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Facebook vs Google

Could Google+ and Twitter upstage Facebook in Latin America?

Latin American countries get social media. Brazil and Mexico lay claim to the world’s second and fifth largest Facebook populations respectively. But it’s not just Facebook that’s making its mark in the region.

Stuart Thomas: Senior Reporter
Stuart Thomas joined the Burn Media team in 2011 while finishing off an MA in South African Literature. Eager to prove his geek credentials, he allowed himself... More

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The big blue social network alone wouldn’t provide enough users to account for online research company eMarketer’s prediction that the region’s social media population will continue to grow by double digits through to 2014.

Interestingly, the region seems a lot more taken with Google+ than the social network’s US home base is. Data from Global Web Index suggests that Argentina, Brazil and Mexico each have Google+ penetration rates of around 30%.

To put that into context, Brazil’s Facebook penetration has only just reached 29.7% according to Social Bakers. That number is however expected to grow to around 35% by the end of the year. Google+ will probably be following right behind it.

Google has always had a strong social presence in the region. For a long time Orkut, which it launched in 2004, was dominant, particularly in Brazil.

That said, Google+ penetration isn’t as deep in Latin America as it is in some Asia-Pacific countries. In Vietnam for instance: some 42% of internet users are on Google+.

Latin America is also making a serious mark on Twitter. According to GlobalWebIndex Brazil, Mexico and Argentina were each among the top 10 countries ranked by number of Twitter users. Dividing by population, says eMarketer, “Twitter had a higher penetration rate in each of those countries than in the US, China or India”.

According to the research company:

Facebook’s competitors seem to recognise that in countries where social networking is still gaining ground, consumers are willing to spread their online socializing around and experiment with less popular sites.