Late last week, Médiamétrie published their annual survey of social network usage, which found that the French have flocked in droves to social media. Approximately 99% of internet users (as of mid-2011, there were just under 40 million in France) are aware of at least one social network, 77% are now signed up to one or more, and 2 out of 3 consult a social network at least once a day. Despite this high penetration percentage and level of involvement, social networks still showed strong growth over the last year with an increase of 1,6 million users.
Médiamétrie found that French internet users’ high level of engagement with social networks spans all ages and that many are present on multiple social networks, mostly to address their range of varying needs. So, not surprisingly, Facebook is preferred for interacting with those they have personal relationships by exchanging photos, chatting, etc., LinkedIn and Viadeo are used for professional reasons, and Twitter is used for exchanging information and reading articles.
As for which social network has shown the most growth over the last year, Twitter wins out. Approximately 2 out of 3 internet users are aware of Twitter and 15% have accounts. Curiously, Google+ is only known by 7% of internet users, but counts almost the same percentage of those with Twitter accounts. Meanwhile, professional networks have really taken hold in France, with LinkedIn becoming the social network of reference for professional contacts and career development. They found LinkedIn users to also be highly engaged, with 40% of their users consulting the site at least once a week.
Lastly, in France social network usage is increasingly moving away from taking place only ‘at home’ and is also becoming more mobile. 30% now consult social networks almost everyday outside of their home, generally at their workplace, but also on mobile devices while on the go.
So, it looks like France has now reached an equivalent level of social network engagement as the US, given similar results on social newtork penetration and awareness found in recent studies (two interesting studies on social media here and here).
You can find more details about Médiamétrie’s annual study here.