70% of People Have Never Heard of WordPress

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The title says it all. In a recent survey conducted by WPMU, 70% of more than 1,500 respondents from the general population in the U.S. said they had never heard of WordPress. Of course that means 30% had.

Here are a few more quick overview stats:

  • 35-44 year olds were the group with the highest rate of recognition at 37.1%
  • 32.1% of males said they had heard of the platform while 28.1% of females said they had
  • 34.8% of urban populations, 26.6% of suburban populations, and 23.6% of rural populations had heard of WordPress

For ease of understanding, we’ll report all our stats below in terms of people who HAVE heard of WordPress.

About the Survey

Our question was simple, “Have you heard of WordPress?”

The survey was conducted through Google Consumer Surveys, which claims statistically significant and valid results when at least 1,500 responses are recorded. We recorded 1,517.

Note: The question did not draw a distinction between WordPress.com and the open source software hosted at WordPress.org.

Males vs. Females

While there wasn’t a large divide between males and females, four more percent of males had heard of WordPress than females. 32.1% of males said they had heard of the platform while 28.1% of females said they had.

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Age Differences

As you might expect, more young people knew of WordPress compared to older people, but the breakdowns might surprise you a little. Age is relative, and therefore so is the term “young.”

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While 31.2% of 18-24 year olds had heard of WordPress, and 36.1% of 25-34 year olds had heard of WordPress, both of those groups were outdone by 35-44 year olds at 37.1%.

The next group up the ladder—45-54 year olds—sent the numbers back down the ladder, with 27.4% saying they had heard of WP. For 55-64 year olds, 20.8% had heard of it. But then for those 65 years plus, 22.5% answered that they had heard of WP.

(Note: This survey was conducted on the Internet, and so that may have influenced the outcome of some of these percentages, especially with older respondents.)

So what can we gather from this? Well, if you’re looking for people who are already at least somewhat familiar with WordPress, the sweetest spot of all was the 35-44 group – maybe a little older than some might guess. But the 25-34 group was just a tick behind. And so if you put those two groups together (25-44), you get a nice large juicy pot of 36.6% having heard of WordPress.

Gender and Age

When we break it down into both gender and age, the group of females with the largest percentage was the 35-44 group with 37.9%. The next closest group for females was the 25-34 group with 34.7%.

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The group of males with the largest percentage of WP recognition was the 25-34 group with 37.6%. The 35-44 group wasn’t far behind with 36.1%.

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*Note: The more characteristics that are combined, the less statistically accurate the percentages become. For example, the 70/30 split for the entire population has a margin of error of about 3%. When you look at the difference between men and women, the margin of error goes up to about 4%. When you look at gender and age combined (as above), the margin goes up to about 9-13%, depending on what pairings you’re talking about.

Urban Density

In terms of urban density, as you might expect, urban populations (34.8%) had heard of WordPress more than suburban (26.6%) or rural populations (23.6%).

urban-density3

 

Income Levels

For income levels, the distribution was relatively even. Though the $100-149K group below would appear to have a clear lead at 47.6%, its margin of error was very high (+21.5 / -20.7). In other words, the real number could be as low as in the 20s. But as well, it could also be as high as in the 60s. The low number of respondents in this group is what makes the data so volatile.

The same could be said for the next highest group, those earning $75-99K, but to a much lesser extent. That group showed a very high 39.3% familiarity rate; however, its margin of error was also relatively high (+11.0 / -10.0).

There was no data for the $150K+ group.

Because some had a rather high error of margin, we also list the margin (+/-) beside the percentages.

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Region

As this survey was limited to respondents in the U.S., the regional data here applies to the U.S. as well, of course.

The Northeast came in first with 34.5%. But the West was a close second at 33%.

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Surprises?

And so that’s it. Interesting stuff. Anything surprise you … even a little?

Comments (11)

  1. now consider that these where “online engaged” people who took an online survey… if you ask people casually on the street, much more than 70% will not know wordpress. maybe 90%.

    and that is totally okay :-)

    • Yeah, being online may skew things a little — like with older people, etc. But it is supposedly a fairly representative sample … according to Google.

  2. I’m really glad you guys are looking into the eco system of WordPress from a demographics level. I gave a talk on trends in WordPress at WordCamp Chicago with this same style of break down this last June.

    Because a couple folks have asked, slides 5 and 6 below are slides that Matt referenced during the state of the word for the numbers.

    http://www.slideshare.net/photoflame42/wordcamp-chicago

    If you want to chat demographics and data sometime let me know. I also have some other interesting research that I recently talked about regarding WordPress as a connected devices application layer. I think the more this knowledge gets out there the better.

  3. I’d be interested in know how many of those who have not heard of WordPress know what a CMS is at all. Additional if they had heard of any other CMS and if so which ones. Merely knowing about wordpress or not is not extremely insightful when it’s not in the proper context.

    Additionally how were those surveyed found, was it through web ads?

    Interesting results none the less.

  4. Fascinating information! Like nomadone, I’d love to see some data comparison that puts this information into context.

    For instance, I was surprised to see that only 30% of people have heard of WordPress! How does this compare to the number of people who are familiar with Tumblr? It seems like a low number, but, then again, I work online so my frame of reference isn’t exactly “average.”

  5. This survey has no real value. Like @nomadone above mentioned it is important to look at the outcome figures in a certain context.
    Also it’s important to have a good survey. A questionnaire on the internet really is not.
    Almost 100% of the world has no idea of my existence. Does that say anything about me?

  6. Honestly, I am not only amazed but appalled! Seriously? I think I had better start doing a much better job of educating my prospective client base! WordPress has a very impressive client list – just take a look at this:
    http://en.wordpress.com/notable-users/ . We design only WordPress sites because of the ability of the end user to be able to manage their site themselves should they choose to. Are there that many consumers under a rock?

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