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Go Global – Social Networks Around the World

March 18th, 2009

And the winner is….Facebook.

As promised, let’s revisit Global Faces and Networked Places by Nielsen,  this time for a look at the most popular social network sites around the globe.  Facebook took the lead from MySpace in 2008, growing their active global reach a whopping 168% to 29.9% and a global unique audience of 108.3 Million.  Thirty percent of all Internet users around the world visited Facebook in 2008.

MySpace comes in 2nd at 22.4%, followed at a distance by Classmates Online, Orkut and LinkedIn.

Facebook Leads in Global Reach

Facebook Leads in Global Reach

MySpace still held the lead in the United States, where it had built a solid following by the time Facebook emerged in 2004, but if this is still the case today, it won’t be for long unless something changes fast.  Facebook’s US growth rate will simply outpace MySpace soon.  

Gaining fast in global prominence over the last 2 years, Facebook is the most popular social network in Australia, Spain, Switzerland, France, UK and Italy.  In the UK, Facebook has almost a 50% reach, with 44% reach in Italy. Even in the US, where Facebook comes in second, it has a nearly 40% reach. 

Source:  The Nielsen Company

Source: The Nielsen Company

However, in several markets, both Facebook and MySpace have failed to gain market momentum, including China, Brazil, Germany and Japan, which are mostly led by homegrown social networks.  Japan and China (as well as the US) are dominated by social networks orginating in their own country, largely due to issues that include complexities of doing business and language barriers, that allowed local companies strong first-mover advantages.  China is led by 51, with MySpace at 5th and Facebook not even in the top ten. 

China's Most Popular Social Networks (Nielsen, 2009)

China's Most Popular Social Networks (Nielsen 2009)

The exception in this group to a native network dominating is Brazil, where Nielsen estimated Orcut’s reach at 70%, the largest domestic reach for a social network in any country.  What apparently started out as a contest by Brazilian students to make Orcut more popular in Brazil than in Orcut’s native US, has ended up Brazil’s third most popular internet site.

Why has Facebook grown so rapidly?  Nielsen attributes Facebook’s rapid growth to simple design, broad appeal, focus on connecting (not entertaining), innovative features and open architecture, member’s control over privacy and good old fashioned Media Coverage.

Time to Stop Playing Around! (with Social Media…)

March 17th, 2009

Two new reports are recently out this month, both reminding us that Social Media is not only here to stay, but is essential to future marketing and customer engagement strategies.  Playtime is over and it is time to get serious when in comes to investment in this channel!

This point is summarized in the title from Forrester’s Social Media Playtime is OverJeremiah K. Owyang explores how corporate spending continues to rise in the recession.  Some of the main points include:

  • According to 114 Global Social Media Marketers at companies with over 250 employees, 53% of them plan to increase investment in Social Media, and only 5% plan to decrease investment during the current economic turmoil. (see charts from the report below)
  • Further, they indicated that they would continue to increase investment in social media if the economic turmoil continues, even while decreasing other channels. (see charts from the report below)
  • Budgets for Social Media remain very small (too small?), with 75% budgeting only $100,000 or less (and 30% spending $3000 or less!).  This is largely due to the exploratory and experimental social plans to date as companies seek to answer how social media can help them thrive (and it can!).
  • It’s time for companies to stop experimenting and get serious -  those who are the most innovative and forward thinking will develop a long term plan.  Advertising Age quotes Jeremiah from the report: “…As one of the few marketing budget items increasing during a recession, social media marketing needs to be taken seriously and treated as a corporate asset. To be successful, social media marketing must be managed as long-term programs, not short-term experiments. To succeed, make sure you have dedicated resources in place, including both social media strategists and community managers.”  He further ads:  “If you continue to fund social applications only as experiments, you’re unlikely to be able to do enough to make an impact, or to have a secure source of funding for the future. One way to put these efforts on a firmer footing is to concentrate on objectives and measure progress… rather than just experimenting to see what happens.”

social_media_marketing_budget_breakdown

The time really is now to get serious.  As Marketing Pilgram’s Andy Beal pointed out: “If you spend peanuts on social media, you’ll get…peanut butter–not filet mignon–when it comes to seeing results.“  I love this quote, and based on my own research and experience, I couldn’t agree more.  If you are going to invest in social media, you need to consider what level of invests will be required for technology, marketing, promotion, customization, training and support – and then to integrate where necessary into your own organizational structure while still accomodating your customers’ social graphs.

social-media-spending

 

On March 9, 2009, Nielsen released “Global Faces and Networked Places:  A Nielsen report on Social Networking’s New Global Footprint.”  Findings included:

  • Time spent in ”Member Communities” (include both social networks and blogs) growing 3x faster than Overall Internet Rate
  • 67% of the global online population visit Member Communities
  • Communities account for 10% of all time on the Internet
  • Biggest increase in visitors to Member Communities in 2008 was among the 35-49 age group
  • Mobile access of Member Communities increased 249% in the UK and 156% in the US in 2008

 

This report is packed with way more information than summarized above so be sure to check it out!  I’m sure we’ll be visiting it again in this blog when to look at various global markets.

Nielsen Global Faces Charts

charts from Global Faces and Networked Places, The Nielsen Company.

 

Note:  You can purchase “Social Media Playtime Is Over” from Forrester for $749.