We’re already helping Optus, eBay, Kia Automotive, Nivea, Expedia, Sony, Roadshow Films, Seven Network, Open Universities Australia & Adidas.
BuzzFeed launches in Australia
BuzzFeed’s Australian site launched this week, with Andy Wiedlen, global chief revenue officer, expecting a “snarky” local audience. Wiedlen is urging advertisers to try a more social style of advertising, saying “Our view is the internet is awesome, it allows people to find cool stuff to share, so why don’t advertisers do the same thing? That’s where we’re focused.”
Using a negative ad for Pampas as an example, Wiedlen said new parents will find “all those cute babies and be compelled to share them with their fellow breeders,” but not all of BuzzFeed’s advertisers get it: “Someone like Dell comes along with a 30-page white paper that they want to go viral.”
Facebook focuses on TV analytics
Facebook this week announced a new partnership with social TV analytics specialist SecondSync, intending to help marketers understand how people are using the social network to discuss topics such as TV.
One of the challenges Facebook faces is sharing the volumes of chatter it’s users generate without violating their privacy – a challenge they aim to solve with the new partnership. The solution enables analysis of total discussion levels, using aggregated and anonymised data to protect user privacy. The first output from the partnership will be a whitepaper titled “Watching with Friends,” showing how different types of people use Facebook to talk about TV across a range of programs in the US, UK and Australia.
Social media drives record revenue per visit for retailers
Adobe has released its Q4 2013 Social Media Intelligence Report analysing paid, earned and owned social media trends. The report shows Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr drove an exceptional amount of qualified traffic to retail sites in Q4, with revenue per visit (RPV) increasing across social channels. In 2013 Tumblr generated a 340% increase in RPV year on year, and Pinterest overtook Facebook in terms of RPV in the UK, and it’s anticipated do the same in the US in 2014.
Social engagement with brand posts on Facebook rose 180% and brand post impressions are up 150% year on year. Unsurprisingly, posts with images produced a 650% higher engagement rate than regular text posts, while posts with links, text or video returned less engagement.
Facebook revenues leap 63% in Q4, driven by solid mobile ad business
Nearing it’s ten year anniversary this week, Facebook has posted record revenues of $2.59bn for the three months to 31 December, up 63% on 2012, with a 76% increase in advertising for the same quarter. Facebook said mobile advertising revenue accounted for 53% of ad revenue for the quarter, up 23% year on year.
The social network hit 1.23 billion monthly active users and has more than 556 million mobile daily active users. However Facebook refrained from commenting on the declining use of the platform amongst US teenagers.
Facebook announces ‘Paper’, a curated visual news reader
Facebook has launched a new standalone iPhone app called Paper; the first app out of Facebook Creative Labs, an initiative to let small teams within Facebook build standalone mobile experiences as if they were start-ups. Paper takes the standard Facebook News Feed and refashions it as an immersive, horizontally scrolling set of screens, looking similar to Flipboard. The app has many features, including delivering articles and photos into specific categories that have been selected by the user. It also provides a new way to post to Facebook with an editor system, and interestingly, for the time being it’s ad-free.
Improved ways for direct response marketers to reach Facebook audiences
Over the next few weeks, Facebook will be launching features designed to provide direct response marketers with wider solutions to reach people across devices and encourage them to take action, on both desktop and mobile. With Custom Audiences, businesses will be able to more easily deliver targeted messages to people who have visited their website or mobile app, and certain News Feed ads will feature improved call to action buttons, such as: Shop Now, Learn More, Sign Up, Book Now or Download. These new features will be available from Power Editor, Ads Manager, through PMDs and via the API.
Facebook to allow page admins to comment on public reviews
One of the main ways a Facebook user can leave feedback for a brand, restaurant, or any other business, is through the reviews. Facebook uses a 1-5 star scale and review system; such as on sites like Yelp. Facebook is now rolling out the ability for page admins to respond to these reviews as the page, rather than having to use their personal profile. This will benefit place-based pages and businesses on Facebook and help them to rapidly respond to negative reviews, as well as reward or thank users for positive reviews, encouraging more customers to rate the page.
Twitter bubbles trending events to the top of the timeline
Twitter has just released an update to Android that brings new photo editing tools to the service, in the hope to make it easier to share photos direct. In a second update, trending events or recommended tweets will be grouped to the top of the users’ timeline, adding a substantial element of real-time trend monitoring to the user experience. This is certainly interesting, as it marks a significant attempt by Twitter to interfere with the defining and chronological nature of its service. However, this feature only happens when there is no other new content for a user to view – a wise move by Twitter to keep them Number One on the leader board as the providers of live, real-time information.
