Here are all of the posts tagged ‘social networks’.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Very nicely timed with the announcement by CNN’s President that he’s more worried about social networks than FOX, the first video installment of a unique Facebook documentary called Goa Hippy Tribe has been released.
Goa Hippy Tribe is using Facebook in a number of ways: as subject matter (in particular the re-connection of the eponymous Goan Hippies via the social network); in part for research, production and content, and also as a platform for marketing and distribution.
Whilst the story behind the film itself highlights the role that networks such as Facebook play in creating new stories for documentary to cover, what’s really interesting is the way Facebook is being used to shape the content and format of the work.
The filmmaker, Darius Devas, has been interacting with the community of people who were part of the scene in Goa as he makes the film, not only shaping the way the film evolves, but building a community that is a part of the filmmaking process.
Interviews and other items of ‘micro-content’ have been posted over time, sparking conversations, building shared connections between the audience and involving everyone in the journey of the filmmaker and the film. There’s even a lively discussion on a separate Goa Hippy Tribe Group page considering the role of Facebook as an enabler, versus the inevitable privacy concerns when old photos and stories are made public.
This kind of collaboration would not previously have been possible, and it’s a particularly effective way of increasing the emotional involvement of the audience, who will be more likely to share links and recommend the film to their friends, especially as Facebook provides the means to easily do so.
All of this starts to change the way we think about broadcast. This project has an obvious community interested in the subject, but there are just as many niche audiences outside of hippies in Goa. As CNN’s President, Jonathan Klein puts it: “The people you’re friends with on Facebook or the people you follow on Twitter are trusted sources of information.” As these “trusted sources” – our friends – become our audience(s), and we involve them the narrative of our own status updates, the relevance and role of the one-way broadcast media comes into question.
Google launches real-time, social web search
You might have noticed that Google looks a bit different, since announcing last week a couple of very important developments in the area of real-time search.
Google search results now include breaking news headlines, live updates from popular social networks, and blog posts published just seconds before. And the move is fully supported by the ‘who’s who’ of social networking: Facebook, MySpace, FriendFeed, Jaiku, Identi.ca and Twitter.
Forrester: Traditional agencies can’t do digital
A new study from Forrester last week highlighted the complexity of the interactive marketing landscape and the challenges this poses for marketers, and to traditional agencies:
Forrester interviewed about 100 global interactive marketers for the study. Only 23% thought their “traditional brand agency” could effectively plan and manage interactive marketing activities. About 46% thought they couldn’t do it, and the rest didn’t have an opinion either way.
Forrester expects the digital agency space to fragment even more with clients working with specialist agenices in areas such as mobile and social media.
Habbo Hotel launches conversation tracking tool
Habbo Hotel, the virtual world for teens with around 14 million monthly unique visitors, has launched a conversation measurement tool for the site called ‘Habble’. This offers marketers a chance to understand what users are saying about their brands, slogans and key phrases over a defined period.
The tool has been developed to help brands advertising in the hotel and is used in conjunction with click-through rates, time spent and impressions. Brands not advertising within the virtual world can also use Habble to understand what type of conversations are taking place about them.
Germany’s StudiVZ adds support for 3rd party apps
Two and a half years after Facebook, its German clone StudiVZ follows the US social network’s most successful move by adding support for third-party applications.
Nine apps are available as of today and several hundreds are in development.
What sets this development apart is the emphasis that is being placed on privacy. Germany has some of the toughest online privacy laws in the world and CEO Markus Berger-de León has applied tight security policies to third-party apps “to avoid the type of scams that TechCrunch recently dug up on Facebook and MySpace.”
It’s time for We Are Social’s Monday Mashup, our pick of some of the web’s finest research, news and case studies.
CMOs: Consumers Are Connected. You Need To Be, Too
The prolific Jeremiah Owyang penned this article for Forbes magazine, as a guide for CMOs who are currently putting the finishing touches on their 2010 marketing strategies. Though most CMOs now recognise the need to put more resources behind social media, many more need some suggestions about how they might develop a solid strategy. As such, Jeremiah assembled his thoughts under the following headings:
- Social marketing affects all digital marketing channels
- Customers don’t care what department you’re in
- Technology is cheap, yet soft costs are high
- Develop a pragmatic approach
- Social marketing affects the whole organisation
Losing To The Social Web: Visualized
If you like visuals, then read on. This post from Unmissable blog looks at the decline of the ‘destination web’ (a topic we’ve covered here in the past) and suggests that the sun is setting on branded websites and microsites as social media swallows up a greater proportion of traffic on the web.
Unmissable has assembled graphs for some of the biggest brands on the web – Dell, Adidas, BMW, Quicksilver, Sony – and what you’ll immediately notice is “ websites and portals have been loosing unique visitors hand over fist for the last 3 years.”
This stands in sharp contrast to the graphs assembled for social networks, which show traffic rising ever higher over the same period.
Off-site content distribution like RSS, and the fact that social networks have become far more relevant to consumers are cited as the main reasons branded websites are suffering. The lesson here is that agencies and brands need to work out how better connect with customers online, and deliver relevant content and experiences where they are spending a growing proportion of their time online: in social media.
Measuring Engagement of the Social Web: ‘07-’09
An interesting post from the Postrank blog, which looked at various measures of ‘engagement’ since 2007 and identified a few trends worth paying attention to for content publishers. In sum:
- In absolute terms, more people are participating in the social web
- Conversations and discussions about the content are increasingly happening off the publisher’s property, fuelled by the growth of the “share and like this phenomenon which is sweeping through Facebook, Twitter and dozens of other social hubs”
- The widespread adoption of more pervasive communication tools like Facebook and Twitter is actually increasing the lifespan of a typical story, with engagement taking place over a longer period of time as the story gets passed around more widely
Twitter to launch paid-for corporate accounts this year
It been rumoured for some time and is perhaps one of the few ways in which Twitter could derive revenue, but at last Twitter has confirmed they are planning to launch ‘paid-for commercial accounts’, according to founder Biz Stone. Don’t panic though. What this actually means for brands and agencies who help them online is that Twitter will remain free for corporate and personal users, but would now offer companies additional paid-for services to help manage and analyse conversations online.
Bloggers strike back at Buscombe
Last week it was reported that Peta Buscombe, the chairman of the Press Complaints Commission, had ambitions to regulate bloggers. As one might imagine, it was not well received. Sunny Hundal, one-time winner of The Guardian’s blogger of the year award, has set out in detail why such regulation would be wholly incompatible with blogging practice. Read the letter in full.
Social networking sites criticised for failing to protect children
The head of a government body responsible for keeping children safe has criticised social networking sites for not doing enough to protect youngsters.
Whereas Bebo has recently introduced a “Ceop report” button for users to log abuse, no such mechanism currently exists on Facebook or Myspace. Here’s to hoping social networking sites follow Bebo’s lead in order to make the web a safer place for young people.
Other notable stories: