The Dark Social: see no evil, but learn to Trust and Measure It

dark-social-blog

You may or may not have heard of ‘dark social’, but I can guarantee if you use social media, you will have created ‘dark social’ visits. That is, if you have ever seen an interesting news story and grabbed the link and sent it to a friend on Facebook Messenger, or texted your mum asking if she still wants those tickets to see Mumford & Sons for her birthday and included a link to the venue’s website.

What Is Dark Social?

If you work for a social brand and have ever needed to dig into a traffic source report using your favorite web analytics tool, you may have noticed a giant bucket of ‘direct’ traffic and thought to yourself what is this?The phrase originally coined by Alexis Madrigal from the Atlantic, ‘Dark Social‘ simply means the sharing of content through channels other than social media, whether by email, private message or even SMS. By definition, dark social traffic can’t be attributed to a known source, as the referring source lacks the tags required by analytics software that provide information about the site it was seen on. Unlike other ‘direct traffic’ sources such as from social media, which comes from links shared, contains tags that tells your analytics software where the link was shared originally and how visitors have ended up on your website.

Times Have Changed

In the early days of the web, everything was link-based, so we either discovered something via search, via link, or we went to the site directly by typing it into the browser or via bookmark. So if a site visitor arrived at the site without a referrer s/he had to be a direct visitor. But this was in the time of a simpler, smaller web, and before the rise of mobile.Unlike those early days, there are now many ways a visitor can arrive at a site without going to the site directly. Here are a few:

  1. Native Mobile Apps. Mobile apps either fire up a browser instance in-app (like Facebook) or force safari/chrome to open a new browser window (like Instagram) with the URL in question in the browser. In both cases, the browser itself is going to directly to the site and thus it looks like direct traffic when viewed in GA.
  2. Email. Most email-providers like Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook don’t pass a referrer when a user clicks the link to protect privacy and security for that user.
  3. Chat. This can be in the form of chat-based native mobile apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat or web/desktop based chat like Google Hangouts, IRC, or Slack. Chat clients of all kinds do not pass referrers either!
  4. Secure browsing. If you’re browsing on a site using HTTPS and click a link to a site using HTTP a referrer won’t be passed.
  5. Organic search. In some browser configurations, google won’t actually pass a referrer when a user clicks a link from an organic search.

We only consider the first three of these to be dark social, but the point here is that most direct traffic is actually far from direct. If you’re measuring your web traffic using only standard web analytics, you’re missing key insights about how people are actually discovering your content and products

So, why do I care?

Dark Social is getting bigger and bigger. As you can see from the following pictures, a number of different researches from Radium One, ChartBeat, SmartInsights are estimating Dark Social to accounts for 70% of social sharing , up to 82% for mobile sharing!dark socialThink about that for a second. As a social marketer, social sharing is the lifeblood that sustains and amplifies your efforts, and it turns out you can’t even see that it’s happening in most cases. Imagine if the paid search didn’t know about 70% of their effective keywords!The dominant sharing paradigm of today isn’t actually posting articles to Facebook (though that’s obviously hugely important). The use cases for dark sharing are so plentiful:

  • A wife texting a husband about a concert she’d like to attend
  • A group of friends on a group email chain sharing content about their favorite sports team
  • A friend WhatsApp’ing a pair of shoes she’s going to buy
  • A colleague Slack messaging a recent industry announcement

There are so many places where it makes more sense to share 1:1 instead of 1:many, and many times when a private forum is more appropriate. That doesn’t mean this sharing isn’t social! It absolutely is and you need to be able to understand it to both prove and improve the total efficacy of your efforts.

Let’s Make It Clear With An Example

I have an ecommerce site selling ‘Pet Rocks’. I get 60% of my traffic from organic search, 10% from paid search, 25% from ‘direct’ and 5% from social media. My site has a 1% conversion rate (I sell 1 pet rock per 100 visitors) and on each pet rock I sell I make a £10 profit. I get 10,000 views a month, so that means I make £600 per month from people coming from organic, and only £50 per month from those coming from social media.example chart dark social If I currently spend £200 per month on outreach and £200 per month paying a freelance copywriter to write content for my sites blog, I can conclude that I’m making a tasty profit of £200 per month on my organic traffic (£600 revenue – £400 spending). However if I currently spend £100 per month on social media campaigns and only get £50 in revenue from social media then it looks like I’m wasting £50 per month on social media and it isn’t worth the money I’m spending on it. I’d better cut down by on my social media spending or wind it up entirely.Although the available data seems to back this up, I would actually be wrong to make this conclusion. If I analyse the traffic that comes to me direct, I find only 5% of it is going to my home page and the vast majority goes to various product pages and blog articles which have long URLs that people can’t possibly be typing in direct (unless it happens they have them bookmarked). It turns out these people have been coming to the site via ‘dark social’, and so I’d be wrong to write off my social media efforts.It turns out 4/5ths of the traffic that was being counted as ‘direct’ was actually ‘dark social’ and only 1/5th was people actually typing in the URL. This means if Dark Social is counted under the social section, social as a whole is making £250 in revenue from the 2,500 people it brings in, and thus my £100 social budget is more than justified. In fact, it might be worth trying out spending more to generate more buzz around buy pet rocks to generate further social traffic, both visible and dark.