Pinterest gets more Interest-ing
Pinterest has introduced a new way for its audience to discover engaging content; Interests. This tool exposes Pinners to customised recommendations based on their existing pins. By providing a more facilitating and enriching experience, more tailored to each individual, Pinterest hopes to retain its users and enhance the user journey.
The world just got a little smaller with the help of Linkedin
Some say “It’s who you know” that gets you further in the professional world, and LinkedIn seems to agree as they roll out their “How You’re Connected” tool across LinkedIn profiles. The new addition assists users in finding that key figure who will advance their career by not only showing “who” in their network knows the said individual on their profile, but also “how” they know each other.
Marc Jacobs opens pop-up shop where tweets are social currency
Marc Jacobs plans to open a pop-up shop during New York Fashion Week where tweets with take the place of dollars as currency. All transactions at the shop will be carried out based on customers’ use of the hashtag #MJDaisyChain across various social media channels. With features such as a lounge, food, drinks, Wi-Fi and a photo booth, the shop has certainly been designed to be social media-friendly. There will be social competitions across Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, with giveaways throughout the day.
Brands Battle it out at the Super Bowl
The competitive spirit at this years’ Super Bowl wasn’t just from the players on the pitch, but from brands on social media. As brands desperately tried to hit their “Oreo Moment” though real-time marketing, only a few were worthy of praise. Starting with Oreo themselves:
Hey guys…enjoy the game tonight. We’re going dark. #OreoOut
— Oreo Cookie (@Oreo) February 2, 2014
Take DiGiorno Pizza, who maintained a steady level of banter until the third quarter when the game spun out of control and it seized the opportunity to touch down with some very funny tweets.
— DiGiorno Pizza (@DiGiornoPizza) February 3, 2014
JC Penney ended up dominating the brand conversation after a few, seemingly drunken and illegible tweets. They consequently received comical replies from other brands such as Doritos and Kia.
Toughdown Seadawks!! Is sSeattle going toa runaway wit h this???
— JCPenney (@jcpenney) February 3, 2014
— Doritos (@Doritos) February 3, 2014
Hey @jcpenney need a designated driver?
— Kia Motors America (@Kia) February 3, 2014
As it turns out, it was all a clever and purposeful misspelling as part of their #TweetingWithMittens stunt, which stole the show as the best social media moment of the evening.
— JCPenney (@jcpenney) February 3, 2014
Toyota takes to the road with social mobile app
Toyota is launching a social mobile app to help curate drivers’ road trips with maps, photos and location tags to put the brand at the heart of driving experiences. It lets users store route maps and geo-location tools allow photos to be tagged and stored along the way and shared with friends. Roadtrip can also record where travellers stopped along the way and the landmarks they come across, even when the trip is out of mobile data range, as well as recommending trips and route from other users.
WhatsApp users double in less than a year
Private messaging’s popularity does not cease as WhatsApp reports an increase of over 200 million users since April 2013, now standing at 430 million active users as of January 2014. A staggering 50 billion messages are sent and received on the app per day.
China’s Weibo users decline while WeChat rises
The future of China’s Weibo platforms does not look promising as they have lost 27.8 million users over the past year following the Chinese government’s latest internet crackdown campaign against online rumours. However, as China’s most popular social platforms experience this dramatic fall, the number of users on instant messaging apps such as WeChat has grown by 64.4 million users in 2013 while the total number of mobile Internet users reached 500 million.
The ongoing saga of organic reach on Facebook
Facebook threw another curve-ball this week when it revealed its latest alterations to the newsfeed. They will now show fewer text status updates from Pages, as the latest testing has shown that people are more likely to post on Facebook when they are exposed to plain text status updates from their friends rather than Pages. Facebook have been vague about what brands should do as a result, but they have recommended that when posting links, brands should use ‘link-shares’, as in this example:
Facebook is testing a mobile ad network
Rather than being content to just display ads to it’s own users, Facebook is testing showing ads to users of third party apps. Unlike previous tests, Facebook is working directly with a limited number of advertisers on its own mobile ad network rather than outside ad-serving platforms to display “sponsored content outside of its own properties”.
Watch your b-to-b-back, Linkedin
Facebook is making room for job and b-to-b marketing as it plans to allow advertisers to start targeting users based on their employment details this March. This is expected to appeal to recruiters, placing Facebook in direct competition with Linkedin.
