Online social networks are everywhere these days, a truly global phenomenon. But where are the different social networks having the most success in terms of popularity? That is what we’ll try to answer in this post.
Please note that this isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list covering all social networks out there. There are literally hundreds of them.
To map popularity, we’ve used Google search statistics (their Insights for Search tool). This will give us a good indication of the interest – or popularity, if you will – of a social network in a given region. We’re basing this survey on search results from the past 90 days, so it’s a reasonably large, up-to-date sample. After all, we want to know the situation right now.
A few initial observations
We’ve gone through and summarized some of the information for you, but please feel free to scroll down and check out the individual social networks you’re interested in.
Top countries for each social network (in terms of interest)
- Facebook is most popular in Turkey and Venezuela.
- Twitter is most popular in Venezuela and Brazil.
- LinkedIn is most popular in the Netherlands and India.
- Google+ is most popular in Taiwan and Hong Kong.
- Tumblr is most popular in the Philippines and Brazil.
- FourSquare is most popular in Indonesia and Malaysia.
- MySpace is most popular in Puerto Rico and Myanmar (Burma).
- LiveJournal is most popular in Singapore and Russia.
- Hi5 is most popular in Thailand and Romania.
- Bebo is most popular in Ireland and New Zealand.
- Orkut is most popular in Brazil and Paraguay. The interest shown for Orkut in Brazil far outstrips that of any other country.
It’s worth pointing out that this doesn’t necessarily mean that the majority of users come from these countries. We’re talking about sheer interest in a service. The size of the local user base will depend on the size of the Internet population in that country.
Also note that we haven’t compared the social networks against each other. This is a survey that examines where each social network has managed to garner the most interest in its service.
Some standout countries in this survey
- Brazil is in the top five for Twitter, Orkut, Tumblr and Bebo.
- Singapore is in the top five for LinkedIn, Tumblr, FourSquare and LiveJournal.
- The United States is in the top five for LinkedIn, Tumblr and MySpace.
- The Philippines is in the top five for Tumblr, FourSquare and LiveJournal.
- India is in the top five for LinkedIn and Orkut.
- The United Kingdom is in the top five for LinkedIn and Bebo.
- Indonesia is in the top five for Twitter and FourSquare.
- Venezuela and Turkey are in the top five for Facebook and Twitter.
That was just a brief summary. Why don’t you go ahead and have a look for yourself? We’ve listed the results for all the included social networks here below. We’ve also included direct links to Google Insights for Search if you want to dig even deeper into the results and play around a little.
Countries with the highest interest in Facebook:
- Dominican Republic
You can dig deeper into Google’s search stats for Facebook here.
Countries with the highest interest in Twitter:
- El Salvador
You can dig deeper into Google’s search stats for Twitter here.
Countries with the highest interest in LinkedIn:
- United Kingdom
- United States
You can dig deeper into Google’s search stats for LinkedIn here.
Countries with the highest interest in Google+:
- Hong Kong
(Ok, Hong Kong isn’t a country per se, but Google Insights for Search lists “regions”, which don’t always correspond to countries.)
You can dig deeper into Google’s search stats for Google+ here.
Countries with the highest interest in Orkut:
You can dig deeper into Google’s search stats for Orkut here.
Countries with the highest interest in Tumblr:
- United States
You can dig deeper into Google’s search stats for Tumblr here.
Countries with the highest interest in FourSquare:
You can dig deeper into Google’s search stats for FourSquare here.
Countries with the highest interest in MySpace:
- Puerto Rico
- Myanmar (Burma)
- United States
- Trinidad and Tobago
You can dig deeper into Google’s search stats for MySpace here.
Countries with the highest interest in LiveJournal:
You can dig deeper into Google’s search stats for LiveJournal here.
Countries with the highest interest in Hi5:
You can dig deeper into Google’s search stats for Hi5 here.
Countries with the highest interest in Bebo:
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
You can dig deeper into Google’s search stats for Bebo here.
As you noticed, we only included a limited list of social networks in this survey. For example, we didn’t include social networks that are regional by nature, i.e. don’t have a global focus. There are plenty of country- or language-specific social networks that are successful in individual countries, for example VKontakte in Russia and the Russian-speaking countries of the former Soviet Union, Mixi in Japan, RenRen and Qzone in China, Hyves in the Netherlands, etc.
If you’re curious, you can check out a similar survey we did three years ago, in August of 2008. We thought an update was long overdue, since things change so rapidly in social media.