Social Networking Service trends in Korea

Social Networking Service trends in Korea


SNS stands for Social Networking Service, and refers to an online platform that provides free communication, information sharing, and expansion of personal connections to form and strengthen social relationships (source = Wikipedia). SNS started with an online basis and has developed rapidly with the introduction of smartphones. As wireless internet infrastructures were expanded, it became possible for smartphone users to access SNS easily whenever they wanted to. Moreover, the built-in cameras of smartphones allowed users to express their situations and feelings using multimedia such as pictures and videos.

Various SNS are operated in Korea and Mobidays examined the age groups of SNS users, using the data obtained through App Ranker. 11 SNS Apps that had over 100 thousand MAU(Monthly Active Users) in March 2015 were selected and the usage ratio of each service per teens, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and over were examined.

(*App Ranker is a mobile app statistics service that provides information about the app market using information from 100 thousand domestic android smartphone panels applied at a demographic ratio. Sampling error ± 0.7%)


Highest MAU, Kakao Story
In March, 2015, Kakao Story’s MAU ranked first out of domestic SNS, at 24,027,461. Kakao Story is an SNS associated with Kakao Talk and allows users to share information through texts, pictures, and videos. Users can change their Kakao Talk profile pictures by using the pictures they have uploaded to Kakao Story and can also use Kakao Story through Kakao Talk. Since a large number of smartphone users in Korea use Kakao Talk, it seems that Kakao Story, being associated to Kakao Talk, ranked a high MAU. Kakao Story seemed to be especially popular among the middle-aged class and the number of 30s~50s users has increased.

Foreign SNS are a great hit among teens~20s
The MAU level of well-known foreign SNS such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter were rather high. (Facebook: 14,527,484, Instagram: 4,401,436, Twitter: 1,996,014) While domestic SNS such as Kakao Story and Band had a high using ratio of 30s~50s, foreign SNS had a high using ratio of teens~20s. Instagram, an SNS with a picture basis, showed strength among the 20s while Twitter, a SNS with a micro blog basis, showed strength among teens. The March MAU of Tumblr and Pinterest, other foreign SNS, were at 290,681 and 238,971, and showed lower brand awareness than Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Cyworld for 30s, Between for 20s, and StyleShare for teens
Cyworld is a domestic SNS that was first launched in 1999 and gained great popularity among teens~20s during the early 2000s through their mini homepages and acorns (cyber money used in Cyworld). In 2012, Cyworld launched a mobile app and attempted to move their PC basis services to mobiles. Cyworld wasn’t able to succeed greatly in the mobile market due to the rise of foreign SNS such as Facebook and Twitter, but is still receiving continuous love from its users and its March MAU was at 1,114,847. There were especially a high number of 30s users who have used Cyworld actively in the early 2000s.

Between is a closed couple SNS for couples. Couples can use Between to chat with one another, share pictures, and to check their anniversaries. It is gaining popularity in the East Asian market focusing in Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and China. Between’s March MAU was at 828,814 and 56.29% were users in their 20s, revealing that it is a SNS most used by couples in their 20s.

StyleShare is a SNS that allows users to share information with other users sharing an interest in fashion. It is a service that mainly targets females sensitive to fashion and trends. Its March MAU showed that 88.56% were female users and 11.44% were male users. In terms of age groups, teens ranked the highest at 66.53% and it was observed that StyleShare was most loved my teen female users.