Twitter lends a hand to brands and publishers
Twitter has revealed a shiny new dashboard called analytics for Twitter Cards that will allow brands and publishers to monitor how media-filled tweets perform. This dashboard will then provide companies with personalised tips to help them make more strategic decisions. These new set of tools are already being used by the likes of BuzzFeed, NBC News and ESPN.
Ajax helps you wipe away annoying social trolls
Scouring brand Ajax have develop a new social utility tool, ‘Social Wipes’, allowing you wipe your social slate clean. For Facebook, the tool allows you to unlike pages you’ve liked over the years. For Twitter, it scans all of your followers and people you follow for potential spam bots. Only a week old, Ajax has already helped clean up more than 200,000 page likes on Facebook and nearly 20,000 Twitter spam bots from social feeds. Oddly enough, the brand does not maintain a social presence on either social network.
JBL turns tour tweets into music
JBL has created a digital experience which transforms user tweets into a custom track generated by JBL’s Tweet Music algorithm, converting every letter, number and character into a loop of music. The popularity of the campaign is evident: in just one week of the promotion, JBL received 2,600 mentions using the @JBLaudio handle, compared to it’s typical average of 360. They have also accumulated 3,100 new followers with nearly 1,200 songs created so far. The opportunity to win an all-expenses-paid trip to the 2015 Grammy Awards is no doubt having a positive impact.
Thinking of buying a DLSR? Not after this campaign…
This week We Are Social launched the “why DSLR?” campaign for Panasonic, with a series of videos featuring a bodybuilder, an owl and a duel-style shoot-out between two cameras to promote its mirrorless Lumix cameras. We Are Social will also monitor social conversations surrounding DSLR cameras found on internet forums and across social platforms and will respond to questions about DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. Sarah Oliver, Account Director at We Are Social said:
Whichever stage of the purchase journey people are at – researching DSLRs on forums or searching to buy a DSLR on Google, this campaign will surface considerable and credible expert opinion with the power to change their decision.
OnePiece unveils #HackTheSale social campaign
The Norwegian clothing company OnePiece, is inviting customers to share its #HackTheSale campaign on Facebook and Twitter, to communally drive down the price of a onesie jumpsuit. Every time a customer uses the #HackTheSale app to share the campaign on either of the social networks, the price of a Lusekofte Onesie, which starts at £139, will go down.
Microsoft faces a fumble with the FTC
Microsoft didn’t know what they were in for when they signed a content deal with YouTube network Machinima. Machinima recruited YouTube creators to make videos about the Xbox One, however these console enthusiasts didn’t disclose that they were paid to promote the product. As a result, Microsoft has unintentionally disobeyed the FTC’s endorsement disclosure guidelines, which may result in intervention.
Brands’ Grammy Tweet Attempts…
The awards season is truly upon us, beginning with a bang over the weekend with the Grammys. And, of course, that can only mean one thing; social media triumphs and disasters. Antiperspirant brands a plenty tried desperately to jump onto the Grammy conversation, but armpit puns and poor jokes fell on deaf ears. Others, such as Pizza Hut and Fitbit, tried to brazenly join in the conversations, with various jokes, ‘tips’, but alas, failed to win the hearts – or the RT’s – of the Grammy viewers.
However, some brands were right on the money. Pharrell Williams was trending on Twitter that evening, due to his questionable headgear at the awards. Restaurant chain Arby’s, whose logo looks a bit like Pharrell’s hat, was quick off the bat to tweet him just that. The tweet received over 70,000 RT’s, demonstrating the power of social if your timing is right, coupled with a genius comment.
#BBCtrending: ‘Go home train, you’re drunk’
A tweet containing a peculiar picture of a train being transported through a town in Wales has been retweeted more than 2,200 times. The tweet was sent by We Are Social’s very own, Chris Applegate, along with the line “Go home train, you’re drunk”. In addition to being retweeted by the likes of DJs Rob da Bank, Sara Cox and Jameela Jamil, the tweet has been ‘favourited’ more than 1,000 times. Chris shared his secret of triggering a Twitter mini trend with the BBC, declaring it’s down to a combination of three factors; the picture itself, the line, and the timing.
