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Looking back at 2013: Social media in Germany

To start the year, here is a short review of the development of the most important social media networks in Germany with the current estimated figures. The most important portals are examined, starting from the top dog Facebook to small networks such as Pinterest and Foursquare. However, the presentations do not claim to be complete and the figures do not claim to be correct. Nevertheless, they provide information about the importance and applicability for business activities. This means you know how you can use social media to generate new customers, for example.

Facebook: Network to communicate with friends and acquaintances

Facebook remains the number one in Germany. Unfortunately, the social media platform has since stopped publicly presenting user figures. The last figures were from summer 2013 and stood at 26 million active German users. Since the times of tumultuous growth in Germany are over, we estimate user numbers for the beginning of 2014 at around 27 million.

Google+: Google’s own answer to Facebook

Google does not publish user figures for individual countries, but there are good estimates. Furthermore, it must be noted that the mere number of those who are registered on Google+ says nothing about the platform itself. After all, anyone who signs up for any Google service – such as Gmail – automatically becomes part of the Google+ network. Estimates say that there are now around 9 million active users of Google+ in Germany. That would be a doubling compared to the previous year. The number seems high, but it matches the order of magnitude of the 6.7 million active German users published by Google spokesman Stefan Keuchel about half a year ago

Twitter: Social media platform for short messages

Twitter is always in the news and plays an important role in some countries – but not in Germany. So how many active Twitter users are there in Germany? Experts estimate that only 1 per cent of German internet users are active on Twitter. That would be just over 500,000. Others assume around 1.2 million active Twitterers in Germany. The latter figure seems to be more realistic. This is because it fits better with the very reliable Twitter census conducted by the web evangelists last year. Thus, the use of the social media platform can be estimated at around 1 million.

StudiVZ, SchülerVZ und meinVZ: “Facebook” for pupils

In the battle for the favour of users, there has been one clear loser in recent years: the VZ networks. First they were passed on from investor to investor. Then SchülerVZ was closed down completely in April 2013. In statistics of the most important social networks in Germany, StudiVZ and meinVZ (which are still online) no longer appear at all. Accordingly, it is difficult to find reliable user figures for the VZ networks. If one continues the shrinkage of the previous years, we have in any case probably now arrived below the 1 million active users mark.

XING: Social Media for Business

XING’s 2013 figures are not yet available in full, so we have to go by the third quarter. Here, 13.8 million members in total and 6.7 million members for the DACH region were reported. This fits in well with the XING figures from previous years. According to which about half of the members are also to be found in the German-speaking region. At the beginning of 2014, the business network should have around 14 million members in total. Around 7 million members are located in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. This means that the slow but steady growth of previous years is continuing. Incidentally, the distribution of paying members is quite different. Of the approximately 830,000 Premium members, 805,000 are from the DACH region. And there are also figures on the activity of XING users. Around half use XING for less than one hour per week.

LinkedIn: Social Media for businesses (international)

LinkedIn, the international counterpart to XING, is growing somewhat more dynamically in the DACH region than its German competitor. In mid-2013, it reported 4 million users. With growth of around 100,000 new users per month, we should have reached around 4.5 million German-speaking users by now. LinkedIn also continues to be successful internationally. It should crack the 300 million member mark in the first quarter of 2014.

Instagram: Your own picture gallery on the internet

For smaller networks such as Instagram, Pinterest and Foursquare, it is still difficult to find or determine German user figures. Therefore, we first look at the international development: Instagram has doubled its user numbers since last year and now has around 200 million users. A statistic from Bitkom, which indicates the percentage use of even smaller services, helps with a rough estimate of German-speaking users. Based on a good 50 million internet users in Germany, this gives about 3 million German Instagram users.

Pinterest: Social media network for inspiration

Pinterest, the network with virtual pinboards and image collections, is growing even faster. In mid-2013 there were already 70 million users worldwide. By the beginning of 2014 there should already be over 100 million. Based on the Bitkom figures, there are probably around 1.5 million Pinterest users in Germany by now. This is in line with other calculations. These calculated just under one million German users for Pinterest six months ago. The figure also seems plausible because the ratio of German to international users is fairly identical to that of Instagram: according to this, around 1.5 percent of all users come from Germany.

Foursquare: Localisation service

Although Foursquare has more than 40 million users worldwide, it is still a small service compared to other providers. Using the same calculation as above, there are slightly more than 500,000 German Foursquare users. And on average, they are relatively young. About 40 percent of German Foursquare users are younger than 29, 80 percent are younger than 43. And there is still room for improvement. In another survey, 10 percent of German Internet users, i.e. about 5 million people, said that they find the use of location-based services “indispensable”.