There’s been many articles written about how good, bad and indifferent Google+ is. But our favourite debate is the ongoing It’s Really Popular Vs It’s A Ghost Town one.
So what’s the truth? Our findings and infographic (see below) appear to suggest the latter: despite its large number of accounts, G+ is bottom of the list of social network users’ favoured channels.
Google, of course, claims it is fast-growing and really popular. Why wouldn’t they? And, of course, there is research to support that argument. But does this chart, left, for example, which shows the rise in G+ unique visitors, tell the whole truth?
Let’s face it, you don’t actually have to be a G+ user to view a post on G+. So, there’s every chance that a post uploaded to G+ and then posted on, say, Twitter or Facebook, is being veiwed by hundreds or thousands of people who have never logged in or created a G+ account, nor perhaps never will.
And does this explain why, according to ComScore, G+ users spend just 3.3 minutes per month on the site, compared with 7.5 hours – hours – per month on Facebook? ie is G+ traffic transient, clicking on a link, reading it and moving back to their Facebook/ Twitter stream?
So, we decided to do our own research. It is by no means exhaustive and is only meant as a snapshot view, so judge for yourself.
Google hasn’t released active user stats or levels of engagement, but they have confirmed on their own blog that there are 170m G+ accounts. To put that into context, it puts G+ second behind Facebook (901m: recently updated to 955m) and ahead of LinkedIn (161m) and Twitter (140m) in terms of official user accounts (see links below).
If these official user figures are accurate, you might surmise that levels of activity – such as sharing stories, for example – would mirror user stats ie the more users, the more people sharing content on that network.
We analysed 100 random online entertainment, health, business, technology and general news stories and looked at how many times each story was shared by Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter users.
The stories were taken at random by three staff from Umpf using websites including The Independent, Telegraph, Forbes, CBS News, Evening Standard, Mashable and TechCrunch. The only criteria was that the site had to have a share counter showing all four networks as a minimum.
We then worked out, on an average per user per channel basis, the propensity of a social media user to share a story on either Facebook, G+, LinkedIn or Twitter.
For every 100 million users, the following number were likely to share an online story:
Twitter, 197.3 people were likely to share an online story
Facebook, 41.8 people were likely to share an online story
LinkedIn, 15.2 people were likely to share an online story
Google+, 6.0 people were likely to share an online story
Or, in other words:
LinkedIn is 2.5 times more effective than G+ for sharing
Facebook is 7 times more effective than G+ for sharing
Twitter is 33 times more effective than G+ for sharing
Our infographic visualises the Umpf findings and the full press release is below.
[Source: Umpf Blog]
Some Facebook business Pages lost tens of thousands of fans today, but they shouldn’t fret. Facebook has confirmed with me that it’s currently purging fake accounts and Page Likes as it implements site integrity improvements announced last month. You can see the evidence on Pages like Zynga’s Texas HoldEm Poker whose fan count dropped by 96,000 today after steady after long steady growth.
Illegitimately created accounts are being deleted, and Likes gained from malware, compromised accounts, or deceived users are being removed. So no, everyone doesn’t just hate your Page’s last status update.
Facebook said “On average, less than 1% of Likes on any given Page will be removed” if they’ve abided by its terms and haven’t shadily been buying Likes from hackers. That matches decreases seen on the PageData tracking service from what I’m calling “Operation Unlike”.
Zynga’s Texas HoldEm Poker, one of the longest standing Pages on Facebook and the third most popular, lost 96,000 of its 63 million fans today, though that’s just 0.15%. Other Pages such as South Park, Justin Bieber, and Leo Messi all had five-digit dips but that only accounted for around a 0.03% total loss.
One business owner told us he saw a Page go from 7100 Likes to 5800 in a day, an 18% drop. That’s an extreme, though, and that Page may have been buying spam Likes or tricking users into becoming fans.