Go home train, you’re drunk pic.twitter.com/paEViGrn7u
— Chris Applegate (@qwghlm) January 17, 2014
Pinterest is giving the GIF a go
Pinterest is experimenting with a new feature that allows pinners to pin and play animated GIFs within the platform. Instead of uploaded GIFs appearing as still images, they will contain a “play” button so users can pause and play them with ease. The new product can also recognise pre-existing GIFs on Pinterest and convert them into playable media. Pinterest GIFs are currently being tested by the company and are not yet available to all users.
Facebook ads influence car shoppers mid-funnel
Facebook have shared a study that found automotive ads on the social network cause a 50% increase in visits to car-model pages, 46% increase to all product pages, and a 10% increase in internet-wide searches, indicating paid promotion heightens the average time spent looking at specific vehicles. It also suggests auto brand rivals suffer when Facebook advertisements are implemented, seeing competitor brand searches across the internet drop by 3%.
Facebook ‘Trending’ has arrived
Facebook has announced the imminent roll-out of its new Trending feature on its web version to users across the USA, UK, Canada, India and Australia. The trending topics will be identified by an algorithm, “highlighting topics that have had a sharp increase in popularity, as opposed to overall volume”. Descriptions accompanying each trend will add to the more personal touch Facebook has aimed to achieve. As it stands no plans have yet been announced to sell sponsored trends, however this could be a source of revenue for Facebook further down the line.
Keep.com: a shoppable version of Instagram
E-commerce startup Keep is helping fashion-forward users to essentially “Shop Instagram”. Having compiled a list of the most fashionable Instagrammers, Keep pulls trendy photos from these popular accounts that feature everything from handbags to shoes, and uploads these items onto their website where customers can browse and purchase online. Just like Pinterest, the social site allows users to “keep” (i.e. save) desirable items to their profile and discover where to buy the item using the link included in a post.
Facebook could be set to launch news reading app this month
Re/code is reporting that Facebook is planning a news reading mobile app, Paper. The new offering is likened to Flipboard and is said to include rich media content alongside status updates from Facebook users, and is reportedly set to launch later this month.
Twitter develops tailored audience offering for ads
Twitter has released three new ways for advertisers to create tailored audiences to target its ad products against, enabling them to define groups of existing and potential customers. The CRM approach creates tailored audiences from an internal CRM database or an ad partners database, with “unreadable scrambles (called hashes) of email addresses” matched to Twitter accounts.
The Twitter ID approach uses usernames or user IDs to create a tailored audience. This approach could be used to target influencers with a large following, and build relationships with them, in the hope they’ll spread the brands message.
The third, exclusion targeting, will enable advertisers to exclude CRM and Twitter ID audiences from the set of Twitter users reached. Using Twitter targeting options (interests, keywords and TV) users already following or engaging with a brand, or users who won’t be interested can be excluded from a campaign.
@ mentions have arrived on Tumblr
Tumblr has graduated from blog network to social network in recent times. With the addition of the long-awaited user mentions feature, it is now possible to tag friends in Tumblr’s compose screen using an @ symbol.
Comedy Central’s @Midnight is winning at social TV
“Comedians are often the first and most prolific on social platforms”, so creating a show around social media was easy according to Comedy Central, and thus late-night gameshow ‘@midnight’ has arrived on screens. The first of it’s kind, it consists of comedians competing for the best one-liners about different social media topics.
BBC News launches Instafax
The BBC is currently trialing a short-form video news service delivered to Instagram users, named Instafax. December saw mobile and tablet viewing figures overtake desktop use for the first time, and Instafax is the BBC’s response to this news.
Acura uses Twitter preview, to preview stop-motion project
Honda brand, Acura, took to Twitter to promote Jerry Seinfeld’s Web series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, in which the Acura NSX prototype featured. They tweeted single frames from a stop-motion gif, each displaying in Twitter’s timeline image preview with the result of a visual flip book as you scroll down the page. Twitter users got involved during the show using #NSXCoffeeRun, and 150 fans were rewarded with a @tweetacoffee Starbucks gift card.
Subway go mad for gifs this January
Sandwich brand Subway are tempting those dieting this January by launching 73, soon to be 100 animated gifs with the hashtag #januANY for a mini-campaign across Facebook and Twitter, using both paid and organic messages. The idea is that consumers will rapidly share these unusual animations with their friends and family via social media channels.
You could #BeeFamous with Applebee’s
American food chain Applebee’s has two TV spots to fill to promote their more diet-friendly ‘Under 550 Calories’ menu, and for your shot at six seconds of fame you simply have to capture your ‘unbelievable’ reaction to the special menu items with a vine and share it on Twitter using #BeeFamous. If you’re successful you’ll be sent to bee-famous.com to await further instruction. This method has been tried and tested previously , most notably by Dunkin Donuts during ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” pregame show featuring animated content posted to Vine from the brand. Submissions will be accepted until January 26th.