Ok, This Is What You Can Do

The good news is that there are new tools that allow marketing professionals to correctly understand traffic origins and therefore study their behaviour and conversions. In this post, you’ll find 5 tools to help you track dark social sharing.Plus, as Chartbeat has identified, native mobile apps will pass an identifier in the UserAgent field even when they don’t pass a referrer. For example, Facebook passes FBIOS as a UserAgent string for a user accessing content from Facebook’s mobile app.Questions? Other way you know to track dark social?[Sources: Digiday, SmartInsights, Simply Measured, Huffington Post]

The new Digital Economy: Shared, Collaborative, On Demand

New Digital Economy banner

In recent years a number of online services have emerged that promise to reshape the way that Americans shop, eat, earn a living, go on vacation, get from place to place, and share goods, services and money with each other. Commercial juggernauts like the ride-hailing app Uber or the home-sharing platform Airbnb represent some of the most well-known examples of these new services, but they encompass the host of services, apps and online platforms of various sizes that are generally considered to be part of the shared, on-demand and collaborative economy. These new platforms serve a wide range of markets and objectives, but several characteristics help to define the landscape of this corner of the digital economy.

One characteristic of these services is that many maintain little (if any) inventory themselves. Instead, they often function as a platform for connecting excess goods or capacity – an old piece of furniture, space in the passenger seat of someone’s car, a room in someone’s home, a parking space, a designer dress or workers’ time and skills – with people who want to purchase or simply use those items or services for themselves.

These services also tend to rely on flexible forms of employment as a key element of their business model. Just as many of these services tend to maintain little in the way of real-world inventory, most directly employ a relatively small number of workers. Typically the people who actually interact with customers and other end users are so-called 1099 workers (a reference to the tax form that independent contractors receive each year) who are not employed by the service itself. This arrangement allows these workers to offer services on a flexible or part-time basis – but also means that they do not qualify for many of the government-mandated benefits available to traditional employees under law, such as employer-subsidized health insurance or the ability to get reimbursed for business expenses.

Finally, these services are often premised on removing the friction, hassle and inconvenience from users’ everyday lives – for a price. For services that offer physical products, this might mean offering same-day delivery of a variety of household items so that users are saved a trip to the grocery store after a long day at the office. For more task-oriented services, this might mean offering users the ability to instantly summon a driver or personal chef at a moment’s notice from a smartphone app.

As is the case with many of the services themselves, the way these services function is not necessarily new. People have been selling used or handmade items on peer-to-peer commerce platforms like eBay and Craigslist since the early days of the modern web; Amazon introduced its Prime expedited-shipping membership service in 2005; and the dot-com bubble of the late 1990s prominently featured a number of on-demand delivery services, ranging from the famously short-lived Kozmo.com (which promised to deliver a variety of products to customers within one hour with no delivery charge) to the still-operational grocery delivery service Peapod.

But while these new shared and on-demand services are in some respects little different from others that came before them, they have presented a number of challenges to regulatory and policy structures that in many cases predate the internet era by decades. For instance, cities around the country have struggled with how to incorporate ride-hailing apps and home-sharing platforms into existing regulatory structures governing the for-hire vehicle and hotel markets. And the piecemeal, episodic nature of employment in the emerging “gig economy” has placed new challenges on workforce regulations and social safety net programs that were designed for an era when the distinction between workers and contractors was more clear-cut.

These services have also touched off a wide-ranging debate about their impact on the economy and on society as a whole. Many laud these services for the convenience and efficiency they bring into users’ day-to-day lives. But others worry about the vast quantities of cardboard and other waste that are the byproduct of this convenience, or express concern that these services are simply helping the already-fortunate to lead more comfortable lives – with little long-term benefit to the broader population who cannot afford to use these services, or to the workers who ultimately make them possible.

