Social Media Landscape 2012

(La version française de cet article est ici : Panorama des médias sociaux 2012)

A few years ago, Charlene Lee from Forrester said social networks will be like air. We are now in 2012 and social media had never been this important. I regularly talk to people referring to social media as the web, the whole web. Indeed, the web as became social, and it is hard to find non-social websites. This being said, how can you explain social, when anything is social? It’s simple: you draw a chart with the most emblematic social platforms.

As I have been doing it for the last four years (2008, 2009 and 2011), let me introduce you to my latest social media landscape to help you understand the big picture of who is doing what.

My Social Media Landscape through the years

Following a blurry 2010 in which I was unable to draw a consistent chart, the latest version was divided into seven major use and a central position for Facebook and Google. In the 2012 version of my landscape, the split is quite similar, but with new players, a generalization of conversations and the addition of device types.

The latest version of the Social Media Landscape

A very dense ecosystem

In this new version, You can find a set of online services allowing conversations and social interactions, on computers, but also on mobile and alternate devices (smartphones, tablets, connected TVs, smartframes…). Although this graph is divided into pies and layers to make it easier to read, social media is a very dense ecosystem where different players lives in symbioses: if they tend to overlap sometimes, they easily lives together, and we are not in a winner-takes-all market configuration (I assume you guess which service I am referring to).

Thus, three major players can be found in the central circle, because they are providing users with a very large set of functionalities (FacebookTwitter and Google+). If it is possible for a user to publish / share/ play / network / buy / localize on only one of these platforms, they are widely used as containers or relays for what internet users are doing on other platforms. Regarding competition between these three, I don’t believe one can eat the two others, since each one have a distinct orientation: Twitter for content discovery, Google+ to manage your online identity and Facebook to interact with your friends.

As for the usages, I have spread the various services over families:

The main goal of this chart is to make it easier for you to comprehend social media in all its complexity, not to set an exhaustive list of available services. Thus, some major generic platforms or players are not listed here, like bulletin boards, instant messaging services (Skype) or youth virtual worlds (did you know there where more than 250 M accounts created on Habbo?). Furthermore, this graph only reflects western countries social platforms, it does not take in account eastern markets like Russia or asian markets like China or Japan, but a simple google search can bring you countless equivalent graphs for asia.

How to take advantage of social media’s diversity?

Now that we have an overview of social media, it is time to stress THE question: which platform should your brand choose? I think I am not wrong saying there is only one good answer to this question: The important is not to choose the right platform, it is to build a consistent social architecture. Installing your brand on social media is not about choosing one or several social platforms and opening profiles, it is about defining objectives and allocating resources. The platform choice is only the tactical declination of your strategy. Knowing the social media ecosystem is not stabilized, and I doubt it will ever be, choosing one or several platforms is not a long term strategy, it is a short term tactic. The only truly viable social platforms on the long run are the ones you host and manage.

This being said, at one point, you will have to choose one or several platforms! There is no perfect choice since each brand has a different context, but I can provide you with some generic advices:

  • Do not put all your eggs in the same basket. Even if Facebook is by far the most popular social platform, it is the one where competition is the most intensive. As insane as it can sound, choosing Facebook is not the safest bet, it is the most risked one: Competition is so strong that you will waste all your time / money / energy for limited results. Furthermore, keep in mind that what happens on Facebook, belongs to Facebook (just check the terms and conditions).
  • Focus on more targeted tactics. Knowing that competition is more intense on Facebook, is it still viable to have pages? Yes, it is still an almost necessary, albeit not sufficient, step. Necessary in most of the case (forget about it if you are in BtoB), and not sufficient because profile-based targeting mechanism are inefficient (Facebook members’ primary goal is to shine among their friends, not to describe their real daily lives). Content-based social platform relying on interest graph offers some much more precise target engines. Furthermore, trendy or high level brands might focus on more quality-oriented social platforms (Vimeo, Tumblr) to avoid being in competition with shampoo, beer and diaper brands.
  • Aim for the long term. Nearly all major  / local brands and institution are already active on social media, thus, you cannot bet on instant or short-term success. To be more accurate: You can achieve basic tactical goals (like winning 10.000 fans in three weeks), but is it relevant? Rolling-out a successful conversation-based engagement platform is a much more ambitious project, which will require more time and energy (2 to 3 years). Yes, it’s a long time-frame, but you will need it in order to achieve a deep evolution of internal process, habits and mentality.
  • Be opportunist. As I have just said, it requires years to build a viable social media architecture, but this does not necessarily means you cannot try some short term visibility campaigns. Since the last two weeks, the blogosphere is all about Pinterest, what about taking your chances? You can go for a try, but do not expect more than what these kind of campaign can provide you with (a temporary traffic boost).