— Colt Paulsen (@ColtPaulsen) January 19, 2014
Real fans could be #FlyingToMadrid
Emirates and Real Madrid launched their ‘Fans For Real’ campaign on Google+, giving their biggest fans the chance to win flights to Madrid and watch the team in action. To get involved users must +1 Emirates and Real Madrid’s Google+ pages, upload and share content using #FansForReal and #FlyToMadrid. The campaign launched with the below video depicting what the winners experience could be.
The Mindy Project is matching on Tinder
American TV series, The Mindy Project has broken new territory with Tinder. The show announced in November that there would be a Tinder-themed episode in the new year, and to co-inside with this the show has been advertising on the app, matching users with fake character profiles.
Vlogger takes over brand Snapchat account
WetSeal, a teen retailer is one of the latest brands to turn its hand to Snapchat marketing. They partnered with influencer and vlogger Meghan Hughes who manned their account for two days in the lead up to Christmas, creating a Snapchat story. Meghans story was “stitched together from multiple snaps and broadcasted to a larger audience”, and remained visible for 24hrs, making it possible to replay it as often as someone liked. The results speak for themselves, WetSeal gained 9,000 new followers and 6,000 views of the story for WetSeal, and vlogger Meghan was able to interact with her fans and followers in a whole new way.
Brands are joining Jelly
The new and much talked about social query app, Jelly from Twitter co-founder Biz Stone has been live for two weeks and already brands are trying their hand at it. In the UK Carphone Warehouse, Nandos and Asda have begun to experiment with the app, with varying levels of success. And in the US Whole Foods, Lowes, Shutterstock and Ben & Jerry’s are also dabbling in asking fun, interesting and thought provoking questions. For some though, brands’ use of the app is ruining the user experience.
Following on from We Are Social‘s hugely popular Social, Digital and Mobile Worldwide in 2014 report from last week, we’re very pleased to share an even more detailed look at the online landscape around the Asia-Pacific region.
It also turns out that a week can make a big difference when it comes to online data; in the past 7 days, and with the help of some of the 200,000 people who’ve viewed our Global report, we’ve found some even fresher stats to the ones we published in last week’s report.
These new discoveries have had a particular impact on India’s stats, where figures for internet users have changed from 151 million to 213 million. Internet figures for Indonesia have also almost doubled, to 72.7 million.
These changes have had a significant impact on the regional and global totals too, so we’ll begin with a refreshed look at the stats from the very top.
The Global Picture
Following revisions to a number of countries, the number of worldwide internet users now exceeds 2.64 billion, representing global penetration of 37%:
Following our report last week, we also received a number of queries regarding the difference between mobile subscriptions and actual mobile users, so we’re delighted to be able include a new chart comparing the two in this report.
We’ve teamed up with the wonderful team at GSMA Intelligence for this, and they’ve been kind enough to let us share this valuable data for every country in APAC. You’ll find the individual country and sub-region data in the full report , but here’s the APAC picture:
In order to understand the context in which people use mobile devices, it’s also important to understand how people pay for their subscriptions (contracts), and whether they have access to potentially faster mobile data connections.
The chart below offers more detail on both these areas, detailing how many people have pre- vs post-paid contracts, and using 3G as a proxy for the likelihood people could access faster internet if they chose to take out a relevant mobile data plan:
Asia-Pacific In Context
APAC is home to almost 3.9 billion people, accounting for just under 55% of the total world population. The region hosts just under half the world’s Internet users, and 52.2% of the world’s active social media users:
click to enlarge
Although internet user data for a number of countries around the region hasn’t been updated as recently as we’d hoped, APAC has still shown impressive growth in recent months, with Asian countries alone adding more than 150 million new users since our previous report in October 2012 – many of which were in India and Indonesia:
However, internet access is still far from a universal reality around APAC, and penetration rates in some countries remain surprisingly low:
It’s interesting to see how the average number of hours spent on the internet varies around the region too, both in terms of desktop / laptop access, as well as the time spent on the mobile web:
It’s important to note that the figures in the chart above are based on claimed time spent on the internet, rather than on actual traffic. This has two important consequences:
- The data will, in part, reveal the story that people choose to tell about their internet use, rather than the exact number of minutes they spend connected
- However, in a similar way, this ‘claimed’ data helps to avoid over-counting internet usage when someone is connected to the internet, but not actually making use of it (e.g. the browser is open in the background while someone works on another, non-internet related application).
