Note: We have now posted an updated version of this article for 2014, which you can find here: UK social media statistics 2014
We know that lots of you found our social media statistics roundup for last year really useful in planning your marketing and writing business cases, so here’s an updated version for 2013.
We’ve trawled through the publicly available data* to give you the best that we can find on usage and demographics for all of the key platforms at the start of 2013.
The latest figures show Facebook accounts sitting at just under 33 million for the UK, around 3 million up on last year. Their overall rate of growth has slowed, but that’s only to be expected given the high levels of penetration they already have. Also, these numbers are presumably after Facebook’s considerable purge of duplicate and fake accounts which saw numbers fall towards the end of 2012.
The proportion of the UK population registered with Facebook has gone over the 50% mark for the first time, and now sits at just under 53% – that’s 62.49% of the online population. Interestingly, that is fractionally higher than the penetration for the US – so proportionally, more of the population is using Facebook in the UK than in the US.
The demographic mix has stayed fairly consistent from last year, with the largest groups represented being 25-34 year olds (26%), 18-24 year olds (23%) and 35-44 year olds (18%). The male / female split is bang on 50%, although of course we know that they use the site a little differently.
Up to date UK – specific stats were surprisingly hard to track down this year, very likely because many of the statistics were previously derived from Google’s Ad Planner, which helpfully removed all data for sites outside of their Adsense network half way through the year.
We know that the overall number of active Twitter accounts topped 200 million during December.This study suggests that just over 17% of Twitter users are in the UK, so that would give us a total figure of 34 million live accounts in the UK. Even allowing for a certain amount of educated guesswork (because users don’t have to provide any personal information when they sign up, all Twitter data beyond the overall number of accounts is based on some kind of extrapolation), that’s still a big jump from last year’s figure of 26 million, and may be overestimating things a little.
Having said that, big events like the Olympics and the Jubilee, both of which saw heavy coverage and discussion on social media, may have been a driver in recruiting new users for 2013.
Because of the Ad Planner change, the most up to date information on demographics is now ageing, dating from August 2012. Assuming the mix hasn’t changed too much since then, we’re still seeing quite an even split between the main adult demographic groups – 25-34, 35-44 and 45-54 age groups each make up around 20% of the Twitter population.
The vast majority (81.1 and 74.1% respectively) of accounts have fewer than 50 followers, and follow fewer than 50 accounts themselves. This figure may be skewed by dormant accounts but if not, it suggests that many users are connecting with a small number of close friends initially; if curiosity starts to cut in as they get more familiar with Twitter, that could open up a lot of potential for engagement with organisations.
“Official” advertising continued to be rolled out to the UK, with around 300 advertisers using the Promoted Tweets function during 2012.
The total number of LinkedIn users in the UK passed the 10 million mark during 2012, and is now approaching 11 million. This represents just under 18% of the population, and when you consider that LinkedIn is targeting a (relatively) niche market of professionals, means that LinkedIn really does own the professional social networking space for the UK.
It’s also a slightly older demographic, as you might expect; 79% of LinkedIn users are over 35, and it’s also the only main social media site where men outnumber women.
Pinterest was the big noise during 2012, but most data on its users comes back to an infographic by Visual.ly produced quite early in the year. The main lesson from this was that while users were growing fast, the UK Pinterest population was a tiny fraction of that in the US. (200,000 vs 12 million). The data also showed some interesting hints about users’ financial status, with those in the UK apparently coming from much more affluent sections of society- 29% were in the highest income bracket.
Having said that, the picture is likely to have changed fast during the year as the user base grew, and until some fresh statistics are available for Pinterest it’s risky to draw too many conclusions.
The tentacles of Google Plus continue to spread across our online experience, with the new Authorship Markup and increased use of the +1 button making marketers take notice. (See our 2013 Social Media Trends article for more about this).
Whether or not G+ is anywhere near mainstream as a social network in conventional terms remains doubtful: Google themselves admit that of the 500 million + accounts they claim for G+globally (encompassing everyone with a Google account, who could theoretically use G+ even if they don’t), only 135 million are actively posting on G+.
They’re surprisingly quiet on geographic and demographic breakdown, especially considering the volume of data that Google hold on users. All we know for sure is that the top Google+ pages in the UK belong to David Beckham, ColdPlay and Richard Branson – make of that what you will!
Instagram also captured the imagination of the UK public during 2012, and speedy backtracking on parent company Facebook’s attempt to hijack ownership of all user photos may have been just in time to halt the user exodus in response. It’s currently ranked 6th amongst UK social media sites by visits, with 1.46% of all social media activity.
*Sources: We’ve used selected statistics from each of these sources, based on factors such as credibility and age of source data, and a “common sense” evaluation of what’s being stated!
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