What to expect in 2012?

The chart published in this article gives you an overview of the social media landscape. Its main purpose is to illustrate the diversity of usages and the complexity of this ecosystem. Since the Facebook / iPhone revolution has already happened, 2012 will be the year to strengthen your existing presence or mobile app, but also the year to experiment, because their are numerous opportunities at your disposal.

Let’s make things perfectly clear: When I am suggesting to strengthen and experiment, I am advising you to do it internally, not to outsource it. Because if you let a contractor do it for you, you won’t learn anything and will not be able to gain experience. I strongly believe a small-scale internal social presence is much more profitable than a large-scale outsourced one. Social media ROI is about experience and insights, it is not about fans number.

43 commentaires pour “Social Media Landscape 2012”

  1. Posté par Social Media Landscape 2012 « « « I am a Bridge (Hugues Rey Blog) a dit : le

    […] Social Media Landscape 2012 « « February 23, 2012 huguesrey Leave a comment Go to comments Social Media Landscape 2012 « « […]

  2. Posté par Wat is nou eigenlijk ‘Social Media’? « wetenschapper20 a dit : le

    […] week heeft  Fred Cavazza, een Franse blogger en webconsultant, de nieuwste versie onthuld van zijn Social Media Landscape. Sinds 2008 heeft hij jaarlijks een overzicht proberen te maken van de belangrijkste platformen. […]

  3. Posté par Panorama das mídias sociais em 2012 | Web diálogos | Comunicação Digital a dit : le

    […] via Fred Cavazza […]

  4. Posté par Estalo Web – Panorama das mídias sociais em 2012 a dit : le

    […] Fonte Fred Cavazza 1 min desde Gustavo Verneque em Pesquisas. Acompanhe | RSS feed. Acompanhe […]

  5. Posté par Publishing Today – More than meets the eye… « Bronte's Publishing House a dit : le

    […] of social media a large factor allowing us all to be publishers today. This is a snapshot of the Social Media landscape in 2012. This chart shows Facebook, Twitter and Google+ as the 3 major players, with countless other social […]

  6. Posté par An overview of the social media ecosystem - Sc Pulse Media a dit : le

    […] There are numerous articles, books, conferences and training program to help you define your social architecture, and I do not have the ambition to explain you the right way to do it (at least not in this article), but if you are looking for more explanations and advices, you should read the original post here: Social Media Landscape 2012. […]

  7. Posté par The social media landscape in 2012 – infographic | Infoglobalbusiness a dit : le

    […] the placement of Facebook and Google as all-encompassing, central networks. Fred Cavazza has published his 2012 version, and this year’s edition has quite a bit to take in – (click the thumbnail to see the full size […]

  8. Posté par The Social Media Landscape – 2012 | V/Speak a dit : le

    […] visual pulled from a Forbes article today.  Original attribution goes to Fred Cavazza. Key quote from […]

  9. Posté par Medias sociaux - note influence 2012 a dit : le

    […] sociaux (et non réseaux sociaux) par catégorie pour l’année 2012, et réalisée par M. Fred Cavazza comme chaque […]