No matter what work you do, you have most likely taken part in the new digital economy. Well, at least 72% of Americans did…

New Digital Economy

Wanna know more? Pew Research examined Americans’ use of – and attitudes toward – the shared, collaborative and on-demand digital economy. The following chapters offer an in-depth examination of three archetypal examples of the most recent wave of digital innovation.

  • Chapter 2 examines the nature and impact of on-demand services in the context of ride-hailing apps.
  • Chapter 3 uses the example of home-sharing services to examine issues related to the sharing economy more broadly.
  • Chapter 4 uses a series of questions about crowdfunding platforms to examine the scope and impact of collaborative platforms.
  • Chapter 5 discusses usage data for a number of other digital economy services.

Why do people uninstall apps?

why_unistall_apps

Why Do People Uninstall Apps? Well according to ITR, a company that specialises in translation and localization services for software applications, the most overwhelming reason for uninstalling apps is that they take up too much space!

The infographic covers:

  • how long we keep apps for
  • why apps are being uninstalled
  • the 8 most common design mistakes
  • the difference between the Apple store and Google Play

[Source: ITR International Translation Resources]

Mobile Browser has the reach, Apps have the engagement. So, who’s winning?

apple-safari-logo-2015-1920-800x450

Last month, comScore released its Mobile App Report (see this amazing article by Marketing Land). The report contained many interesting findings, but its big takeaway was this:

There’s a divergence between reach and engagement.

  • The desktop and mobile Web have much greater audience.
  • Consumers spend the majority of their mobile time with a very few heavily used apps.

As the chart below indicates, the desktop is not dead: usage has grown since 2013. But that growth is modest compared with mobile.
comscore Mobile apps report

Sixty-two percent of all digital media time is now mobile, and the majority of that is in apps, which recently surpassed TV. By contrast, time spent on the desktop has plummeted to 38 percent from 49 percent since 2013.

comscore Mobile apps report

What’s interesting here is the concentration of time in apps (nearly 90 percent of mobile time) compared with their more limited audience size. The mobile Web has a much larger audience, though one that’s much less engaged.

comscore Mobile apps report

Morgan Stanley recently presented its additional findings in a research note that plays up mobile browser usage.

Characterizing the browser as the ultimate mobile app, the firm cites its own research and comScore data for the proposition that “US mobile browser audiences are 2X larger than app audiences across the top 50 mobile web properties and have grown 1.2X faster over the past 3 years.”

Mobile web vs. app traffic for top 50 mobile properties

mobile web vs. app traffic

Source: Morgan Stanley rendering of comScore data

The research note is designed to combat the perception that the mobile Web is anemic or in decline (and by extension, Google). It’s not. As the data show, mobile browser usage is growing faster than apps and delivering larger audiences for most publishers.

Morgan Stanley points out that only 12 of the top 50 mobile properties have more traffic coming from apps than the browser. The discussion argues for the primacy of the mobile browser for most publishers, brands and marketers.

As a practical matter, Morgan Stanley is absolutely correct. Most publishers will see the bulk of their traffic from mobile browser usage and not apps. The reason isn’t because the browser is somehow superior or that the “open internet must win.” The browser drives more traffic because consumers are highly selective about apps.

Mobile app traffic exceeds the browser in only a few cases

Mobile traffic apps vs. mobile web

Source: Morgan Stanley, comScore

Because of smartphone memory constraints and the mediocre quality of most apps, users are only going to download and engage with a small fraction of the apps on the market. For example, I may have one or two retailer apps on my phone (e.g., Amazon), though I shop at many more stores. My choices are tied to frequency and loyalty; I’m not going to download 10 different retail apps. Instead, I’ll use search and the browser to find information from retailers I’m more casually invested in.

Unable to deliver compelling experiences and disappointed by a lack of traction, many retailers have turned away from apps and toward the mobile Web. It’s also becoming more costly to acquire app users who may quickly churn anyway. (Here the positions of Google and Facebook are reversed, with Google positioning itself as the lower-cost alternative for app-install ads.)

It’s important to be clear that mobile apps aren’t appropriate for every merchant or marketer. The apps vs. mobile browser discussion is really about audience segmentation and user behavior patterns. As a crude generalization, the browser is for more casual audiences and apps are for more frequent and loyal customers.

I think this apps vs. browser argument is so charged partly because it’s a surrogate for Apple’s and Google’s competing visions for the mobile internet. These dueling positions have zealous detractors and partisans.

