Social Networking Stats: Japan’s Line Tops 100 Million Users, #RLTM Scoreboard

The #RLTM Scoreboard:  Social Networking Stats for the Week

Facebook: 1 billion active users via Facebook
Twitter: over 200 million monthly active users via Twitter
Qzone: 599 million monthly active users via TechCrunch
Sina Weibo: over 400 million users via Yahoo
Renren: over 170 million users via iResearch iUser Tracker
VK: over 190 million users via VK
LinkedIn: 200 million active users via LinkedIn
Google Plus: 135 million monthly active users via Google
Tumblr: 117 million blogs via Tumblr
Instagram: 100 million users via Instagram
Tagged: 20 million unique monthly users via Tagged
Foursquare: nearly 30 million users via Adweek
Pinterest: over 25 million users via AdWeek
Reddit: 71 million monthly unique visitors via Reddit
WhatsApp: 200 million monthly active users via TechCrunch

Please email if you have additional updates, or a social network that you feel should be on the list.

With Over 100 Million Users, Is Japan’s ‘Line’ The Fastest Growing Social Network?

Is Japan's Line app the fastest growing social network?Japanese app Line, which provides free instant messenging and calling via smartphones, tablets and desktops, “is now the world’s fastest growing social network,” according to AdAge.  While it started as a messaging app (similar to WhatsApp, Viber and Skype), the app’s features now make it more like a social network.  These include social gaming, utility apps (like Camera), verified celebrity accounts for users to follow, chat forums arranged by topic, and a wall/timeline where users can post updates, emoji, photos, videos and more.

Launched in summer 2011, the app reached 50 million followers in under 400 days.  As of January 2013, Line announced that it has over 100 million users globally, and averages over 3 million new subscribers per week.

In Japan, nearly 30% of mobile device time usage occurs during commuting hours; John Stampfel notes that, within the last nine months, most of his fellow train commuters in Japan have switched from Twitter to Line. Statistics from Line in January 2013 show that the majority – 60% – of Japanese women in their 20s and 30s use the platform every day.  Japan accounts for 40 million of Line’s users.

The app has “strong advertising support” — a particularly interesting fact given that all advertisers must pay to be on the platform. Advertisers purchase a fixed-rate card, with a strictly controlled number of messages over a certain time period. For example, a 12-week campaign offering 15 messages (a maximum of 2/week) costs 15 million yen ($151,000).

Brands paying for advertising on the platform can link to content, offer coupons, presents, and prizes, and pay extra to create sponsored stamps (a “hugely popular” form of emoticons).  Line strongly encourages advertisers to continue their presence on the platform; once advertisers stop paying to advertise, their brand account is deleted, losing followers and all previously created content.

According to AdAge, “One of the most remarkable aspects of Line’s fast rise and its ad-funded business model is that so many businesses have bought into it so quickly,” given that “businesses in Japan are notoriously wary of new platforms.”

How are users responding to brands on the platform? More than half of female users follow official brands; 63% of all users read brand messages; 32% have used a coupon delivered via Line; and 27% have clicked on a link (AdAge).

After building its initial user base in Asia, Line moved into the US earlier this year. Line’s U.S. CEO Jeanie Han told TechCrunch that “Line sees an opportunity to take advantage of the space between basic mobile messaging and traditional social networking.” So far, international expansion has been successful: Line says it is the most downloaded app in more than 40 countries and available in 230 markets.