Google+ has beaten Twitter and LinkedIn to become the second-highest most actively used social network after Facebook, according to a study from London-based GlobalWebIndex.
The report, which examined usage of the top five social platforms Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest globally over the second quarter of this year, revealed Google+ now has 318.4m active users across 31 markets.
Facebook retains the highest penetration of active users among actual account owners at 62 per cent globally, compared to 51 per cent for Twitter and 44 per cent for Google+.
Engagement rates of active users fell for all five of the top five social networks compared to the first quarter of 2013. Yet Facebook remains the leader in engaging its audience with 62 per cent of active account holders.
Mobile is driving much of the usage, with Twitter, Google+ and Facebook seeing the highest growth in actions taken on mobile devices, despite the majority of actions still taking place on desktops.
Facebook saw 388m people hit the ‘Like’ button in Q2, compared to 150m on smartphones and 85m on tablets.
However, smartphone devices saw much higher levels of photo sharing than both tablet and desktops on Facebook with 239m users doing this via their phones, compared to 178m on desktops and 108m on tablets, according to the study.
A total 292m people followed a group or liked a page created by a brand on desktops, while 111m did so on their smartphones and 67m on tablets.
Meanwhile 141m Twitter users posted comments about their daily activities on desktops during the second quarter, with 94m doing the same on their smartphones and 52m on tablets. Photos from a company or brand were shared by 104m people on desktops, 60m on smartphones and 34m on tablets.
The study did not reveal users' engagement with brands' pages on Google+, instead showing that 207m people uploaded and shared photos by desktops, 104m via smartphones and 60m via tablets. Meanwhile 112m checked in at a location on desktops, compared to 72m on smartphones and 38m on tablets during Q2.
The male-to-female ratio of users is the closest on Facebook, with 57 per cent of its global users male and 43 per cent female. However both Google+ and Twitter have more male-dominant demographics with 63 per cent and 61 per cent male splits respectively. YouTube also has 63 per cent to 37 per cent male to female split.
LinkedIn also has a more prominent male user base at 63 per cent compared to 37 per cent female.
The majority of users for Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest fall into the 35 to 44 year-old bracket, while the smallest audience proportions for all five social networks fall into the 16 to 24 year-old age group.
Although Facebook still leads in terms of active usage in every region worldwide, Google+ has made strong inroads and its penetration in the internet population across the Asia Pacific - only eight percentage points behind that of Facebook.
GlobalWebIndex attributes this to high use of country-specific social networks such as Sina Weibo in China, which is the fourth largest platform in the world with 300m active members.
Facebook has 21 per cent penetration in China, but local platforms are far more popular because they are more easily accessible, according to the report.
The report forecasts that the developing markets are more likely to be active on Google+, while South Africa had the largest proportion of active Facebook users in the second quarter of 2013.
Meanwhile Pinterest and Tumblr have taken the top slots as the two fastest growing social platforms year on year, surging 88 per cent and 74 per cent respectively.