Social Media in the Netherlands: Who Are the Biggest Players?

Social media in the Netherlands has always been very popular. Research done in 2014 suggests that nine out of ten Dutch citizens are active on social media. However, usage has changed a bit over time.

Hyves used to be a very popular social networking site (SNS) in the Netherlands, followed by Facebook. That same year Hyves was purchased by The Telegraaf Media Group, the biggest newspaper group in the Netherlands, and that was the beginning of the end for them. At its peak, Hyves had over 10 million users, of which 8.5 million users were Dutch. In 2011 the number of active users dropped 40%; this was the decline of the biggest Dutch SNS.

The number of people actively using social media in the Netherlands is currently spread across five major international players: Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+.

  • Facebook is still the biggest player in the Netherlands, with nearly 9 million active users and over 6 million daily users. Since 2013, the number of daily users has increased 22% and the number of active users has increased 13%.
  • YouTube is the second biggest SNS in the Netherlands, with 7.1 million active users and just over 1 million daily users. YouTube’s growth has stagnated somewhat; the number of active users has stayed the same as in 2013 but there has been an increase of 22% in the number of active users.
  • LinkedIn is far behind Facebook and YouTube, with just over 4 million active users and 0.3 million daily users. Since 2013 the number of active users has increased 5%. However, the number of daily users has decreased 25%.
  • Twitter is also a big SNS in the Netherlands, with 3.5 million active users and 1.5 million daily users. Since 2013, both of these categories have increased by 6%.
  • Google+ shows the highest increase in users, with 3.3 million active users and 1 million daily users. This is an increase of 65% for active users and 100% for daily users since 2013.

When looking at the newcomers to the Dutch social media scene, research suggests the following for 2014:

  • Instagram will grow from 0.7 million active users in 2013 to 1.4 million active users.
  • Pinterest will grow from 0.5 million active users in 2013 to 1.1 million active users.
  • Foursquare will grow from 0.2 million active users in 2013 to 0.3 million active users.

When thinking about social media, one of the first things that comes to mind is trust. Interestingly enough, research shows that Dutch users are losing faith in social media. Last year 21% said they trusted SNSs with their information. This year that number decreased to 18%. Dutch users have more faith in the traditional media than in social media. Newspapers, news sites and talk shows that discuss the news all score higher than social media when it comes to trust.

However, the amount of companies and/or organizations that Dutch users follow has increased. When Dutch users follow or “Like” a social media channel they do so because they want to share information. It enriches their lives, so Dutch users are very likely to talk about companies and/or organizations that they follow.