The basics of social media in the world

Home The basics of social media in the world

Our ‘Social Media around the World’ report contains numerous facts, details & conclusions of our global social media study. With this post I summarized the basics on social media to give you a heads up on social media usage around the globe.

Augmented reality
Augmented reality still is a niche application. 4% of smartphone users are familiar with it. Considering the fact that 38% of the online population owns a smartphone, this 4% of the total population is completely negligible at the moment.

Decisions made based on positive rather than negative feedback
The impact of positive conversations concerning brands is more important than the impact of negative statements. Throughout the survey’s results, the power of the positive is obvious. People share more positive stories, they prefer to read them, and they base their decisions on them.

Co-creation is a dream many consumers have
Almost half the people would like to share their ideas with a company they like. One out of three takes this further and wishes to be able to co-create with the company. It is by no means a niche group that is open to this. The main thing about co-creation is that people are interested in the category or company in question, which is their main motivation.

Defriending is linked to an offline relationship, not to content
More than half of social network users have already eliminated someone from their virtual circle of friends. The main reason is the lack of offline contact. When the offline relationship between people is less positive, it has an impact online. Bad or irrelevant content has much less impact on the matter.

Lonely apps
An average smartphone contains 25 apps, only 12 of which are used. Many applications are used only once. The social network apps are the most successful ones and are downloaded most frequently.

Friendster is buried
The name of Friendster is huge in the US, China and India (up to 50%), but the network is dying slowly but gradually. The majority of this network’s users have indicated that they will no longer log into it in the future.

Average time on Facebook per day: 37 minutes
A Facebook user spends an average of 37 minutes on the site per day, which means Facebook is the second most intensively used site. The East-European site Vkontakte is the leader with an average usage duration of 49 minutes a day. Twitter comes in third with 23 minutes a day.

Hyves still is the most popular social network site in the Netherlands. Half the online population has a Hyves profile. However Facebook is breathing down its neck, since no less than 44% of Dutch Internet users already have a Facebook profile.

Everybody is involved in social networks
73% of Europeans use social network sites. Facebook undoubtedly is the main site in Europe. 73% means that about everybody uses these sites. The increasing adoption of mobile Internet will entail a further increase of the social network sites in the years to come. The survey shows that smartphone owners are much more active on social networks.

Japan is the outsider in this survey. Only 34% of all Japanese is member of a social network, which means their score is the lowest of the 35 countries. In Europe the adoption lies at 73%, in America at 76%, in Brazil at 86%, in India at 84%, in Australia at 67% and in China at 44%. Besides, Facebook does not perform well at all-in Japan; its penetration is a mere 13%. Twitter on the other hand does really well with a 29% adoption.

Checking out what the others are doing
The main activity on social media is reading the status updates of friends. Sending personal messages obtains a higher score than reacting publically to someone’s status.

A social network other than Facebook can only be successful if it brings a clear added value. LinkedIn is such an outsider. It clearly has a professional positioning. Because of its professional importance there barely is any ‘defriending’ on LinkedIn. The survey shows that LinkedIn is still rather unknown; only 32% of the European Internet surfers have already heard of it. On average 11% of Europeans is a member of LinkedIn. The Netherlands is the leader with a 17% adoption.

Metcalfe Law
Metcalfe’s law is the law of network effects. This law defines the value of a network as the number of users square. The more members a network counts, the more appealing it becomes to others. This law explains the success of Facebook, but also shows the difficulties that other new initiatives face. It says that the big are getting bigger and the smaller are getting smaller. For sites such as Hyves and Netlog this could entail problems, unless another proposition is found; a proposition that is valuable enough to convince the members of a network to come and to stay.

News about brands
Half of social network users are linked to a brand. People link to brands to get news about the company. Furthermore they also wish to be informed of events. And of course they are also looking for promotions and personal advantages.

Offline experience entails online conversations
This survey shows that offline experiences are the main online conversation starters. The way one experiences a product, or one’s experiences in a shop, are the main subjects on social media when people talk about brands.

I think this is one of the best conclusions of our survey. The positive wins from the negative. People tell more positive than negative experiences on social media. Furthermore, the positive stories spread easier than the negative ones. As indicated before, positive conversations have more impact than negative ones. And that’s when I’m thinking: just as well there is no ‘dislike’ button on Facebook.

Qzone is the most successful social network in China. 7 Chinese out of 10 know it. The name is as big as Facebook in the country. 26% of all Chinese Internet users are a member of this site, which makes it a whole lot larger than Facebook (20%).

Direct personal advantages remain important
In order to entertain people on a fan page it is handy to ensure personal advantages. 58% of the fans expect to get promotions or freebies when they are member of a fan page.

Status quo
93% of social network users are satisfied with the current offer. The majority does not wish to get any additional profiles and is also not planning to stop their current platforms.

Twitter is an outsider amongst the social network sites. 80% of all Europeans know Twitter, but only 16% of them use the site actively.

Explicit fans are less credible
Only 16% of social network users believe what a fan of a brand says. Once a person is too positive about a company, his credibility drops. One prefers to obtain information from neutral people who share their brand experience objectively.

Vkontakte is a very popular East-European social network site. The familiarity is 55% and 39% of Eastern-Europeans have a profile on it. Vkontakte is preceded in popularity however by Facebook, which is known in East-Europe by 94%; 57% have a profile on that site.

Websites remain important
The majority of surfers wish to give feedback to a company via e-mail (80%) and via the website (62%). 24% prefer social media for contacting a company. This 24% is a rather important group, but this result proves that, despite the social media hype, companies should not neglect their classic online channels.

Just like LinkedIn, Xing is a professional network. The network’s familiarity is increasing rapidly. 19% of the surfers are familiar with this site, which is mainly known in China and India (where LinkedIn also obtains excellent scores). The site’s usage however is still rather low: only 5% are a member of it. In China and India the usage is rather limited as well, contrary to LinkedIn.

It is not only Gen Y
All the data from this research show that social media is used by all levels of the population. Even in BRIC countries social media obtain good scores. In certain countries, such as Brazil, their scores are even higher than in Europe and the US. The survey is the umpteenth proof that social media is not the new generation’s media but rather today’s media.

Identical positioning sometimes missing
Companies do not always manage to realise the same image both online and offline. 12% of social network users see a difference between a brand’s online communication and its offline perception.

All details of the ‘Social Media around the World’ study can be consulted for free and are available for download.

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