Facebook dominates worldwide social networking, study finds

Facebook Inc. has grown 153% during the past year, propelled by the soaring growth of new in virtually every market outside North America, according to a report on social networking released Tuesday by ComScore Inc.While the growth in the number of new social networking users leveled off to 9% in North America between June 2007 and June 2008, growth in several other regions soared by well over 30% during the same period, according to the ComScore report. For example, the number of new users in the Middle East and Africa grew by 66% during the year, while usage in Europe grew by 35% and in Latin America by 33%, the report noted.
http://computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9112547Social Networking Explodes Worldwide as Sites Increase their Focus on Cultural Relevance [news release]
comScore, Inc. released a study of worldwide usage of social networking sites, indicating that while the growth in new users in North America is beginning to level off, it is burgeoning in other regions around the world. During the past year, the total North American audience of social networkers has grown 9 percent compared to a much larger 25 percent growth for the world at large. The Middle East-Africa region (up 66 percent), Europe (up 35 percent), and Latin America (up 33 percent) have each grown at well-above average rates.”While the social networking trend first took off in North America, it is beginning to reach a point of maturity in the region,” said Jack Flanagan, comScore executive vice president. “However, the phenomenon is still growing rapidly in other regions around the world – especially as the established American brands turn their focus to developing markets.”Facebook and Hi5 Lead Global Growth among Top Social Networking SitesDuring the past year, many of the top social networking sites have demonstrated rapid growth in their global user bases. Facebook.com, which took over the global lead among social networking sites in April 2008, has made a concerted effort to become more culturally relevant in markets outside the U.S. Its introduction of natural language interfaces in several markets has helped propel the site to 153-percent growth during the past year. Meanwhile, the emphasis Hi5.com has put on its full-scale localization strategy has helped the site double its visitor base to more than 56 million. Other social networking sites, including Friendster.com (up 50 percent), Orkut (up 41 percent), and Bebo.com (up 32 percent) have demonstrated particularly strong growth on a global basis.Facebook Gains Traction in Europe and Other RegionsFacebook’s recent ascension to become the top global social networking site has been spurred by its substantial growth across worldwide regions. Though its largest visitor base is still in North America (49 million), Facebook’s growth in the region is a relatively modest 38-percent. In every other worldwide region, Facebook’s audience has more than quadrupled. Europe is quickly catching up with North America as Facebook’s largest visitor base with 35 million visitors in June, a 303-percent increase and a net addition of nearly 27 million monthly visitors versus year ago. Other worldwide regions have seen even more dramatic growth on a percentage basis.”Facebook has done an exceptional job of leveraging its brand internationally during the past year,” added Mr. Flanagan. “By increasing the site’s relevance to local markets through local language interface translation, the site is now competing strongly or even capturing the lead in several markets where it had a relatively minor presence just a year ago.”This news release with tables is available from comScore’s website at www.comscore.com/press/release.asp?press=2396.

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