- There may also be some variations across cultures in what people consider ‘internet’ access. For example, someone who streams music through a service like Spotify for the whole day may not consider this ‘time spent on the internet’, even if we could argue the opposite is also true.
2013 was an impressive year of growth across almost every aspect of the social media world in APAC, with chat apps in particular seeing stunning growth thanks to platforms like WeChat, LINE, and Kakaotalk.
We’ve chose to focus on social networks for this report’s data though, as they continue to offer the greater opportunity for marketers.
User figures and penetration rates for social networks still vary hugely around the region, but the overall trend is definitely upwards (note that MAU stands for Monthly Active Users):
It’s worth highlighting that the figures for social media penetration often exceed those for internet penetration, especially in fast-evolving markets. There may be a number of reasons for this:
- Social media stats are almost always more up to date than those for internet usage, largely because they are collected by a commercial entity on an on-going basis and published at least quarterly to help with advertising sales. In Facebook’s case, the monthly active user figures are available in almost real-time.
- Many reports on internet usage and penetration omit mobile internet usage, meaning many mobile-only users aren’t included in the figures (partly because they’re more difficult to identify). In many emerging markets – particularly places like Indonesia or Myanmar – mobile-only use can account for a significant proportion of internet use. People accessing social media through mobile devices will be counted, however, meaning social media numbers are often a more accurate indication of actual internet use and penetration in these markets.
- On the other hand, some people may have multiple social media accounts on the same platform, leading to a slight skew in the data, although we don’t anticipate this is the main cause for the difference between internet and social media usage numbers.
We’ve also changed the way we report user numbers in this year’s report compared to our previous report in 2012, and we now only report monthly active user numbers (MAUs) for any given platform. This ensures a more reliable and actionable data set, and ensures organisations using the data have the most up-to-date picture of people’s preferences and behaviour throughout the region.
Facebook’s MAUs continued to grow across the region over the past year, adding 54 million by January 2014 in Asian countries alone (excluding countries in Oceania like Australia and New Zealand).
China’s Qzone added 25 million MAUs too, meaning that overall growth around the region is somewhere in the region of 80 million new active users – almost 10% growth year-on-year.
We opted not to include chat apps like WeChat, WhatsApp, LINE and Kakaotalk in this year’s analysis for a couple of reasons:
- The way that people use these platforms remains largely one-to-one, so they offer less of an obvious mass engagement channel for brands compared to platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Weibo (although we recongise that this is changing, especially with tweaks to WeChat’s platform);
- The companies who operate these platforms tend not to publish monthly active user figures, and where they do, they aren’t broken down by country, making it very difficult for us to attribute usage by country.
However, for handy reference, the global user figures for each of the region’s largest chat apps are as follows:
- WhatsApp: 400 million monthly active users worldwide
- WeChat (Weixin): 270 million monthly active users worldwide
- LINE: 300 million total registered users worldwide
- Kakaotalk: 130 million total registered users worldwide
We’re pleased to offer time spent on social media for many of the region’s larger economies too, thanks to some great data from GlobalWebIndex’s Active Usage: Time Spent study, which they’ve kindly allowed us to share. You can find out more about this study here.
As with the time spent on the internet chart above, this data is based on claimed usage rather than actual traffic information. This again means that data may be coloured by the story people wish to tell about themselves, but at the same time, it also helps to avoid over-counting time where people have social media open in the background.
Based on our qualitative research, many people keep social networks open throughout the day in a distinct browser tab or tool like Tweetdeck, but do not necessarily spend all that time actively engaging with the platform itself, so the data above should be used in conjunction with traffic-based numbers (where available) to paint a multi-dimensional picture of people’s behaviour.
It’s interesting to explore the above chart in the context of the societal norms of each country too; it appears that the time spent on social media is determined as much by a nation’s culture as it is by the speed or ease of internet access. In many countries where fast internet access is still a luxury, people still spend many hours engaging with social media, highlighting once again that social media are playing a huge part in the growth and evolution of the online landscape in APAC.
However, to enrich this story, it’s worth looking at the infrastructural elements too. Mobile devices play a huge role in Asia’s social media scene, so we’ve added an extra data set to this report to illustrate mobile social access in more detail:
The number of mobile subscriptions in APAC continue to grow steadily in the past 15 months, with Asian countries alone adding more than 200 million new subscriptions since our previous report in October 2012.
