Monday, December 21, 2009

Three million Facebook users in Sweden - statistics and demographics

The number of Facebook users in Sweden have now passed the three million mark.

This number have been close for a while, already in the end of October this blog mentioned the 3-million users in Sweden.
However, since October the number of Swedish Facebook users has oscillated around three million users and regulary gone back below the three million mark. But now it seems to be stable above.

Since I had a closer look at the statistics and demographics of Facebook users in Sweden when the number passed the one-million mark and the two-million mark I will once again drill down in the numbers. Enjoy.

The growth
The first million users in Sweden was reached in November 2007, the second million of users was reached in March 2009. Now, end of 2009, the third million users are reached in Sweden.
Based on the graph of the number of Facebook users in Sweden it doesn't look like the trend is flattening yet. Will the growth continue, or is the user base saturated?

When you look at the number of users per age you get the following distribution:
Most users are between 14 and 24 years old.

The genders
The Facebook users in Sweden is evenly distributed between male and female users: In all age groups there's a small surplus of female users (except for the 65+ group; perhaps male persons are more likely to fake their age?) The penetration
The current number of Facebook users in Sweden means that one third (33%) of the population are using Facebook. Out of the age group 15-64 years old nearly half of the population (47%) are on Facebook. In the group of people between 15 and 39 years old three out of four (73%) are on Facebook.

When you look at the penetration for each age you get this graph: Note that the 19-years-old have more than 100% penetration. Obviously there's some errors here (I discuss a few possible reasons in the end note).

It is also interesting to note that the reach is close to 10% even among the older part of the population. I'd say that there's plenty of room to grow towards four million users - as we have a notable part of all ages on Facebook it might continue to grow.

Compared with the one-million and two-million mark...
When you compare the age group penetration today with the previous distribution it is obvious that Facebook has got a foothold among the people above 35 years of age, and that this is where there has been a growth in the number of users. Note also that the highest penetration is in the age group of 15-19, which is a change from earlier this year. Facebook is no longer a place only for people in the early twenties, but a place where you'll find individuals of all ages.

Are these numbers correct? What is meant by a Facebook user - someone with an account, or someone with an active account?

The numbers in this analysis is from the Facebook ad system and the Swedish demographics is from SCB.

There is definately some errors involved, but as an indication of the penetration and demographics these numbers might be used.

The age and gender is self-stated. Especially the age contains error sources. Eg. no doubt that the youngest Swedes, those below 13, also have found Facebook. (To a large degree this is probably driven by all the social games (eg Farmville) that can be played on Facebook.) But since the minimum age in order to register a Facebook account is 13 there is a number of kids who have stated an age of 13 or above. And the birth year can not be changed for an account, so this error might still be in place even when the user have passed the age of 13.

"Facebook Ads uses IP address and a user's profile information to determine a user's location." - it is not exactly clear how Facebook uses this combination to determine which users are Swedish. You might very well have individuals logging in through a Swedish IP, but who are not "part of the Swedish population".'

Further more, Facebook has the information of exact birth date, and the SCB numbers is an estimate of the age distribution for the year, not at the current date specifically. Thus the mapping of age information towards the Swedish demography from SCB have some errors.

Active users or not? - This is not clear, but my educated guess is that Facebook lists accounts which have been accessed in the last 30 days in the ads utility, thus the answer to this question is probably "Yes, active users".

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