Hello. I'm a digital marketer and freelancer in the creative and cultural sectors, currently working at the British Library. I like blogging about digital stuff, social media, museums, art, entrepreneurship, design and creativity.

One quarter of the world’s population now use social media

One quarter of the world’s population now use social media

After doing some research into China’s mobile chat market, I’m really interested in how sites that are so familiar to us in the UK and US are faring in the rest of the world.

It’s a relatively new phenomenon, but recent stats from eMarketer show that there will be 1.96bn social network users worldwide in 2015, accounting a whopping 27.1% of the global population. Usage is rising slowly and steadily, mainly fueled by new mobile internet users in developing areas in the Middle East and Africa, Latin America and Asia-Pacific. Global social media usage is expected to grow by nearly 2bn in the next year alone.

Approximately 61.6% of the global social networking audience use Facebook regularly and 13.5% use Twitter. Twitter and Facebook usage is saturated in more developed digital markets, but there is still lots of potential for growth in Asia-Pacific, Latin America and the Middle East and Africa. Most of this growth is on the back of improved access to the internet via tablets and phones. Countries with rapidly growing internet audiences such as India, Mexico, Indonesia and Brazil will see greater than average growth over the next few years.

So how do the world’s top social media sites fare?

Facebook takes the lead. The number of users worldwide reached 1bn mark in 2014 and is expected to rise by around 10% in 2015. To help you with the maths, 17% of the global population and 61% of social media users will visit Facebook regularly this year. As you’d expect, North America and the UK have the highest levels of take-up. 

eMarketer predicts that 263.7m people across the world will use Twitter regularly in 2015. This accounts for 13.5% of all social media users and 3.6% of the global population. Did you know Japan has one of the most active Twitter user bases in the world? More than half of all social network users in the country will access the service this year – the highest rate of any country.

So what does this all mean? On the one hand it means that marketers can use these channels to truly connect with a global audience. It also shows that they are not going anywhere soon, and even if it seems like Facebook is getting a bit more stagnant in the UK, it’s still growing fast in other countries. It is also alarming (as with Google) the sway of influence they might have on the world’s population. It also makes me think about how these channels can be used more wisely for things that really matter – poverty and climate change, for example.

Image: Data from eMarketer on global social media use.

Image: Data from eMarketer on global social media use.

Please note: This data comes from market research company eMarketer - you can buy the full report on their website, or if you're local, access it for free in the British Library Business & IP Centre.

Diebenkorn at the Royal Academy

Diebenkorn at the Royal Academy

Is blogging for business always a good idea?

Is blogging for business always a good idea?