Although it’s likely that some of these new subscriptions constitute second subscriptions (e.g. an additional contract for work or personal use), the importance of mobile devices even in the region’s less developed nations highlights the critical role mobile plays in people’s daily lives in APAC.
While it can be tricky to identify the exact number of people accessing the internet through mobile devices, we have identified reliable data for two important indicators that offer valuable insights: mobile broadband subscriptions, and people accessing social media through mobile devices:
It’s particularly interesting to note that the proportion of the population accessing social media through a mobile device is much higher than the penetration of mobile broadband, suggesting that many people continue to access social media through slower mobile connections.
You’ll find this data broken down for each country around the region in the full report.
The Individual Country Story
We’re delighted to announce that we now have social media and mobile data for every Asian country, as well as 4 key nations in Oceania.
Major additions to this year’s report are North Korea and Myanmar, and although the numbers aren’t likely to challenge China’s position as the dominant digital player in the region, it’s very exciting to see how online media are helping to open up some of the world’s most secretive nations.
In particular, Myanmar – or Burma, if you prefer – has surprised us with the sheer speed of growth, particularly when it comes to social media. From a country where Facebook was technically blocked barely 12 months ago, this Southeast Asian country now boasts well over 1 million Facebook users, and is still growing at an impressive rate:
Despite these impressive numbers though, this still represents a social media penetration of just 2% in Myanmar, so there’s clearly plenty more potential for growth as the country continues its journey towards a fully open approach to the internet.
Even mobile subscriptions struggle to reach double-digit penetration, while the internet – albeit based mostly on fixed-line figures – languishes at just 1%.
However, 2014 looks like a promising year for Myanmar’s online landscape, and we’re looking forward to plenty more good news from them in the months to come.
The story in North Korea remains less clear; with the internet still officially blocked in the world’s most reclusive nation, it’s difficult to get a clear picture of what’s going on. However, Facebook themselves state that they now have 8,200 users within the North Asian state, 4,600 of whom access through mobile devices:
It’s unclear how many of these users are actually North Korean citizens though, and we suspect that a significant proportion may be foreign nationals based in the country.
However, the fact that it is even possible for these people to access Facebook from within North Korea represents a step forward compared to the situation this time last year, so we’ll take that as a glimmer of hope for 2014.
We’ve also included data for Timor-Leste, which, although still small in absolute numbers, represents another reason for optimism, given the young country’s recent history.
East Timor’s social media population in particular is growing steadily, with 6% of the population – or 76,000 people – using Facebook at least once in the past month:
As with many emerging economies, the numbers for internet usage in Timor-Leste are far lower than those for social media, mainly because it’s harder to measure the exact number of people accessing the internet.
Many people still access from shared devices in internet cafés or in places of work, and data is often collected by surveys that have taken quite some time to gather, analyse and publish.
Social media figures such as those made available by Facebook are almost real-time though, offering a more up-to-date and accurate picture of the online landscape within these fast-evolving digital ecosystems.
Excitingly, mobile phone subscriptions have already surpassed 50% penetration in Timor-Leste too, meaning many more people now have the opportunity to connect to the internet as soon as affordable mobile data plans become available.
Alongside figures for Australia and New Zealand, we’re also pleased to present some initial figures for Fiji and Papua New Guinea. Both nations play an important role in understanding the broader picture across Pacific nations, and the stories their data snapshots tell reveal some interesting insights:
Fiji already demonstrates relatively strong internet and social media penetration figures, surpassing the regional average in both areas.
Meanwhile, Papua New Guinea still has plenty of potential for growth, with barely 4% of the population using Facebook in the past month. However, with mobile subscription penetration of 42%, it’s clear that Papuans have an increasing digital opportunity, and we’re confident these figures will all grow considerably during 2014.
We’re also pleased to share statistics on mobile social behaviour for all 30 countries in this study, ensuring marketers have a solid understanding of the opportunities to engage their audiences in a variety of settings and contexts – here are some example stats for Indonesia:
As mobile increasingly becomes our predominant means of accessing online services and content, it’s likely that Asia-Pacific will continue to lead the world in defining the future of the online landscape.
The India Changes
Finally, given the major changes in internet user numbers since last week’s report, here’s how the individual country situation looks today:
So there you have it – another week, another bumper collection of stats. Do get in touch if you’d like some help making sense of these numbers, or turning them into part of an actionable strategy.
