Here are all of the posts tagged ‘social media’.

Social, Digital & Mobile in Europe in 2014

by Simon Kemp in News

We’re delighted to announce the latest in We Are Social’s series of Social, Digital & Mobile Worldwide reports, this time with more than 250 pages of stats and behavioural indicators for 40 countries across Europe.

We featured a number of these countries in our global report just a month ago, but as you’ll see in this new report, many of the data points have already changed.

The critical changes are to the Social Media figures, with many countries seeing increases in monthly active user bases in the past couple of weeks.

The lovely folks at GlobalWebIndex have also given us permission to share figures from their fresh new Wave 12 study, released just last week. This new wave of GWI data brings us up to Q4 2013, and provides a hugely informative perspective on the freshest numbers and behaviours for the region’s biggest economies.

The Global Picture
As we saw in the APAC report, online landscapes never stay the same, so we start this report with another fresh look at the global landscape.

The main difference in this report is the number of active social media users, which has grown by almost 2 million active users since our APAC report just 2 weeks ago:

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Internet in Europe
Europe has impressively high levels of internet usage, with 7 countries around the region registering penetration of more than 90%.

Iceland and Norway lead the way, with 95% each.

Penetration in the Ukraine lags the rest of the region by some way, but is still on a par with the global average of 34%.

On a regional basis though, more than two thirds of Europe’s population is now online:

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The total number of internet users around the region is also impressive, with Europe now counting more than half a billion people online:

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In terms of time spent online, it’s the Eastern side of Europe that leads the way, with internet users in Poland and Russia spending an average of 4.8 hours on the net each day.

Italy leads the way when it comes to mobile internet usage at an average of 2.2 hours per day, while Irish, Spanish and Polish internet users all spend an average of almost 2 hours per day connected via mobile devices:

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Social Media in Europe
At the start of 2014, Europe boasts almost 300 million active social media users, accounting for 40% of the region’s population:

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However, when it comes to platforms of choice, the social media landscape in Europe is split in two.

Facebook dominates in Western Europe, with 37 countries around the region accounting for a total of 232.2 million active users – roughly 19% of the platform’s total global user base.

To put that in perspective, these countries account for less than 8% of the total world population.

Eastern Europe is still a VKontakte stronghold though, with users in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus accounting for more than 60 million active accounts.

Facebook is present here too, and its user base continues to grow in these countries, but the world’s favourite social network currently only claims 12.4 million monthly active users across these 3 countries combined.

As with internet penetration, Iceland also leads the way in terms of social media penetration, with 70% of the country’s population using Facebook in the past month.

Malta puts in an impressive showing at 58% penetration, with Scandinavian countries rounding out the rest of the top 5:

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Time spent on social media continues to account for a large part of overall online activity too, with Italy and Russia – the most ‘socially active’ nations in Europe – spending more than 40% of their connected time on social media:

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Meanwhile, mobile social continues to grow in importance around the region, with two thirds of the region’s social media users regularly accessing via mobile devices:

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This is still considerably lower than the same proportion in APAC though, and accounts for a penetration rate of barely 26% of the total regional population.

The figures vary considerably between countries, with more than half of the populations of Norway and Iceland connecting to Facebook via a mobile device in the past month:

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At 30 million active mobile social users, the UK leads the way in terms of absolute numbers, while Germany, France and Italy all register 20 million active users each:

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Sub-Regional Pictures
We’re pleased to include overviews for each of Europe’s sub-regions too, with 7 distinct analyses showing how the online landscape varies across the ‘continent’:

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Each of these sub-regional analyses provides a top-level picture of key stats, helping marketers to plan multi-market activities with greater ease.

For illustration, here’s the overview for Northern Europe, which covers Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden:

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In-Depth Country Analysis
We’ve included an in-depth analysis of the local picture for 40 countries in this report, with a wealth of stats and behavioural indicators for each nation.

In particular, we’re delighted to include data for Spain, which was the most-requested country following our global report a few weeks ago.

