not be if what you are targeting is the Western ‘civilised’ world.
Where many brands still focus on the US, UK and Western Europe a lot can be said for turning your head to face other directions: East, towards India, towards Central and South America and South East of Europe. We know Facebook is, are you?
If you look at statistics coming from Socialbakers something interesting is happening. One of the things they do is look at what countries have the most Facebook usage, and how that is changing. In the latest overview you will see that even though the US still has the highest number of users and penetration, the actual growth lies in the Far East and in Brazil:
A look at the top 15 above shows that in the last three months the number of users in the US declined with 1.57% and in the UK with 1.82%. Countries like India and the Philippines in the East however are growing, but looking south from the US might even be much more interesting: Brazil saw a growth of no less than 7.6% in three months in Facebook users, taking them to 65 million users, where in Mexico Facebook grew just over a percentage to almost 40 million users.
The biggest common denominator here is that the English native countries, the ones where the early success of Facebook was, are declining, and new markets are opening up.
These numbers give us some interesting alternative countries to target: Turkey is growing fast for example. Close to half of its population is now on Facebook. The same goes for Mexico, but also Argentina is interesting to look at. The growth has not that fast at the moment, but with half the population already on Facebook that is not surprising.
If you look at the continents you can see a similar trend: Asia is the biggest in numbers, but that is mainly because they have the biggest population. Europe and North America are still the biggest percentage wise, but South America is closing in, as you can see in the graph:
Other social networks?
Unfortunately Socialbakers doesn’t provide the same type of information on other social networks like Twitter or Google+. For that we have to look elsewhere, but trustworthy statistics are hard to find here.
Twitter and Google+
There are some new statistics available from Globalwebindex, who interviews 130,000 people globally to hear about their social media behaviour. They claim that Twitter is the fastest growing platform and the most active users are based in Hong Kong and the US, followed by Russia, China and Italy. They also claim that Google+ is the second biggest social network now.
You can find the chart on that here, but I have to note that these numbers do not seem very reliable for several reasons. One is that they have a small amount of people they are asking. Secondly they seem to be missing data from the far East and thirdly: asking people about their behaviour will not give you accurate information, not everyone will answer the same as they actually behave, so beware with these numbers and do some more research if you decide to target a specific country:
So what can these numbers actually tell us? Well that depends. It depends on your goals and focus off course. Where is your target audience located. But if you are looking to broaden your target audience into other countries it will be interesting to look beyond the countries you are already targeting. There might be a world of opportunities you’ve missed.