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

The State of Social in Asia (March 2013)

by Simon Kemp in News

We Are Social - Active Social Network Users in Asia March 2013

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We’re pleased to share the latest of our SDMW snapshots for social media use around Asia.

Today’s snapshot offers a more comparable definition of ‘users’, and is based solely on active users*, rather than the overall user numbers we used for some countries in previous reports where active user data was not available.

Social Media Users
Despite this recalibration, the total number of social media users across the top network in each of our 24 SDMW Asia nations has increased to 874 million, reflecting 18% growth compared to our last full report in October.

This represents growth of more than 10 million new users of social media every month – a figure that’s all the more impressive considering Facebook’s recent clean up of ‘fake’ accounts.

Penetration
However, social media penetration has fluctuated around the region in the past few months, with a number of ‘mature’ markets – including Brunei, Singapore and Hong Kong – registering a drop in penetration as the frequency of Facebook usage begins to slow.

Overall though, regional penetration remained static at 23%, in line with the overall global average:

We Are Social - Active Social Network Penetration in Asia March 2013

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More importantly, the drop in penetration across mature markets has been balanced by on-going growth in markets like India and Indonesia, both of which continue to see social media usage expand at impressive rates.

Mobile Chat
However, the most interesting story comes from North Asia, where we’re seeing accelerating mass adoption of mobile chat applications.

Neither Japan nor Korea was a ‘Facebook market’ in our previous report – Korea’s primary social network was CyWorld, while Japanese social media users appeared to prefer Twitter – but the rapid growth of newer chat platforms may scupper the world’s favourite network’s plans to grow in these countries.

Indeed, KakaoTalk and Line already dominate the social media landscapes of South Korea and Japan respectively, with both platforms registering significantly more users than Facebook and microblogs.

Similarly, while Qzone continues to be the region’s largest social network by active users, we expect to see this situation change in the coming months as a result of the increased implementation of China’s real name rules for social media use, and the continued expansion of platforms like WeChat (Weixin).

Indeed, WeChat’s success beyond its home market of China looks set to be one of the biggest social media stories in Asia over the next few months.

At well over 300 million registered users, WeChat is already 15% bigger than Facebook in Asia, and its growth trajectory suggests that this gap will only increase further during 2013.

Given these trends, it’s clear that mobile’s role in the Asian social media landscape looks set to grow in importance, so look out for our upcoming post on using mobile to connect with Asian social audiences.

* Figures reflect monthly active users, except for Korea where we’ve used daily active user numbers. Note that user numbers for Japan and Korea have been extrapolated from available data.

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Social Brands: Communities vs Platforms

by Simon Kemp in News

Social Brands Part 2
In last week’s first post in our series on Social Brands & The Future Of Marketing, we noted that, “the most successful brands don’t just predict the future; they define the future on their own terms.

We’re continuing that theme in today’s second post in the Social Brands series, exploring the importance of building social marketing activities around the people you care about, and not around specific technological features or platforms.

The Motivations Driving Social Networking
Most people visit social networking sites in order to connect with other people: to stay in touch with friends and family; to share things with colleagues and professional peers; and even to meet strangers with similar interests and needs.

Because of this, most people see social media as a means to an end, with that ‘end’ being social interaction.

Of course, there are many times when technology plays an important part in facilitating these connections; things like the filters on Instagram, or the sharing features common to most social networks, are all important aspects of our social networking experience.

However, people connect around the personal, social benefits these elements provide, and not around the functionality itself.

Critically, if those social benefits don’t exist – if the people we want to connect with are not present, or if our networks move on – then the platform quickly loses its value.

We’ve seen this happen many times before; the declines of Second Life, MySpace, and Friendster were all driven by the migration of their audiences, not by technical failures.

Single-Serve Audiences
Sadly, when audiences move on from an incumbent Big Platform – and they invariably do – marketers quickly lose out.

The investments they’ve made in building large audiences specific to that platform stop delivering meaningful returns, because those audiences are invariably ‘non-transferrable’ (how many brands succeeded in migrating their Second Life audiences wholesale into Facebook without paying for the privilege?).

As a result, marketers need to stop relying on buying attention within specific platforms, and find a more resilient way of managing their social media activities.