You’ll find all the numbers you need for each country in the full SlideShare presentation (as featured at the top of this post), but just to whet your appetite, here are the numbers for Spain:

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And there we have it – another bumper collection of online facts and stats.

Do get in touch if you’d like some help making sense of these numbers, or if you’d like us to work with you to turn these insights into an actionable strategy.

And don’t forget we have offices all across Europe, so if you’re looking for on-ground support, be sure to get in touch with our teams in London, Paris, Milan and Munich:

Europe Contacts

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Sources for all the above data are listed in the full report. We’d especially like to thank GlobalWebIndex and GSMA Intelligence for their help in providing data for these reports, and for allowing us to publish their valuable data.

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Social, Digital & Mobile Worldwide in 2014

by Simon Kemp in News

The astonishing growth of all things digital continues to gather pace around the world, as We Are Social’s new Social, Digital & Mobile Worldwide report on the key social, digital and mobile stats from around the world demonstrates.

It should come as little surprise that much of this growth is being fuelled by connected mobile devices, but this year’s data do reveal some interesting trends and anomalies, especially in relation to Japan and Korea.

You’ll find the complete story in the SlideShare deck above, but we’ve pulled out some of the highlights below.

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Internet
Adding up all the users in individual countries around the world, there appear to be around 2.5 billion global internet users today – roughly 35% of the world’s population:

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While this represents around 150 million more users than this time last year, these numbers may still be conservative. Reliable, recent data for some countries remains patchy, but the International Communications Union estimates that there are probably closer to 3 billion global internet users, with most of the difference made up by mobile-only connections.

Users are still not distributed evenly either, with some parts of the world still struggling to reach double-digit internet penetration. In particular, Africa, Central and Southern Asia all report relatively low numbers, although it’s worth highlighting that mobile internet users may contribute a significant – yet uncounted – increase in these areas.

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With reference to the continued growth in internet penetration, it seems clear that mobile connections will account for the vast majority of new sign-ups in the coming months. As the chart below highlights, the distribution of mobile penetration matches much more closely to the distribution of the world’s population, meaning most people around the world now have a realistic opportunity to access the internet:

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The cost of mobile data clearly remains a barrier in much of the remaining world, but as costs continue to fall, and as the benefits continue to increase, it’s likely we’ll see more and more people in the developing world putting increased importance on reliable internet access.

Social Media
Social channels continued to show strong growth over the past 12 months, with top social networks adding more than 135 million new users in the course of 2013.

This number is slightly misrepresentative of actual growth though, as we’ve decided to focus solely on monthly active user figures to report social media usage in this year’s report. As a result, some numbers may appear lower than they did this time last year (when we used total registered user numbers for some platforms), while the actual growth in active usage may appear smaller than it really was.

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Due to the different usage contexts, associated behaviours and opportunities for brands, we’ve also chosen to treat chat apps such as WhatsApp and WeChat separately to social networks in this year’s report.

However, these platforms continue to capture significant interest from users and marketers alike, a trend reflected in their huge active user bases:

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It also appears that social media is now an engrained part of the lives of people across different demographic groups. This increased ubiquity may result in some changes to the specific demographic bases of individual platforms, but even if people’s habits are changing, it appears that people are moving from one social platform to another, rather than deserting social media in its entirety.

Despite this increasing ubiquity, though, social media penetration remains unevenly distributed around the world:

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As might be expected, mobile is playing an increasingly important part in the social media landscape. Facebook reports that almost three quarters of its 1.2 billion monthly active users around the world access the platform through mobile, while on any given day, almost half of its users are mobile only.

The importance of mobile is mirrored across other platforms too, with Twitter increasingly a mobile-dominated platform, and platforms like WhatsApp, WeChat and Instagram depending entirely on a mobile ecosystem.

Mobile
Given the above, most marketers have now accepted that mobile devices are people’s most important devices, but the opportunities they offer continue to evolve at a staggering pace.

Connected mobile devices have already outpaced more traditional means of internet access such as laptops and PCs, while smartphone sales now outnumber those of feature phones around the world too.