Putting aside “ideology,” marketers need to have a clear view of what approach makes the most sense for them based on a realistic understanding of the customer and her behavior and usage patterns.

It’s time to end the browser vs. apps “or” debate; it’s really about “and”.

[Source: Marketing Land]

How to to Send Google Map Directions from Desktop to Your iPhone

maps

Google Maps Updated to Send Directions from Desktop to Your iPhone

If you tend to look for locations on your desktop more often than your phone, Google’s rolled out a handy feature for iOS that lets you send location searches from the desktop version of Google Maps to your iPhone in a click.

Once enabled, you can instantly send any location from your desktop computer to your iOS device as long as they’re signed into the same account by clicking on the “Send to Device” button on the desktop version after searching for a location. To use the feature, you’ll need to enable it on your iOS device first:

  1. Open up Google Maps on iOS and make sure you’re logged into your Google account
  2. Tap the Settings menu and open up Settings
  3. Tap Notifications
  4. Make sure the “Sent from desktop maps” option is enabled and notifications are enabled for Google Maps

With that, you should see the “Send to Device” option in Google Maps on your desktop. If not, try logging out and logging back in again. The same feature’s been in Android since April.

[Source: LifeHacker]

Teens, Social, Mobile & Technology Overview 2015

teens social mobile

Mobile Access Shifts Social Media Use and Other Online Activities

Accessing the internet on mobile devices

The survey shows that 91% of teens go online from a mobile device, at least occasionally. African-American teens are significantly more likely than whites or Hispanics to use mobile devices to go online — with nearly all African-American youth in the study reporting mobile internet access at least occasionally, while 90% of white and 91% of Hispanic teens go online on-the-go.

91% of Teens Use the Internet on a Mobile Device

Internet use is a near ‘constant’ for some teens

Teens ages 13 to 17 are also going online frequently. Aided by the convenience and constant access provided by mobile phones, 92% of teens report going online daily — with 24% using the internet “almost constantly,” 56% going online several times a day, and 12% reporting once-a-day use. Just 6% of teens report going online weekly, and 2% go online less often.

Frequency of Internet Use by Teens

Much of this frenzy of access is facilitated by mobile phones — particularly smartphones. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of teens have a smartphone while just 12% of teens 13 to 17 say they have no cell phone of any type. Fully 91% of teens go online from mobile devices at least occasionally, and 94% of these mobile teens go online daily or more often, compared with 68% of teens who do not use mobile devices to go online.

African-American and Hispanic youth report going online with greater frequency than white teens. About a third (34%) of African-American teens and 32% of Hispanic teens report going online “almost constantly,” while 19% of white teens go online that often. White teens are more likely to say they go online several times a day — the most commonly expressed frequency of internet access across all groups.

Youth from well-to-do families go online more frequently than youth from the least wealthy households; nearly all (93%) teens from homes earning more than $30,000 annually go online daily, compared with 86% of those from households earning $30,000 or less.

Texting

33% of Teens with Cell Phones Use

Texting has undergone a change in the past several years with the advent of smartphone-based messaging apps that have added features and changed the cost, message length and other structures around sending short messages. Fully 91% of teen cell owners use text messaging — either directly through their mobile phones or through an app or a website.

In a testament to the shifting landscape of texting, one third (33%) of teens with cell phones use messaging apps like Kik or WhatsApp. These apps are more likely to be used by Hispanic and African-American youth who own cell phones, with 46% of Hispanic teens and 47% of African-American teens using messaging apps to send texts, compared with one-quarter (24%) of white teens with cell phones. Teens on the lower end of the income spectrum are also more likely to use messaging apps on their smartphones, with 39% of cell-owning teens from households earning less than $50,000 annually using the apps, compared with 31% of teens from wealthier families. Girls are also a bit more likely than boys to use messaging apps, with 37% of cell-owning girls using them compared with 29% of boys with cell phones. Use of these apps varies little by the age of the teen.

The number of text messages sent or received by cell phone owning teens ages 13 to 17 (directly through phone or on apps on the phone) on a typical day is 30. The number of messages exchanged for girls is higher, typically sending and receiving 40 messages a day. And for the oldest girls (15 to 17), this rises to a median of 50 messages exchanged daily.

Among teens with cell phones, those from less well-off families are more likely than others to report that they simply don’t send text messages. Some 18% of teens from families earning less than $30,000 annually report that they do not text, compared with less than 7% for those in higher-earning families.