  10. Posté par Weekly comms news round up 16/03/12 | Cision UK Blog a dit : le

    […] the placement of Facebook and Google as all-encompassing, central networks. Fred Cavazza has published his 2012 version, and this year’s edition has quite a bit to take in – (click the thumbnail to see the full size […]

  11. Posté par Social Media Landscape 2012 | Connected Media a dit : le

    […] Mehr zur Social Media Landscpape 2012 finden Sie auf […]

  12. Posté par Cenário das mídias sociais em 2012 | Que caixa? a dit : le

    […] Fred Cavazza produziu e publicou em seu blog esse infográfico sobre o cenário das mídias sociais em 2012. […]

  13. Posté par Data Visualization: The Social Media Landscape of 2012 | UA Magazine a dit : le

    […] Fred Cavazza Related Posts :Abstaining from Social Media Can HurtIt used to be if you asked a group […]

  14. Posté par Panorama das mídias sociais em 2012 « Webmarketing a dit : le

    […] as tendências e perceber como elas e a sociedade geram novos laços. Em seu mais novo post, Fred Cavazza fala sobre o ambiente de mídias sociais deste ano e apresenta suas análises dos últimos anos (de […]

  15. Posté par Social Media Ecosystem | PicDial a dit : le

    […] the major social networking bases there are countless other social networks that allow us to perform specific functions from sharing videos and photos to playing […]

  16. Posté par Daniel Jude Gennis a dit : le

    I have recently become active as a Social Media Journalist and have written a couple of articles based on my personal experience using Social Media. I have to say I am very impressed with your article on the Social Media Landscape. Many people have little idea how fast aspects of Social Media are impacting on our lives. The term ‘Social Media Journalist’ is so new that only two people to my knowledge apart from myself actually use it. Strange but true. Just googling the term produces so few results. A friend of mine in Vancouver reckons it is a fancy term for ‘Blogger’. If that is true then those of us who ‘blog on aspects of Social Media should stop using the term ‘Blogger’ altogether.

  17. Posté par #Learntorock The #SocialMedia Landscape in 2012 from @FredCavazza | The Chief Executive Rock3r Blog a dit : le

    […] in 2012 from @FredCavazza Posted on May 2, 2012 by Chief Executive Rock3r via Rock This:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestStumbleUponRedditTumblrDiggEmailLike this:LikeBe the […]

  18. Posté par Ce este de fapt social media? a dit : le

    […] Sursa […]

  19. Posté par So, Just How Large is the Social Media Landscape? a dit : le

    […] This infographic should give you an idea of just how extensive the social media landscape has become. Apparently, according to this infographic, the center of the social networking universe contains Facebook, Twitter, Google+…and then there’s everything else (though Pinterest is actually growing faster than Google+ and Twitter). […]

  20. Posté par Ron Passfield a dit : le

    Great overview and your perspective at the end coincides with something I heard Seth Godin say when explaining why he did not use Twitter. He emphasized the quality of the relationships, not the number of fans or friends. I love your social media landscape. I notice Pinterest is missing which reinforces your point that the landscape can change very rapidly – Pinterest is now the thrid most visited social media site. I would love to « pin » your social media landscape diagram on Pinterest – is that okay by you?

  21. Posté par Frédéric Cavazza a dit : le

    Ron > You probably didn’t noticed it, because there is only the small logo version, but Pinterest is actualy in the « Sharing » area. And, yes, of course, you can pin this chart, be my guest 😉

  22. Posté par Steve Mahaley a dit : le

    Thanks very much, Fred. I do agree with your assessment of the approaches needed, and the shifting sands of the social media tools landscape. Thanks for the continued good work on this front – merci mille fois –

  23. Posté par Roland Strobl a dit : le

    I am working on an company research paper providing reasons for « why we need to adapt to social collaboration » and thus came across your fantastic graph. I just visited your website and found the 2012 update on Social Media Landscape. Thank you Ron for providing us with this eye opening graph. It says so much more as I could express with words.

