While Facebook has already become a social networking quasi-monopolist in many countries around the world, the German social network landscape remains pretty diverse. This may change in the near future, however, as new figures released by a leading German social media marketing agency, Compass Heading, suggest.
While Facebook continues its rapid growth in Germany, most other social networking platforms are stagnating or shrinking. Facebook has consistently been able to increase its user numbers by 10-20% monthly and this trend looks to continue, given that comparable countries such as France have twice as many Facebook users. Industry observers expect around 20 Million Facebook users in Germany by the end of 2010.
The second largest social networking platform in Germany by far is wer-kennt-wen.de (“who knows who”) which is especially strong in the southwest of Germany and is gradually expanding to other areas. It has seen growth rates of 10% over the last few months but declining pageviews may be a signal that wer-kennt-wen is about to reach its limit. Wer-kennt-wen appeals mainly to the non-academic milieus, which may help them its keep users away from Facebook, which is heavily dominated by students and university graduates.
Germany´s joint third largest social networking platform, stayfriends.de, also seems to have hit a maximum and will have to fight hard to keep its 5.6 million users in the face of dwindling page views and active users. SchuelerVZ, Germany´s social networking platoform for secondary and high school students, also has 5.6 million registered users and has been able to keep this figure stable.
In fifth position student-focused StudiVZ.net, formerly Germany´s undisputed leader of social networking platforms, is struggling to stop its users from switching to Facebook but are currently losing the battle: In just one month, From December 2009 to January 2010, StudiVZ lost 10% of its users and saw pageviews plunge by 30%. StudiVZ´s CEO, Markus Berger-de-Leon, recently announced his departure from StudiVZ, raising even more questions about the future of StudiVZ.
Its sister platform, meinVZ.net (targeting the general public as opposed to just students) as well as myspace.com each had 3.8 million users in January but both platforms have had to endure a slow but steady decline in user numbers for several months, although Myspace´s worldwide pageviews went up.
The only platform besides Facebook whose prospects look promising in Germany is XING.com which connects professionals and business people. User numbers grew by 10% from December 2009 to January 2010 which means that it now has an all-time high of 3 million users. Given that linkedIn.com is stagnating at around 800.000 users, XING.com looks set to become the dominant social networking platform in Germany for professionals.