A Typical Teen Sends and Receives 30 Texts a Day

Girls Dominate Visually-Oriented Social Media Platforms

Online Pinboards

Online pinboards are sites like Pinterest or Polyvore where users can “pin” online content to create highly visual displays of images and information for inspiration, purchase or construction. One-in-five teens — 22% — use online pinboards. Girls, especially older ones, are the major users of these sites, with 33% of girls and 11% of boys using the boards. A quarter of older teens pin on pinboards as do 16% of younger teens. The oldest girls ages 15 to 17 are the most likely to pin, with 38% using online boards.

33% of Girls Use Online Pinboards; 11% of Boys Use Them

Discussion boards

One-in-six teens (17%) read or comment on discussion boards like reddit or Digg. There are few differences among teens in use of these online boards by age or gender or any other major demographic category.

17% of Teens Read or Comment on Online Discussion Boards

Anonymous apps and sites

11% of Cell-Owning Teens Use Anonymous Sharing or Question Apps

Whisper, Yik Yak and Ask.FM are three examples of anonymous sharing apps or sites where individuals can ask questions or post confessional text or images anonymously. Just 11% of teens with cell phones report using anonymous question or sharing apps. Girls are a bit more likely to visit these sites than boys, with 13% of girls with cell phones using anonymous sharing or question sites while 8% of boys with cell phones report the same. Hispanic teens are nearly twice as likely as white teens to use these platforms, with 16% of Hispanic youth using anonymous sharing or question platforms compared with 9% of whites. And just 6% of the least well-off teens (those whose parents earn less $30,000 a year) visit anonymous sites, compared with 12% of teens from more well-to-do homes.

Playing video games

Nearly three-quarters (72%) of teens play video games online or on their phone — 84% of boys and 59% of girls — play such games. African-American teens are substantially more likely to report playing video games than their white or Hispanic counterparts; 83% of African-American teens play games compared with 71% of white and 69% of black teens.6 Teens who play video games cross the socio-economic spectrum evenly, with little variation by family income or education.

72% of teens play video games

Video call and chat

Some 47% of teens talk with others over video connections such as Skype, Oovoo, Facetime and Omegle. Older girls are the most enthusiastic chatters with 54% of them video calling or chatting with others compared with 44% of all other teens. And 53% of Hispanic teens video chat and call, a bit more than the 43% of white teens who report talking by video.

47% of Teens Use Video Calling or Chats

Social Media

Teens are enthusiastic users of social media sites and apps. When asked a general question about whether they used social media, three-quarters (76%) of teens use social media, and 81% of older teens use the sites, compared with 68% of teens 13 to 14.

When asked about seven specific sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, Google+ and Vine), and given the option to report another site used, 89% of all teens reported that they used at least one of the sites and two-thirds of teens (71%) reported using two or more sites. Among the 18% of teens who only use one site, 66% use Facebook, 13% use Google+ and 13% use Instagram. Just 3% of the single site users use Snapchat, and another 2% say they use a site we didn’t ask about in the list, including Wattpad (a reading site), Youtube, Oovoo and ifunny, among others. Less than 2% (each) report using Twitter, Vine or Tumblr as their sole social media platform. Below is an analysis of teens’ use of social media, organized by major platform.

Facebook

71% of Teens are Facebook Users

Facebook is the most popular of all the social media platforms included in the survey, with 71% of all teens saying they use Facebook. Boys and girls are equally likely to report using the platform, but older users ages 15 to 17 are more likely to use it than younger users 13 to 14. Much of the difference is located within the youngest age group — the 13-year-olds — of whom less than half (44%) say they use Facebook, while of 77% of 14- to 17-year-olds report use.

Teens from somewhat less well-off households are more likely to report using Facebook than teens from wealthier homes; 77% of teens from families earning less than $50,000 annually use Facebook, while 68% of teens from households earning more say they use the platform.

Use of Facebook is relatively consistent across racial and ethnic groups. Urban teens report more use of Facebook than teens from the suburbs, with 77% of urban teens on the site, compared with two-thirds (67%) of suburban teens.

Adult use of Facebook has plateaued in recent years, with 71% of online adults using the site. However, Facebook’s user base remains quite active, with 70% of Facebook users engaging with the site daily. For more details on adult use of Facebook, please read Social Media Update 2014.