From Platforms To Communities
The trick is to stop seeing social media as media, and to focus on the motivations and behaviours that drive people’s social activities instead.

Instead of buying attention in the hottest platforms of the day, tomorrow’s top brands will spend time understanding how to deliver value to the same people across different settings and contexts.

They will focus on nurturing active communities that choose to engage with and around the brand and its activities wherever and whenever they can.

Critically, they will use new platforms to offer incremental value – not simply as another means to interrupt people.

From Eyeballs To Heartstrings
The secret to building these ‘migratory’ communities is to understand people’s wants, needs, and desires, and to build engaging connections around them at every opportunity.

We need to understand what brings communities together, and build our strategies around their shared interests and passions, and not around technical functionality or platforms.

Above all, we need to add value to their lives at every opportunity – a topic we’ll explore in more detail in the next post in this Social Brands series.

Want to join the conversation? We’d love to hear your thoughts and reactions, so why not share them in the comments.

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Social, Digital and Mobile Worldwide

by Simon Kemp in News

Continuing our series of data snapshots for Social, Digital and Mobile usage worldwide, we’re pleased to share the latest numbers for the different regions around the world.

All indicators show significant growth since last year’s worldwide report, with mobile clearly the driving force for all aspects of our connected lives.

Internet
Internet penetration adds an extra 3 points year-on-year to reach exactly one third of the world’s population, posting growth of a quarter of a billion new users in the past 12 months.

Much of this growth has come from ‘developing’ nations, with Asia accounting for a significant proportion of the global growth.

Social Media
Social media usage is up by almost the same volume, registering an additional 240 million new users in 2012.

However, in markets like China, the biggest shift we’ve been tracking is a change in usage patterns between different platforms, rather than growth in the absolute number of users of social networks.

Facebook continues to dominate the worldwide picture with close to a billion monthly active users, but Chinese platforms take the remaining 4 of the top 5 slots.

Sina and Tencent’s weibo offerings are clearly the biggest success stories over the past year, growing both their registered and active user bases by hundreds of millions.

Google+ has also made big gains since last year, although its 235 million monthly active users don’t quite give it enough weight to achieve ‘Global Top 5′ status. However, with more than 500 million registered users, it’s clear that Google+ has plenty more potential, and is surely one to watch in 2013.

Twitter continues its stellar growth too, passing 200 million active users a couple of months ago. The West’s favourite microblogging platform also passed the half-billion registered users milestone last year, and its popularity shows little sign of slowing.

Vkontakte continues to play an important role in Central and Eastern Europe, with the latest figures suggesting the platform has amassed just shy of 200 million registered users.

Meanwhile, the new breed of ‘Instant Messenger Plus’ platforms like WeChat (Weixin), Line and KakaoTalk look set to change the global social media landscape over the next few months, with Tencent’s WeChat already surpassing 300 million registered users.

Mobile
The mobile growth story continues to impress, with more than half a billion new subscriptions activated around the world in 2012.

Mobile subscription penetration now exceeds 91% of the world’s population, and although like-for-like data are hard to come by, it seems mobile now reaches at least as many people around the world as television.

The Future
All indicators suggest continued growth throughout 2013 too, so the critical question marketers need to answer now is,

How are we going to integrate all of these opportunities into a consistent and engaging approach that builds real brand value?

The answers to that question will be central to our posts in the coming months here on the We Are Social blog.

Stay tuned…

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Social, Digital, Mobile in Bangladesh

by Simon Kemp in News

Bangladesh is one of Asia’s giants, with a population of more than 160 million.

This ranks the country 8th in the world in terms of population size, ahead of Russia, Japan and Mexico.

Goldman Sachs also includes Bangladesh in its ‘Next Eleven’ economies, indicating that the country has a high potential to be one of the world’s biggest economies in the coming years.

However, many Bangladeshis still live on less than US$2 per day, and UNICEF reports that 50% of the country’s population lives below the international poverty line.

Despite these economic challenges, however, use of online media continues the stellar growth that we highlighted in last year’s report.

Internet use in particular has jumped exponentially, and according to figures from Bangladesh’s Telecommunication Regulatory Commission, users now stand at nearly 30 million across the country.

