I originally wrote this post in September 2012, and updated it at the end of November 2012 to take account of new stats. The charts will update when I enter new stats, but the commentary may not reflect that for a while (until I get around to updating it!)
Back in July I wrote a post: estimating social media usage in a local geographic area, and a follow-up: Facebook usage: a local perspective. All the figures I’d seen published had been at a national or international level, and I thought I’d try and get some local stats for Hampshire where I live and work. I started by looking at Facebook, as it has the most users of any platform.
As far as I know, there are two ways of getting hold of Facebook usage data:
- Spend lots of cash and buy the complete data (which is what large corporations do)
- Spend lots of time gathering the data manually using the ‘advertise’ feature within Facebook (which is what I’ve done).
After spending ages in June gathering as much data as possible, I’ve just produced basic stats each month* since then. I know I said previously that I’d automate the process, but I haven’t yet spent-the-time to save-the-time (in other words, I still haven’t worked out how to do it).
In the rest of this post I look at what’s changed over the last few months. I’ve included some charts for LinkedIn as well, as you can get some very basic data using a similar method, although the geographic area** is different.
Please don’t rely on any of the figures in this post – as I’ve mentioned previously, there are anomalies*** in the data, and – whilst I’ve been careful – it’s tedious and time-consuming, and I haven’t double-checked everything yet, so errors may have have crept in along the way.
Overall, the number of users is increasing, although there was a slight dip in July.
Total users in most age ranges has gone up, with the fastest growth in young adults (18-24 and 25 -34).
The number of users in the youngest age range is declining, with a very slight decrease in the number of young men in the 13-17 group.
The reduction in young men using Facebook in September was overshadowed by an increase in young women in the same age range. That changed in November with the numbers of young women also falling.
It would be interesting to look at other social platforms to see if this reduction in young Facebook users heralds something else poised to become the next ‘big thing’.
Volumes are obviously much smaller than Facebook, but it’s worth mentioning that the number of LinkedIn users is increasing month-on-month, with the pattern across all ages incredibly similar each month.
By far the largest proportion of male users are aged between 35 and 54, with much smaller numbers in all of the other age ranges.
There are fewer women than men using LinkedIn overall – men outnumber women almost 2:1 – but the numbers of women are much more evenly distributed across the three youngest age ranges.
I do intend to explore the data I’ve collected for various types of mobile device. It’s on my list to blog about at some point, hopefully quite soon.
* Not quite true, as I forgot to collect the numbers in October
** Geographic area
- Facebook advertising gives you a choice of three distances from major cities (10, 25 and 50 miles). I selected 25 miles from Winchester as that covers a large part of Hampshire.
- LinkedIn advertising gives a list of cities and you can select one or more on the list. Winchester isn’t listed, so I picked both Portsmouth and Southampton instead. Unfortunately, there’s no more detail about the area covered.
*** Caveats and anomalies
- The numbers are continually changing, and appear to be based on ‘live’ data.
- The total number of Linkedin users is much higher than the sum of the sub-totals for different age ranges. This is probably because some people do not specify their age
- Some people choose not to disclose their gender on Facebook, so there may be some disparity between the total number of users and men / women
- The sum of users by age range is less than the total number of registered users. This may be because some people don’t specify their age