Inside English Use in Indonesia, Facebook’s Third-Largest Country

[Editor’s Note: The following article was previously published on Inside Facebook. The 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.]

In this month’s language stats, we’ve focused in on Indonesia, which recently became Facebook’s third-largest country by monthly active users and is poised to pass the United Kingdom for second place. The question remains, however, as to whether game developers need to translate their games for the Indonesian audience.

Asia’s language demographics are much more complicated than the United States, since users often choose to surf the web in English.  Here’s the split between the official language, Bahasa Indonesian, and English:

Although English usage fell over the month from 21.7% to 21.34% of Indonesia users, that’s still a huge chunk, much larger than we’d typically see for a secondary language in Europe. For example, English is only used by 5.2 percent in France, Facebook’s fifth-largest country.

But it turns out that Indonesians are cultural stalwarts in comparison to others in their region. Here’s how Indonesia’s percentage of Facebook users who load the site in English compares to four neighbors:

This data doesn’t tell us everything; for instance, we can’t tell whether users are choosing to interact with Facebook in English, but communicate with their friends and family in their native language. This could be a habit developed while using the mainly English-language internet over the years, and simply preserved on Facebook.

However, there are a few more things we can infer about this large population of English users. Here’s how the English users break down by age, just in Indonesia:

These splits between age groups seem to reflect the fact that Indonesia has a predominantly youthful audience. However, the match is not perfect, allowing us to pick out an interesting phenomenon: it’s actually Indonesia’s older users who are more likely to use the site in English. Up to the age of 25, some 17 percent of Indonesians are using Facebook in English, while 30 percent of those over 25 use the site in English. The likelihood of using English increases as the age group gets older, and decreases as it gets younger.

For a country like the Philippines, in which almost all users are already accessing Facebook in English, it is difficult to get a clear picture of how language demographics are changing, if at all. Indonesia’s stats, though, suggest that the Asian audience will likely move to using their own languages over time as more young users join the site. Thus, game developers may wish to plan for localizing for the Indonesian language in the future.

All of this article’s metrics on population, age, language and more come from our data subscription package at Inside Facebook Gold. Learn more about this service at gold.insidenetwork.com/facebook.



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