Social networking membership in North America is beginning to level off, in the past year the number of social networking members grew 9 percent compared to 25 percent growth for the rest of the globe, according to comScore.
The Middle East – Africa region increased 66 percent, Europe was up 35 percent, and Latin America rose 33 percent, each region grew at above average rates.
"While the social networking trend first took off in North America, it is beginning to reach a point of maturity in the region," said Jack Flanagan, comScore executive vice president. "However, the phenomenon is still growing rapidly in other regions around the world – especially as the established American brands turn their focus to developing markets."
During the past year, many of the most popular social networking sites have seen rapid growth in their worldwide user bases. Facebook took over the global lead among social networking sites in April 2008 and has made an effort to become more culturally relevant in markets outside the U.S.
Facebook’s launch of natural language interfaces in several markets has helped boost the site to 153 percent growth during the past year.
Hi5.com’s full-scale localization strategy has helped the site double its visitor’s base to more than 56 million. Other social networking sites have seen solid global growth with Friendster up 50 percent, Orkut increased by 41 percent, and Bebo gaining 32 percent.
Facebook’s climb to become the most popular global social networking site has been helped by significant growth across worldwide regions. Its largest visitor base is in North America with 49 million members.
In every other global region, Facebook’s audience has more than tripled. Europe is quickly catching up to North America as Facebook’s largest visitor base with 35 million members in June, a 303 percent increase.
"Facebook has done an exceptional job of leveraging its brand internationally during the past year," said Flanagan. "By increasing the site’s relevance to local markets through local language interface translation, the site is now competing strongly or even capturing the lead in several markets where it had a relatively minor presence just a year ago."