The number of mobile subscriptions jumped by 173 million in 2013, and the number of active mobile subscriptions around the world now equates to roughly 93% of the world’s population.

Penetration rates are more healthy all over the world too, with two-thirds of Africa’s population now mobile powered. Meanwhile, many regions – including those in the developing world – have penetration levels far in excess of 100%:

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Mobile broadband access has exploded around the world in recent months too, and 1.5 billion people now have access to relatively fast internet from their mobile devices:

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A Regional View
While the picture in many Western countries has converged, there are a number of areas around the world that maintain their idiosyncrasies. In particular, China and Eastern Europe continue to prefer local social networks, while Africa, Central and South Asia are considerably under-represented when it comes to internet penetration:

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Asia
The world’s most populous region saw another strong year of growth across all things digital in 2013.

China’s social media giants continue to post strong growth, whether it’s active users on Qzone, or the incredible growth of Weixin (WeChat).

However, both Japan and South Korea have seen some fragmentation of the social media landscape, with chat apps like LINE and Kakaotalk continuing to gain momentum. Neither company releases monthly active user numbers though, so it’s hard to know exactly how these platforms compare to the more traditional networks like Facebook and Twitter.

Interestingly, however, ‘claimed’ usage of social media in both countries differs dramatically from the picture painted by Facebook’s monthly active user numbers, suggesting that Northeast Asia’s netizens may be harnessing a wider variety of platforms.

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Facebook continues to lead Twitter in both countries though, and appears to maintain its top spot almost everywhere.

China and countries in Eastern Europe host the few exceptions to Facebook’s global dominance, with Qzone and VKontakte claiming the top spots in a handful of nations.

However, with more than 1 billion monthly active users, it’s safe to say that Facebook will continue to play a central role in the social media landscape in 2014 too.

The Local Picture
We’ve gone into an extra level of detail in this year’s report too, offering insights into the local digital ecosystem across 24 of the world’s biggest economies:

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Alongside offering the key digital indicators, we’ve also collated some key behavioural indicators, including time spent on the internet and on social media, as well as the prevalence of important activities on connected mobile devices.

You’ll find all the facts and figures for each country in the complete 180+ page report on SlideShare (as embedded at the top of this post).

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Are you a #BBaddict?

by Benjamin Arnold in News

Audiences and critics alike are heralding AMC’s Breaking Bad as one of the all-time great TV series. The sixth season of the Emmy® Award-winning drama returned to US screens for its final eight episodes this month. And the show’s millions of fans are showing no sign of addiction remission for Walter White (Bryan Cranston), Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) and co.

In the lead-up to the final season, the AMC team here at We Are Social in New York conducted extensive research around the show, uncovering fan conversations and content sharing across Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Tumblr and tons of other social platforms.

With the aim of increasing anticipation and tune-in, we wanted to further galvanize these millions of fans and convert them into fervent show ambassadors.

To do this we tapped directly into the obsessive nature of the Breaking Bad fan base to create #BBaddict, a social experience which asks fans what they are willing to sacrifice in order to prove their addiction to the show.

We created a series of socially-based activities and weekly challenges that asked fans to engage with Breaking Bad on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GetGlue, and Vine.

We incentivized engagement and sharing by offering rewards such as exclusive film access, DVD box sets, A1 car fresheners, Breaking Bad t-shirts and sweatshirts, and more. One grand prizewinner will also be flown to the finale taping of Talking Bad, the talk show series that airs after AMC’s newest drama Low Winter Sun, and will receive star treatment from the cast and crew.

The buzz over the last few weeks has been incredible, both in how the campaign has been received, and also how much we’ve enjoyed working on it. If we weren’t all fans of the show before, then We Are Social New York is definitely full of #BBaddicts now!

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Social Brands: Augmented Experiences

by Simon Kemp in News

When people buy brands, they’re usually paying for something more than a core product or service.

For example, they don’t really pay for the liquid inside a shampoo bottle; they pay for beautiful hair, and for the confidence which that brings.