Facebook users typically have 145 friends

A Typical Facebook User Has 145 Facebook Friends

Among Facebook-using teens, the typical teen has 145 Facebook friends. Breaking it down, the largest group of teens — 30% — say they have Facebook networks of 0 to 100 friends. Another 12% report networks of 101-200 friends and 9% say 201 to 300 friends. And 15% say they have more than 300 friends. Tellingly, one-third of teens say they are not sure how many Facebook friends they have. Analyzing typical (median) friend counts for different subgroups of Facebook-using teens, we see some substantial variations. Boys report 100 friends to girls’ 175. Young teens 13 to 14 typically report smaller networks (91 friends) compared with older teens 15 to 17 who typically have 168 friends. Networks vary in typical size from 84 amongst the youngest boys to 200 friends among girls 15 to 17.

Instagram

First launched in 2010, Instagram has become a mainstay for adolescent social media users. More than half (52%) of all teens report using Instagram to share photos and video with friends, with girls substantially more likely to use it than boys (61% to 44%). Much of the difference between boys and girls is accounted for by the youngest boys (ages 13 to 14) of whom only 33% use Instagram, compared with half of older boys (ages 15 to 17) and more than half of the younger girls. The heaviest users of Instagram are the oldest girls of whom 64% share photos on Instagram.

Half of American Teens Use Instagram

The typical teen’s Instagram network has 150 followers.

A Typical Instagram-Using Teen Has 150 Followers

The typical American teen who uses Instagram has 150 followers in their network. Girls outpace boys in their typical number of followers, with girls reporting a median of 200 followers on Instagram compared with 100 followers for boys. There is little variation in the number of followers between younger and older cohorts of teens. And fully 39% of Instagramming teens are not sure how many followers they have.

Use of Instagram is not just confined to teens; 21% of American adults use the photo and video sharing platform. As with Twitter, young adults ages 18 to 29 are the most likely to use Instagram. The service is also popular with adult women, Hispanics, African-Americans, and urban and suburban dwellers. For more data on adult use of Instagram, please visit our Social Media Update 2014.

Snapchat

Snapchat is another relatively new photo and video focused sharing app that teens have embraced in the last two and half years. Two-in-five American teens (41%) use Snapchat to share images and videos that are then automatically deleted within a predetermined amount of time — usually a few seconds. (At least that is the way the firm describes how the service works. In practice, there are many workarounds that allow viewers to capture images.) By a wide margin, girls and older teens are the most likely to send snaps — with half of girls using the service, compared with 31% of boys. Similarly, 47% of older teens 15 to 17 send snaps, while 31% of younger teens do so. Older girls are the most likely of any teen group to use to service, with 56% using Snapchat. Teens from the lowest income households earning less than $30,000 per year are the least likely to use the service, with 30% of them sending snaps, while 43% of wealthier teens send them.

41% of Teens are Snapchat Users

Twitter

A third (33%) of all teens use Twitter. Older teens are more likely to use the service than younger, with use rising steadily as teens age, from just 13% of 13-year-olds using the service to 28% of 14-year-olds and 43% of 17-year-olds. The oldest girls ages 15 to 17 are the most likely to use Twitter with nearly half of them (49%) using it. This study does not show statistically significant differences by race, locale or a teen’s socio-economic status.

33% of American Teens Use Twitter

Typical Twitter users have 95 followers.

Typical Twitter-using Teens Have 95 Twitter Followers

Among teens who use Twitter, the typical Twitter user has 95 followers — though 44% of teen Twitterers are not sure how many followers they have. Digging deeper into subgroups of teens, girls outpace boys in numbers of followers, with the typical girl reporting 116 followers to 61 for the typical boy. The differences are even more extreme between younger teens and older; 13- and 14- year-olds report a median of 30 followers compared with 103 followers for older teens.

Among all adults 18 and older, 19% use Twitter. Young adults 18 to 29 are the most likely to use the platform with 37% using the service. Since 2013, Twitter has seen growth among whites, men, those earning $50,000 or more, college graduates and urban dwellers. For more data on use of Twitter by adults, please see our Social Media Update 2014.

Google+

Google+ is a social network that comes as a part of a suite of Google-offered tools through an account on the service. A third of teens (33%) say they use Google+. Hispanic teens are more likely to use Google+ than white or African-American youth; 48% of Hispanic youth use Google+, compared to a little more than one-quarter (26%) of white teens and 29% of African-American teenagers.

And teens from families with somewhat lower levels of education (parents with a high school diploma or some college experience) are more likely to use the service (35%) than teens from families with parents with a college degree, where a bit more than one quarter (27%) of teens report a Google+ account. Given that schools are increasingly adopting Gmail and other Google tools to use with students in and out of school, many youth have access to Google+ through tools for school work.