  24. Posté par Pauline van Alderwerelt a dit : le

    Frédéric bonjour! I am working on my thesis – a Marketing Communication Plan for LogicQ – and need theory to explain my Social Media Architecture Plan. Your crisp and clear graphs and comments in this article help me tremendously with understanding and explaining Social Media aspects! Mes sentiments respectueux, Pauline

  25. Posté par Tom Meyer a dit : le

    I worked as a VP of Sales for an Energy Efficient Technology company and years ago I started basic discussion boards on Linked-In. It took me years to figure the social media magic out. Its all about the quality of the discussions that stimulate the reader /potential buyer to check you out and then the company. We estimate we grew sales by 245% through social media. I am now considering handling social media work for companies that would like the online exposure. Your illustrations are very helpful! You got serious game!

  26. Posté par Helen Farrell a dit : le

    Hi Fred
    I am writing up a literature review and guidance information for nurses and midwives in Ireland, on how to use social media professionally and responsibly. I really like your 2012 ‘Social Media Landscape’ graphic.
    Would you allow me, on behalf of the Irish Nursing Board (An Bord Altranais) to reproduce this in the literature review I’m writing up?
    Many thanks
    Helen Farrell

  27. Posté par Trevor Rowe a dit : le

    Your Social Media Landscape is excellent and finding it is timely in terms of work I am doing at present. In particular, I am wanting to find or research and write a review of social media (Facebook, LinkedIn and Groupsite) that are suitable for a group of course graduates who want to share post course learnings and experiences. The main feature I think applicable to this group is a discussion board. LinkedIn has Groups and they have discussions. Groupsite does something similar but few people seem to know about it. The review will enable my client organisation to decide what is best for their course graduates. Are you aware of Groupsite? I don’t think it is in 2012 Social Media Landscape.

  28. Posté par Duane a dit : le

    Hi Fred
    U have just setup a social media management company. Can I use your social media landscape on my website for marketing purposes. Would appreciate it if you could get back to me. I love your work..cheers

  29. Posté par Frédéric Cavazza a dit : le

    @ Duane > Yes you can!

  30. Posté par Trevor Rowe a dit : le

    Have you heard of Groupsite? Is is very new? I can’t find people who know about it let alone use it.

  31. Posté par Hans-Dieter Zimmermann a dit : le

    I am wondering how cloud storage and sync systems such as Wuala, Dropbox fit into the Social media landscape? Are they part of it? Or do they belong to a different landscape? Thanks.

  32. Posté par Florence Dujardin a dit : le

    Bonjour Frédéric –
    Like Duane and Helen, I am writing to ask your permission to use your map. My context is a higher education college and I’m preparing a workshop on how various media could be used in teaching. The way you’ve split the media into different groups is particularly useful to concentrate people’s minds about the strengths of particular media, and how best they could be used to support teaching and learning.

  33. Posté par Frédéric Cavazza a dit : le

    Yes, you are all free to use this diagram as long as you respect the Creative Commons licence.

  34. Posté par BCPSQC Quality Forum 2012 | Tell us how is social media transforming health care a dit : le

    […]  Fred Cavazza’s Social Media Landscape […]

  35. Posté par Florence Dujardin a dit : le

    Merci Frédéric. The CC logo was included in the slide where your diagram appears.

  36. Posté par Digital Darwinism | Sociala medier och digital kommunikation a dit : le

    […] Fred Cavazza har under de senaste åren föreslagit en rad analys av utvecklingen som han kallar för […]

  37. Posté par Sebastien Violette a dit : le

    prévoyez-vous de mettre à jour ce document?

  38. Posté par Hariharan Narayanan a dit : le


    I have been recently trying to understand the Social landscape. Your posts and the awesome images have been immensely helpful in understanding this space.

    I would like to follow your blog and the flickr stream. Thanks!

    -Hariharan Narayanan

  39. Posté par Bibliography | emilylouiseharrison a dit : le

    […] CAVAZZA. F., 2012. The Social Media Landscape – InfoGraphic 2012. [online] [viewed 28 /04/14]. Available from: […]

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