Ultimately, people pay for benefits; products and services are simply a means to an end.

The most successful brands understand that broader, benefit-led marketing allows them to extend their impact beyond core products and services to deliver ‘augmented’ offerings that create far greater value to both them and their audiences.

This approach applies to brands across almost all categories:

  • Nike sees large-scale participative events like its We Run races as core revenue streams in their own right, not just activities designed to increase sales of the brand’s apparel.
  • Apple’s App Stores and iTunes Store move the brand from a manufacturer to a lifestyle brand whose impact extends well beyond the technology sector.
  • Madonna purportedly earns more money from concert ticket and merchandise sales than she does from album sales.
  • Red Bull has gone so far as to reposition itself as a ‘media and experiences company’, using its ‘extreme stimulation’ proposition to extend the brand’s offering well beyond its heritage of energy drinks.
  • American Express doesn’t just offer payment services to its merchants; it uses activities like its OPEN forum and Small Business Saturday initiatives to become an overall ‘partner in success’.

It’s clear to see why this approach works: augmented experiences offer people something more than a mere means to an end, and as a result, they succeed in delivering a differentiated value proposition that people are willing to pay more for.

Moreover, these experiences are inherently more ‘social’ than simple products and services too – it’s easier for people to share an experience than it is for them to share most products.

Critically, there are also more compelling reasons for people to talk about great experiences than there are for them to recommend specific products.

As a result, augmented experiences can inspire a social media impact that extends well beyond the reach of customer reviews or the brand’s own social media posts.

So, when it comes to your brand’s social media, don’t just think about how you’ll drive greater engagement with your own social media posts; use augmented experiences to inspire organic audience conversations, and become a brand that’s always worth talking about.

Read more in the Social Brands series by clicking here.

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Social Brands: Listen and Learn

by Simon Kemp in News

As we saw in a previous post in this Social Brands series, marketing is all about creating mutually beneficial exchanges of value.

The nature of that value exchange will vary between brands and audiences and over time, but in order for marketers to deliver maximum value to their brands, it holds that they need to understand what value looks like for their audiences.

This isn’t just a case of asking people what they want, though; as Steve Jobs astutely pointed out,

It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” (from this great collection of Jobs quotes)

If you want to deliver real value to people, you need to understand them as people: their behaviour, their attitudes and beliefs, their motivations… In short, you need to understand their lives.

Conventional marketing research is great at finding specific answers to specific questions, but the real magic for marketers lies in modern-day anthropology – not the 19th Century ‘home-stay in Borneo’ variety, but a fresh, always-on digital approach to meaningful people-watching.

Enter Social Media Listening
Every day, hundreds of millions of people all over the world share valuable insights and information about themselves via publicly accessible social media.

Not all of these posts mention brands, but that doesn’t mean they’re not of value to marketers.

Indeed, almost all public posts can help inquisitive marketers to build a rich understanding of their audiences that they couldn’t gather elsewhere.

Even the much-bemoaned practice of posting “photos of my lunch” can reveal powerful insights into an audiences’ worldview: do they opt for expensive restaurants? Do they look for healthy alternatives? Do they mention brand names or generic topics?

When we explore people’s social media activities with an open mind, we’re almost certain to find something of value.

However, almost all marketers miss this value, because they’re too busy ‘listening’ for explicit mentions of brand names or campaign hashtags.

As a result, we’re leaving far too many rich insights uncovered in the feed.

Big Data vs Big Insights
One of the reasons we’re missing this value is that marketers are often too egocentric when it comes to their brands.

This isn’t a judgment on marketers as people, mind – more often than not, this selfish focus is driven by a the demands of the quarterly sales cycle, and the quick wins that are invariably the easiest ways to achieve short-term targets often come at the cost of seeing (or seizing) bigger, longer-term opportunities.

This focus on ‘delivering the numbers’ means marketers spend too much time looking for ways to insert themselves into conversation.

Put simply, we spend too much time looking for opportunities to interrupt people.

But it doesn’t need to be that way.

