Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Facebook statistics in Sweden

Update 071101: I have made a few corrections and clarifications of the post. I had put references to "November" in several places, where it should have been "October" (Guess I am ahead of my time?). Some other notes and corrections are also added, see more inline below.

As a follow up on my post around overall Facebook uptake I have done some digging around the Facebook penetration in Sweden.

I did one round of statistics collection end of last week, just when Jeff Pulver posted that Sweden was number four in overall Facebook penetration, and number two among all countries where English is not the primary language.

So, I can confirm the 9% penetration last week, and also state that today the penetration is 11% (close to 1 million users).

(Note: I use a slightly different figure for the Swedish population (9,169,673 compared with Jeff's 9,031,088. My figure is from a prognosis of the population by the end of 2007, which gave me the age and gender breakdown. The latest actual figure I found is from August 2007: 9,160,182. However these small variations does not affect the main findings.)

It is interesting to graph out the growth rate (I got the figure for Oct. 12th from this post):

Update: I initially stated that "The number of users have more than doubled in less than three weeks." Now I believe that the number for Oct. 12th is probably based on the number of people in the "Sweden network". This number for Oct. 31st is around 620k users. Still an impressing growth, but not "more than 100%".
I decided to keep the data point in the graph anyway.

Usage per age group

What is the demographics of the Swedish Facebook users? Let's map the penetration per age group:

As you can see the largest coverage is in the age span 20-24.

In the span 15-64 we see a 16% penetration, and between 15-39 we have 31% penetration. The usage is still very niche from my age and up...

I did the same breakdown for the data collected Oct. 25th - if we compare we see where the growth is last week:

Looks like a fairly even distributed growth per age group by visual inspection.

Usage per gender

Overall in Sweden we have more female users than male (396,700 vs. 320,820; or 9% vs. 7% penetration). However a large group of users (27%) have not defined their gender.

I have made a graph where I map gender distribution on the age groups:

You can note that the older you are, the less likely to state your gender you seem to be.

Final notes

There is probably some measurent errors in the numbers. However they should give a good indication of the current usage.

The metrics from Facebook is taken from the Facebook Flyers Pro utility. Nice of Facebook to reveal such statistics (and you can do other dataming as well)

It will be interesting to follow the evolution in Sweden.

(And once upon a time my dream was to work at Statistiska Centralbyrån :-)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great work!

I might steal a few or your statistics for presentations. Big numbers always do amazing things for social media credibility.

What I find fascinating when I read Jeff's post the other day is that Lebanon is in fourth place of non-English speaking countries. I would have guessed on Mexico, Singapore, Israel or Egypt.

October 31, 2007 at 1:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, Johan. Great job.

I’m still a beginner when it comes to Facebook and other similar websites, but here are some thoughts and wonderings concerning your post.

1) First a small thing: It’s a bit misleading to write “largest coverage is the age span 15-24“ as the 25-29 group is actually larger than the 15-19 group. For marketing people, this might matter.
2) Just for clarity: What kind of numbers is it that you get from the Facebook Flyers Pro utility? Is it the number of people hitting any Facebook page in a given day? It’s not the number of registrations at Facebook? How do you identify the nationality of a user – is it his network, the location of his computer, or something else? I tried to find this information in your post – I’m sorry if I after all have missed it.
3) I find it amazing that a country like Finland (and also, to a smaller extent, Denmark) doesn’t show up at all in the statistics. Until I have understood why this is so, I’ll be a bit skeptical about these numbers. When I read that Sweden ranked #2 on the penetration list for non-English speaking countries, I thought Finland was likely to be #1. I guess what I had in mind was the development of mobile phone usage some ten years ago. As far as I have understood (this is off the top of my head – I haven’t checked any websites) Finland was leading that league (# of users per capita), with Sweden coming in second. To me, that development appears to be a likely parallel (surely, it cannot only haven been driven by the existence Nokia?) to the current development of Facebook users.
4) If it is indeed correct that Facebook is hardly not used at all in neither Finland nor Denmark, then that’s quite interesting in itself. More generally, it would be interesting to get a better understanding of the mechanics behind the spread of a phenomenon like Facebook. I guess it’s just one example of cultural transmission, like the spread of a new word in the language or a social norm. The closest parallel might be a new movie, perhaps in particular one that has a slow start, hardly noticed at the premiere, but then takes off thanks to mouth-to-mouth.
5) So how old were you when you were dreaming of working at the Statistiska Centralbyraan?

October 31, 2007 at 5:17 PM  
Blogger Johan Myrberger said...

Hi Johan, thanks for the comments.
Here's my clarifiactions:

1) Indeed. I meant "20-24", nothing else. I corrected that.

2) My understanding (or guess) is that you get the number of users that stated "Sweden" as country during registration. It does not state anything on the usage itself. Rather the number of Swedes that have created a Facebook account.

3) I haven't looked into the other countries. However I noticed that neither Finland or Denmark is available to "datamine" the way I did. If this is because they are still small Facebook markets or for some other reason I don't know,

4) The "viral" spread of a specific social network like Facebook takes of when some kind of critical mass is reached ("the crowd goes where the crowd is"). There has been a lot of media coverage of Facebook in Sweden recently. Mainstream newspapers like Aftonbladet have had articles on "how do use Facebook" etc.

In other countries you might find other SoNets that growing. Eg orkut is big in Brazil and Pakistan, but very small in other countries.

The trends of social networks seems quite global, but the brand that attracts users in a specific country varies.

5)Oh, not that old... More than 30 years ago I guess...

November 1, 2007 at 12:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great research! :)

From a monetizing perspective the Social networks still have some to proof.

And the lauch last night of the new Fb SocialAds platform can become really interesting!

Check out the last weeks BW article about monetizing the Social networks, Google's Brin gives a short but exciting challenge for Social networks like Fb.

Our blog (in Swedish) at has some comments and simple math about the monetizing potential of Fb.

See you at the next networking lunch! ;)

November 7, 2007 at 1:41 PM  
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