33% of Teens Use Google+

Vine

Roughly one quarter of teens (24%) use Vine, an app that allows users to record and share short, six-second videos. Vine is used by more girls than boys, with 27% of young women using the app compared with 20% of young men. As with many social photo and video platforms, the oldest girls ages 15 to 17 are the most likely to use Vine, with 29% of them reporting use. Use of Vine is evenly spread across income groups, education, and racial and ethnic groups.

24% of American Teens Use Vine

Tumblr

Tumblr is a microblogging service where users can curate and share posts of mostly visual content they create themselves or find elsewhere on the web. About one-in-seven (14%) teens use Tumblr. Tumblr is predominately used by girls in this age group with 23% of girls 13 to 17 using the service, compared with just 5% of boys the same age. Much of this is driven by the oldest girls (ages 15 to 17) of whom 27% report using Tumblr. Overall, older teens are modestly more likely to use Tumblr than younger teens, with 10% of 13- to 14-year-olds and 16% of 15- to 17-year-olds using it.

23% of Teen Girls Use Tumblr

Facebook is used most often by the bulk of teens, but access varies, based on family income

Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat Used Most Often by American Teens

When asked to rank social media sites by their frequency of use, Facebook is the platform that teens report that they use most often, with 41% of youth saying they use it most. Instagram is the next most often used social media platform, with 20% of teens saying they use it most often. Fully 11% of teens say Snapchat is the social site they use most, and another 6% say Twitter.

The data shows a split in social media use by socio-economic status. Less well-off teens from families earning less than $30,000 annually remain more connected to Facebook, with 51% saying they use it most, compared with 38% of teens from wealthier families. More well-to-do teens instead are significantly more likely than the least well-off teens to say they visit Snapchat most, with 14% of those from families earning more than $75,000 saying Snapchat is their top social media platform, compared with 7% of teens whose families earn less than $30,000 annually. There is a similar pattern by income around Twitter, with the wealthiest teens shifting to Twitter more than their least well-to-do peers.

Split in Social Media Used Most Often by Household Income

The youngest teens — the 13-year-olds — divide their loyalties between Facebook and Instagram, with a bit more than a quarter of teens this age reporting they use each of these platforms most often. Teens 14 and older are more likely to have Facebook as their most often visited site. Indeed the youngest girls (ages 13 and 14) are the most likely to report using Instagram most often of any age/gender group, with 31% reporting Instagram as their most often visited platform.

Boys are more likely than girls to give Facebook as their most visited site, with 45% of boys reporting that, compared with 36% of teen girls. Girls are more likely than boys to report Instagram as their most often visited site, with 23% of girls and 17% of boys saying it is their most visited platform. Older teens are more likely than younger teens to list Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter as their most often visited platforms, though for Snapchat this is driven by great use among 15- to 17-year-old girls. Urban teens are most likely to say they visit Facebook most often, while suburban teens report visiting Instagram more than their urban peers.

Many teens ho use multiple online social network sites report “some” overlap in their online personal social networks

Lower Income Teens More Likely to Have the Same Friends Across Multiple Social Media Platforms

When asked to think about how much overlap they have with various friends on the different social networks they use, the largest group of teens who use multiple social media platforms report that there is “some” overlap in their friends on the different sites. More than half (57%) of teens describe their networks as having some overlap across sites. Another three-in-ten teens (29%) have tight networks — reporting that their networks are composed of the same people on every social site they visit. And 9% say there is “not a lot” of overlap in their friends across social media sites. Another 4% of teens are compartmentalizers, who report no overlap of friends across the social sites they visit.

Teens who use more than one social media platform and come from households earning less than $75,000 per year are more likely to say they have the same friends across all of their networks, with 35% of teens in these income brackets reporting the same friends, compared with 23% of teens from the wealthiest homes. Teens from higher income households (earning $50,000 and above) are substantially more likely to report that they have some overlap among friends across their different social networks, with 61% reporting some overlap, compared with 48% of those earning less. Teens from households that earn less than $50,ooo a year are more likely than wealthier teens to report that they have completely compartmentalized their social network platforms, with no overlap of friends across the different sites they use. Fully 7% of households earning less than $50,000 say they have no overlap in friends, compared with 2% of teens from families that earn more.

[Source: Pew Research]

2015 Worldwide Trends and Data for Digital, Social and Mobile [Global + 30 Country Reports]

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The wonderful folks at GlobalWebIndex have been great partners to WeAreSocial over the years, most recently helping them to put together a superlative report on digital stats from around the world.