Indeed, this interruptive approach – even though it’s become ‘industry standard’ – contravenes one of the most important rules of effective communication: when you’re talking with someone, actively listen to what they’re saying, and don’t simply wait for your turn to speak.

Sadly, too many brands don’t even wait for their turn to speak though; they’ve become used to interrupting audiences whenever they have sufficient budget.

Even amongst those brands that do listen, most only do so on an ad-hoc basis, usually by using traditional market research techniques to ask a series of brand-oriented questions.

This approach does offer a certain value, of course, but the danger is that marketers only pay attention to a summary of aggregated findings, and miss out on the opportunity to dig deeper into the motivations and contexts behind people’s statements and behaviour.

In order to become more successful, marketers need to move beyond this ‘brand egocentrism’, and start to think of their brand’s activities in the broader context of people’s whole lives.

We need to spend more time actively getting to know our audiences, and being personally involved in the listening process.

Social Listening vs Social Monitoring
Fortunately, rich insights are readily available to marketers with the willingness to listen.

By paying attention to the statements and conversations that people share in public social media, we can gain a far deeper understanding of what people actually want, need and desire.

We don’t need to collect everything in one go, either; by spending just 5 minutes a day actively listening to the conversations of a subset of your audience, you’ll quickly gain an affinity for the things they care about.

More importantly, these insights can add value well beyond your social media activities too; most people (i.e. non-marketers) use social media to talk about a wide variety of their everyday lives, so proactive listening can inform every aspect of your brand’s value proposition: advertising, packaging, CSR opportunities, in-store activities, and even R&D:

We Are Social - Brand Value Via Social Listening

In order to do this effectively, though, we need to move beyond ‘ego monitoring’.

Instead of listening only to what people are saying about your brand, use more generic keyword terms in your searches.

For example, if you’re a shampoo brand, don’t just listen out for mentions of Pantene, Dove and Head & Shoulders; ultimately, people don’t pay for shampoo, they pay for beautiful hair, so listen out for the broader conversations they’re having about hair.

By adopting this broader approach, you’ll quickly gain insights into people’s problems and motivations, their preferences and their needs.

Furthermore, by moving beyond the simplistic measurement of ego metrics like share of voice or campaign engagement, you’ll start to find opportunities to join organic audience conversations where your brand can actually add real value, without needing to interrupt them.

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The bigger opportunity in social media listening is that it can help us use communications to add value and become welcome participants in bigger conversations.

Getting Started
The first step towards uncovering these rich insights is to identify who you want to listen to.

Don’t restrict this definition to your consumers; listening to broader groups such as influencers, advocates, detractors and even NGOs and regulators can help add rich and unexpected insights.

Once you’ve defined your audience, you’ll need to find where they are in public social media.

You don’t need to find everyone in your audience of course, and you certainly don’t need to analyse every one of their posts.

The way I usually get started is to find a few dozen people talking about something generic (but brand-relevant) on Twitter, and then read through some of their other recent posts. Inevitably this will include some photos of lunch, but I start to get an affinity for who they are as real people.

Once you do this a few times, you’ll probably want to adopt a more systematic approach.

Start by putting together a simple list of keywords, and make a regular ‘appointment’ to listen to the people who’re talking about them.

Select a few people from these conversations at random, and take some time to listen to what they’re saying about other things too; this way, you’ll quickly build up an intuitive understanding of your audience that goes well beyond demographics.

Using social listening tools can help make your anthropological efforts more effective too; harness the power of always-on listening tools like Tweetdeck and HootSuite, as well as powerful aggregators like Sysomos and Radian6.

There’s a host of great, free listening tools out there too, so don’t let budgets stop you – I regularly use socialmention, addictomatic and twazzup, and great new tools launch all the time.

Once you have your tools set up, you’ll only need to listen for a few minutes every day before you start to identify new ways to add value to your audiences’ lives and to your brand’s bottom line.

Go on, try it out now.

This post first appeared on The Wall Blog. To read more in the Social Brands & The Future of Marketing series, click here.

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