Critically, 94% of these users access the internet via mobile devices, the vast majority of which are feature phones.

This puts internet penetration in Bangladesh at 18%; that’s a huge leap from last year’s reported figure of just 1% (although that figure did not include mobile internet users).

However, perhaps the most staggering finding in this report is the fact that this figure is lower than the number of people who have no access to any media whatsoever.

Findings from Nielsen (cited here) indicate that 32 million Bangladeshis still have absolutely no access to media – 10% more than those who have access to the internet.

Much of this relates to economics; many Bangladeshi families still can’t afford a television, and an hour’s internet access in an internet café in Bangladesh costs the equivalent of 70% of the average daily income, putting the web well beyond the means of most citizens.

Perhaps for this reason, social media use in Bangladesh remains relatively low too, currently standing at just 2% penetration.

However, Facebook is adding a new user in Bangladesh every 20 seconds, and it’s likely that initiatives from some of the country’s telcos offering ‘free’ access to Facebook will help to boost user numbers well beyond the current 3.3 million in the coming 12 months.

There’s an obvious business benefit to this approach for the telcos too; almost half of Facebook’s users in Bangladesh are aged in the lucrative 18-to-24 age group.

More importantly, mobile subscriptions in Bangladesh continue to grow at a staggering pace, with the total now exceeding 100 million.

This means that penetration already sits at 63%, but this looks set to pass two thirds of the population in just a few months, with the country’s operators registering more than 50,000 new subscriptions every single day in the first 6 months of 2012.

And with a new mobile subscription activated on average every 2 seconds in Bangladesh, the country should easily add another 10 million subscriptions to its tally before the middle of 2013.

With growth like that, we’ll be putting Bangladesh in our ‘Digital Next Eleven’ as well.

The sources for all the stats can be found at the bottom of each slide in the SlideShare deck above. You can download a high-res PDF of this report here.

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Social, Digital and Mobile in Laos

by Simon Kemp in News

Today’s #SDMW report investigates the social, digital and mobile ecosystem in Laos.

Laos is one of Asia’s poorer countries, with average income hovering just above US$3 per day.

Two thirds of the population lives in one of the Laos’s 9,119 rural villages, and more than one third of the population is below the age of 15.

Official figures indicate that internet penetration in Laos remains relatively low, at just 8% – almost 3½ times lower than the Asian average.

However, these figures are from late 2011, and we estimate that the real number of internet users in the country is now much higher than the 527,400 reported by the country’s Ministry of Post & Telecommunications last December.

Meanwhile, the latest figures from Facebook indicate that at least a quarter of a million people in Laos use social networks, accounting for around 4% of the total population.

Critically, the number of Facebook users in Laos has jumped 64% in the past 6 months, with approximately 581 Laotians signing up to the network every day – that’s a new user every 2½ minutes.

The number of mobile subscribers in the country has also shown impressive growth since our last report at the end of 2011, with well over 1.5 million new mobile subscriptions delivering a jump of 43%.

Mobile penetration now stands at 83% of the population, up from 60% in our last report, with nearly 5½ million subscribers nationwide.

However, use of 3G services in Laos remains low, with estimates indicating that penetration is still less than 0.5%.

3G use has grown by almost 100% in the past 12 months though, and the ITU expects penetration to reach almost 20% within the next 3 years.

This has particular significance for Laotians, as it will bring internet services within reach for a far greater proportion of the population.

Access to infrastructure has been one of the biggest barriers to increased use of digital media in the country: according to data from Laos’s Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, fixed line telephony services still reach less than 4% of the population, and fewer than 25,000 people had signed up for an internet service provider by March 2012.

Indeed, more than one third of internet activity in Laos originates from mobile devices, and with desktops and laptops still beyond the means of most of Laos’s citizens, mobile internet access holds the key to online growth.

The good news is that 3G services already reach 80% of Laos’s population, and the government has a plan in place to extend this still further over the coming months.

Moreover, 4G services are already available in Laos’s capital, Vientiane, making Laos only the second country in ASEAN to offer such services after Singapore.

We fully expect that access to these advanced mobile networks will deliver impressive growth in all areas of Laos’s online ecosystem during 2013.

All data sources are at the bottom of each slide. You can download a high-res PDF of the report here.

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