Look through We Are Social’s comprehensive new Digital, Social and Mobile Worldwide in 2015 report, and it’s clear why fast-growth markets are now so important to digital and social trends: regions such as APAC and LatAm contain online populations which are not only vast in size but which are growing at phenomenal year-on-year rates.

What’s more, GlobalWebIndex’s data shows that digital consumers in these fast-growth/emerging markets are some of the most engaged when it comes to online behaviour. They’ve been tracking the daily time that people spend on various forms of media since 2012; by asking 170,000 annual respondents how long they typically devote to the internet as well as online and offline forms of TV, press and radio, they’ve been able to build a detailed profile of daily media behaviors. The results show that the internet is capturing more and more of our time each day – with total hours spent online via PCs, laptops, mobiles and tablets growing from 5.55 in 2012 to 6.15 in 2014.

One of the drivers of this is still-increasing levels of engagement with social networks, which have climbed from a daily average of 1.61 to 1.72 hours over the period in question. This offers important food-for-thought given that some commentators still like to proclaim the “end of social networking”. In actual fact, we’re spending more time on networks now than in the earlier part of the decade – with the rise of the mobile internet, and the ability it affords us to connect to a still-widening range of networks at any time and from any location, being a major driver of this.

Time-Spent-Social-Networking-by-Country

Click image to enlarge: Average number of hours per day spent using social networks, by country. NB: GlobalWebIndex have calculated these average times using data for all internet users (including those who do not use social media at all), whereas the figures in We Are Social’s Digital, Social, & Mobile 2015 report are averages based on the same source data, but which do not include the data for non-social media users.

That said, engagement with social networking can vary significantly from country-to-country. Typically, it is highest in fast-growth/emerging nations where online populations are skewed towards young, urban and affluent demographics (all of these being characteristics which increase an individual’s likelihood of being a social networker).

The Philippines posts the highest figure of all (with a sizeable 3.42 hours), but LatAm countries follow very closely behind. It’s hardly a surprise that there’s a very strong correlation with usage of the mobile internet here; where the mobile web scores well, we typically see social networking accounting for large amounts of daily media time too.

At the other end of the spectrum, we find the lowest amounts of time being devoted to networks in a number of mature markets; here, internet penetration rates are normally very high, meaning the corresponding online populations have a much broader / higher age profile, and are more representative of the country’s total population.

In short, older segments are better represented in mature nations but are some of the least enthusiastic about social networking – something which has an obvious impact on national averages. Japan appears at the very bottom of the table, with just 0.30 hours spent on networking per day; the lack of enthusiasm for networks generally – and for Facebook in particular – are key local factors in this market. Behind this are other mature APAC markets such as Australia as well as most of the European countries tracked by GWI.

Given these geographic and demographic patterns, it’s hardly a surprise that internet users in fast-growth nations are also the biggest “multi-networkers” (those who maintain accounts on the highest number of social platforms). Indonesia tops the table here, with internet users typically being members of 7.39 networks, but it’s in China where people are most likely to actively use the greatest number of social networks (4.27 per internet user). That there are so many local platforms in China is a major contributor to this, as is the fact that leading global names such as Facebook are not as off-limits as is often assumed.

In some studies – especially those based on data from passively collected analytics – it’s still common to see Chinese usage of Facebook, Twitter and similar sites recorded as zero. This is a major mistake; there are in fact a number of ways that Chinese internet users are bypassing official restrictions on social networks, including accessing via apps (16% in China say that they have used the Facebook app in the last 30 days, and a look at the top apps being downloaded in China on a daily basis shows that Western social networks feature very prominently within the list).

Average-Number-of-Social-Networks-481x500

Click image to enlarge: Average number of active social media accounts maintained by internet users, broken down by age and by country.

Significantly, VPN (Virtual Private Network) apps are also being widely downloaded in China – with these tools representing the other major access route for those Chinese users looking to bypass official restrictions. Close to a fifth of online adults in China in fact say they’ve used a VPN in order to access restricted websites or social platforms.

Not only does this trend underline the potential limitations of using passively collected, geo-located data in isolation – which can over-estimate the size of social audiences in markets such as the USA, Netherlands, South Korea and Sweden, where VPN and Proxy servers tend to be located – it also emphasizes the growing futility of attempting to prevent national audiences from accessing certain sites. Most clearly of all, though, it demonstrates why networking behaviors in China – as well as in many other fast-growth markets – are much more diversified and sophisticated than is often assumed.

[Source: We Are Social]