[Editor’s Note: The following stats are excerpted from Inside Facebook Gold, our membership service tracking Facebook’s business and growth around the world. Click here to learn more about our complete data and analysis offering.]
Earlier this week, we looked at Facebook’s top 10 languages globally, ranked by the total number of people using the site in each language. While English came in at number 1, as might be expected, the next 14 in the list, ranging from Spanish to Arabic to Dutch, are collectively used by 45.8% of Facebook users.
Our data also tracked demographics by language. Some languages fell neatly in line with Facebook’s overall userbase demographics, which skews slightly female and younger. Others — notably Turkish, Arabic, and Italian — did not. (The full list of 15 countries, including demographic splits, is available through Inside Facebook Gold.)
Given these numbers, is it worth it to localize, if over half of Facebook’s users are already using the site in English? The answer depends on the markets your brand or app is aiming for. Today, we’re going to take a look at language breakdowns for Facebook’s top 20 country markets.
The United States, still Facebook’s biggest market with just over 125 million users, is also one of its most linguistically homogeneous ones. 96.8% of US Facebook users access the site in English. The next runner up should be no surprise — 1.5 million, or 1.3%, of US Facebook users view the site in Spanish.
Facebook’s second biggest market is the United Kingdom, with 25.9 million users. Of these users, 97.6% access the site in English. The UK’s next most popular language is Polish, in a distant second at just 0.5% of the total UK userbase.
Some of Facebook’s other top countries are less homogeneous. In Indonesia, the site’s number 3 market worldwide, the most used language is Indonesian. But that market’s second most popular language, English, is used by a generous 21.7% of Facebook users in that country.
Likewise, in Canada, though English is the dominant language, French is used by 13.5% of Facebook users there.
How marketers and developers can use per-country language data
What do these language breakdowns mean for developers or brands looking to capture new geographic and linguistic markets? While it’s unlikely that you would localize your app down to a given country’s third language just to make sure you’re really speaking to every last user in that market, it can still be interesting to see what market segments remain untapped.
For example, you may decide that English is a good-enough localization play for Canada, especially now that you know it helps you reach over 84% of the total Facebook userbase in that country. But, should you decide that you really want to push past the 84% limit and potentially add on another 2 million users, then you’ll know that localizing to French will better enable you to do so.
Finally, while some of the percentages of a market’s total that the second or third languages represent may be small, they could represent wholly different market segments, that monolingual campaigns aren’t addressing. It’s likely that the speakers of a market’s second or third most popular languages also speak that market’s dominant language (and could really use your app or engage with your ad if they really needed to), but in the world of marketing and new user acquisition, localization isn’t just about access — it’s also about appeal.
The full breakdown of languages by country, including the top 5 languages for Facebook’s 20 biggest markets, is available through our data membership service, Inside Facebook Gold. To get access to the all the data we’re tracking, including Facebook’s growth stats and projections for over 96 countries around the world, please see Inside Facebook Gold at gold.insidenetwork.com/facebook.