Lower but more accurate Like counts actually help Pages. Admins might not be able to tout their Pages’ size the same way, but they’ll be better able to assess what content is resonating with their audiences.
Think of it this way. If a Page had 10,000 fans but 4,000 were fake and it published an update that got 2,500 Likes, it might think only a quarter of its fans were interested in that content. But with an accurate fan count of 6,000, the admin would know nearly half the fans enjoyed that post and that they should post more with a similar vibe.
Meanwhile on the user side of things, the purge of fake accounts means fewer spam friend requests and comments, and a reduced risk of being scammed. Investors will also get a better idea of Facebook’s growth because numbers won’t be inflated by fakes.
Facebook is strapped with a tough problem. Its current sign-up process is quick and easy. That’s great for onboarding real people, but it also makes it simple to set up fake accounts. It could be hard deterring spammers without putting up hurdles for everyone else.
It’s a pressing issue, though, as Facebook is increasingly trying to convince businesses to buy ads that score them Likes. If businesses worry those Likes are fake and won’t result in real views and clicks of their news feed posts and purchases of their product, they might forego a Facebook fan base.
Still, Facebook has come a long way on fighting spam. In made a huge push in 2010 and reduced spam by 95%. Some of that was through smart detection and containment algorithms. However, I’ve also heard there was some awesome counterterrorism powered by humans, where employees tricked bad guys into revealing their best Facebook spamming techniques. Those vulnerabilities were promptly fixed.
Retailers have invested heavily in making money off social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
But despite all the interest, it doesn’t look like social networks do much to drive sales, according to a recent report by Sucharita Mulpuru at Forrester Research.
Less than 1 percent of the online transactions she tracked could be traced to a social media post, Mulpuru wrote in her report.
Paid search traffic is the most effective way for retailers to engage new customers, while email marketing captivates returning customers, Mulpuru wrote.
While social networks keep customers engaged with the brand, they don’t result in any immediate monetary benefit, Mulpuru wrote:
“Social tactics are not meaningful sales drivers. While the hype around social networks as a
driver of influence in eCommerce continues to capture the attention of online executives, the
truth is that social continues to struggle and registers as a barely negligible source of sales for
either new or repeat buyers. In fact, fewer than 1% of transactions for both new and repeat
shoppers could be traced back to trackable social links.”
Mulpuru didn’t study small businesses, which she said do disproportionately well in social commerce.
Here’s a graph showing how effective email marketing and paid searches are:
[Source: Business Insider]
What about social sources that drive people on ecommerce sites to create conversions? Here’s an infographic from Richrelvance:
In the end, different thoughts and result about offline shopping from Facebook and Datalogix about Facebook Ads conversion. After measuring 45 campaigns over the past year, the companies found that in 70% of cases, every $1 spent on Facebook led to an additional $3 in sales.
Do you know how old the average Twitter or Facebook user is? Do you know what share of Reddit’s users are women? We could go on and on; when it comes to social network demographics, the questions are endless. This article is going to answer those questions for you, showing you the age and gender distribution on 24 of today’s most popular social networks and online communities.
The sites included in this survey are: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr,Reddit, Hacker News, Slashdot, Github, Stack Overflow, Orkut, Quora, WordPress.com,Blogger, Flickr, Myspace, Tagged, Hi5, LiveJournal, Yelp, deviantART, StumbleUpon,Goodreads and Last.fm.
You may note one glaring omission: Google+. Unfortunately for us there is no data on Google+ in DoubleClick Ad Planner, the Google-owned tool we used for the demographics data. Another thing we should point out is that the demographics data used in this survey is for the United States.
With that out of the way, let’s dive into the data!
Average age distribution
If you average the age distribution across all the sites in the survey, this here below is what you end up with. You could think of it as the age distribution in the social media sphere.
More than half of these social media users are between 25 and 44 years old.
This, however, was just an average. When looking at the individual sites in this survey, there are considerable differences.
