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Twitter use surpasses Facebook

Popular boy group and media-savvy president are driving traffic
Nov 28,2017
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The market share of Twitter on Korean social media surpassed that of Facebook for the first time in October, propped up by robust discussion of social issues and K-pop stars, according to a report on global social media platforms released Monday by a web traffic analysis firm.

In October, Twitter’s share of Korean social media in terms of traffic volume was 44.1 percent, compared to Facebook’s 43.8 percent, unusual considering Twitter mostly recorded single-digit shares every month since first launching service in Korea in January 2011. October was the first month that Twitter’s share surpassed 40 percent.

Facebook has been Korea’s most dominant social media platform since entering the country, capturing a share as high as 92.7 percent in February 2012. October’s performance was its second lowest since July 2014, when its share was 43.1 percent.

The report from the firm StatCounter measured the market share of global social media platforms operating in Korea and did not count homegrown services like Kakao Story because the firm only deals with internationally available services.

Aside from Facebook and Twitter, YouTube took up around 6 percent of the market in October, followed by Pinterest with 2.8 percent.

App statistics from Nielson Koreanclick show that Twitter is rebounding in Korea, with the number of mobile visitors totaling two million in October, up from between 1.5 million and 1.7 million seen earlier this year, though the figure still is a fifth of Facebook’s more than 10 million users.

The discrepancy indicates that Twitter’s users access the app more often than Facebook’s. Although Twitter itself does not specifically release data about the number of monthly active users - a key analytic - in Korea, a spokeswoman said the number of Korean users has been growing constantly in the past six years, suggesting a stable business here.

“We tend to see the traffic shoot up whenever certain events or accidents come up,” the spokeswoman said, “such as presidential elections, political scandals - presidential impeachment last year, for instance, and most recently, the earthquake in Pohang.”

She added that the demographic of Twitter users appears to have shifted from those in their 30s and 40s, who normally use the platform to discuss political issues, to teens and 20-somethings, who mostly discuss K-pop on the site.

Twitter’s market share skyrocketed to 32.5 percent in May after maintaining numbers below 20 percent since February 2015 as Korea was going through a presidential election.

The share then nose-dived to 6.2 percent in June after the election but gained momentum in September, reaching 13.4 percent before posting the record high in October.

According to Twitter, the surge can be attributed to the popular boy band BTS, whose single “DNA” became the highest-charted K-pop song on the Billboard Hot 100 list in September.

The seven-member idol group has been using Twitter to promote themselves since their debut in 2013 and boasts 10.4 million followers, about a fourth of the following of President Donald Trump, who ranks 18th in number of followers around the world.

BTS held their first Tokyo Dome concert in September following a new album release in August and actively expanded to the United States, which significantly increased their number of mentions on Twitter. On Monday, they made a high-profile appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

President Moon Jae-in’s frequent use of Twitter has also improved the site’s numbers in Korea, according to the spokeswoman.

BY SEO JI-EUN [seo.jieun@joongang.co.kr]