In a previous post, social media growth from 2006 through 2010 was documented. As with that effort, there are no clear or easy answers when investigating the growth of social media sites over the past five years. No reliable or audited data exists for social media sites. Therefore, the numbers presented in the table below represent an estimate of total registered users for each of the sites investigated. The numbers are not assumed to be accurate, valid or reliable – they are as presented: estimates based on the best available public information. Data was collected for three social media sites and three blog hosting sites: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, WordPress.com, Tumblr and Posterous. Estimates for the latter three represent the number of blogs hosted on the sites (not the number of unique bloggers, a much lower number, as estimated in the original post). The result of the change in reporting for the three blogging platforms, necessitated by the lack of data regarding number of unique bloggers, explains some of the exceptional growth reported below. No data for self-hosted blogs using WordPress.org is presented. As of December 2011, all variations of WordPress version 3 have been downloaded in excess of 65 million times.
As in the original post, the Compound Annual Growth Rate (GAGR) is calculated for each using the free Investopedia Compound Annual Growth Rate calculator available on their website.
When examining the charts individually, the growth patterns look similar. Globally, the total number of people using social media continues to increase. Facebook, alone, reports 11.45 percent of the global population as registered users. The average CAGR for the six social media sites is 443.66 percent ranging from 75.97 percent to 1,145.73 percent. Again, multiple factors contribute to this exceptional growth rate as compared to the data reported in 2010, including the change in reporting for blogs (total number of blogs hosted, not unique users) and the rapid growth of both Twitter and Posterous. Growth charts are presented below for each of the social media sites included in this investigation.
When charted together, the domination of Facebook’s growth and share of voice in the social media world remains apparent. The launch of Google+ as a viable alternative to Facebook, although well received by the social media community, has not gained much traction in the broader audience. Data from Google+ will be included in next year’s update.
The final chart presented is social media share of voice. The inner ring contains the data from 2006 and the outer ring presents the data from 2011.
It is clear that in terms of diffusion of innovation, social media remains in the growth stage. Equally as clear, but not reported above, is that more people globally are accessing social media from mobile devices. For marketers, the implications are irrefutable: get social and become mobile or risk losing share of voice in the social/mobile marketing era.