Age distribution per site
As we just mentioned, there are big differences in the age demographics of the individual sites. You can examine all of them in the chart here below.
We’ve sorted the chart by average age (more on that farther down), “youngest” site at the top.
This chart should make something very clear; social media is most definitely not just for the young. Some examples:
- 55% of Twitter users are 35 or older.
- 63% of Pinterest users are 35 or older.
- 65% of Facebook users are 35 or older.
- 79% of LinkedIn users are 35 or older.
However, as you could see in the very first chart of this article, only 2% of social media users are 65 or older (averaged between the sites in this survey).
There is also the flip side of the coin to consider; some sites have a considerable bias toward younger users. A few examples:
- 58% of Reddit users are under 35.
- 60% of Github users are under 35.
- 63% of Hi5 users are under 35.
- 69% of Hacker News users are under 35.
- 69% of deviantART users are under 35.
- 83% of Orkut users are under 35.
A couple of examples of sites with more homogenous user bases, age wise:
- Hacker News has almost half of its users (44%) in the 18-24 age bracket.
- Orkut on the other hand has a massive grouping of people aged 25-34. This is so large (76%) that we suspect it may be an anomaly in the Ad Planner data. None of the other sites display such extremes.
- More than half of DeviantART’s users are below 25.
Average user age per site
Based on the sites in this survey, the estimated age of the average social media user is just under 37 years old. Here are some other observations:
- The oldest users. LinkedIn has the oldest user base, with the average user being 44.2 years old.
- The average Facebook user is 40.5 years old.
- The average Twitter user is 37.3 years old.
- The age trend for Facebook and Twitter. Compared to a previous survey we did2.5 years ago, the age of the average Facebook user has gone up two years, while the age of the average Twitter user has gone down two years. In other words, Twitter’s user base is getting younger, while Facebook’s is getting older.
And here is the full chart with all the sites, sorted by average age:
What about gender?
This whole article so far has been about the age of people using these social networks and online communities. Now it’s time to examine the male-female ratio, or gender balance if you prefer that word.
Based on the United States demographics data (from Ad Planner) there is a clear gender imbalance on many of these sites. Some are much more male dominated, and vice versa. However, when you look at all the data together, it becomes clear that women rule social media. More than two thirds of the sites in this survey have more female than male users.
- 17 out of 24 sites (71%) have more female than male users.
- The average gender distribution is 48.75% male, 51.25% female.
- Most male-dominated site? Slashdot (87% males) is the standout, followed by Hacker News (77% males) and Stack Overflow (76% males). In general, the more tech-focused sites in this survey have more male users than female.
- Most female-dominated site? Pinterest (79% females) is in a league of its own, followed by Goodreads (70% females) and Blogger (66% females).
- Facebook and Twitter have the same gender distribution: 40% male, 60% female.
Here below is a chart with the male-female ratios for all 24 sites included in this survey. The chart is sorted, the least male-dominated sites at the top.
As you can see, the only sites in this survey with more male than female users areQuora, Reddit, Orkut, Github, Stack Overflow, Hacker News and Slashdot.
We hope you found this report interesting. It’s easy to get lost when digging through this kind of data, but we hope we managed to present it in a way that gave you a decent overview of the situation today.
To us, one big takeaway from this report is that there’s a place for everyone in today’s social media landscape. These sites have users that span the entire age spectrum, and there really are no limits to what you can achieve online, regardless of age or gender.
A note on the source data: All the demographics data in this survey is for the United States, but the patterns shown here should translate roughly to other countries as well. That said, there are regional differences, so keep that in mind if you’re applying this to other parts of the world.
[Source: Royal Pingdom]
Ever wonder why some touch screen phones cost more than others? Or why you can’t seem to get the touch screen on your smartphone to work if you’re wearing a glove? Most people don’t know that there are three different types of touch screen technologies available: resistive, capacitive, and infrared. Learn about the different benefits and capabilities to make sure you get the touch screen phone you’re looking for.