Be sure to check back to our blog for more updates in the coming weeks too – given how quickly the data seems to be changing, it’s clear 2014 is going to be another vintage year for online growth. We’re already looking forward to next year’s APAC report!
Sources for all the above data are listed in the full report. We’d especially like to thank Tom Smith at GlobalWebIndex and Matt Ablott from GSMA Intelligence for their help in providing data for these reports, and for allowing us to publish their valuable data.
Welcome to this week’s round-up of social media news from around the globe!
Mobile internet usage is massive in Western Europe
According to eMarketer research, nearly half of all Western European mobile users will access mobile internet at least once a month in 2014. That figure is up from 40.0% in 2013, expected to rise to 66.0% by 2017. Scandinavia looks set to lead the way in 2014, with Norway’s figure of 63.5% in first place, followed by Denmark and Sweden.
Organic Facebook reach dropped throughout December
Analysis of the 28 day period either side of the 2nd December by EdgeRank Checker has shown that Facebook’s organic reach dropped considerably in that period. On average, organic reach dropped from 10.15% in the earlier period to 7.83% afterwards, with statuses and videos most affected, as shown by this graph:
As Facebook may well have hoped, in a separate study by Locowise, the use of paid post promotion on the platform increased throughout December. An examination of 1,000 pages found that 25% more of them were using ads in December than previously and, in 53% of the cases where organic reach had increased, promotion had also been used.
Facebook leads for social logins
Facebook remained the leader for social logins in Q4 2014 according to Janrain, with 45% of all social logins throughout the web. Google+ is not hugely far behind, with 35%, while Yahoo and Twitter follow, both on 6%.
Facebook scraps Sponsored Stories
Facebook has announced a change to its current advertising format: the network is axing Sponsored Stories. These ads, which suggest pages that a user might like based on their friends’ interactions with that page, have been controversial in the past, including a law suit accusing Facebook of misappropriating users’ likes and comments without consent. However, they’ve also been fairly successful, and are currently Facebook’s ‘simplest’ ad format, allowing first-time marketers an easy way onto the platform. You can find out more about the move in our own blog post on the subject.
Facebook acquires link-sharing Branch
Facebook has acquired link-sharing service, Branch, for a figure believed to be around $15 million. The web-based service seems to make sense as a purchase, given Facebook’s recent interest in developing the importance of news stories on the network. To quote Branch’s CEO, Josh Miller:
We will be forming Facebook’s Conversations group, based in New York City, with the goal of helping people connect with others around their interests.
The acquisition also includes Branch’s latest app, Potluck for iPhone, which offers users small pieces of news, which they can discuss with friends in-app, as shown below.
Updates to ads on Tumblr
Yahoo has announced some changes to advertising on Tumblr, the platform it acquired last May. Sponsored Posts, now be known as ‘Sponsored Posts Powered by Yahoo Advertising’, can now be targeted based on gender or geolocation, and advertisers will only pay when their adverts cause some sort of action, whether that be a reblog, follow or like.
Twitter launch Amplify in Australia
Twitter has now launched Amplify in the Australian market. The first brands to take part in the program here in Australia are L’Oreal and Samsung. Amplify is a way for brands to bring together social media and TV, whereby a broadcaster such as network Ten publish video and audio content onto the Twitter platform, with the content being sponsored by an advertiser. Channel Ten and Samsung will be working together, using Amplify, during the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Russia.
Use Gmail to message Google+ contacts
Google has updated its email service, Gmail, to allow users to email their Google+ contacts directly. Now, when a Google+ user writers a message via their Gmail account, they will see the details of their G+ contacts appear as options in the address bar, without having to know their email address. It is an opt out system, with the ability to limit those who can find you via Google+ to certain circles, or block the process entirely.
Branded Google+ ‘Helpouts’
We’ve all heard of Google+ Hangouts. Recently, the network launched ‘Helpouts’, which allow individuals, as well as five branded partners, to offer live video help to consumers, whether it be for free or at a price. Weight Watchers, for example, offer free health advice, while Sephora charge $15 for 15-30 minute beauty sessions. Three other partners are One Medical, Redbeacon and Rosetta Stone, though we may expect to see more in future.
Social at the Golden Globes
The Golden Globes used their star-studded audience to full effect last night, with a set of 360 degree Vines straight from the red carpet. Usher (below) was joined by some other A-listers, including Mike Tyson and Sean Combs.
— Golden Globe Awards (@goldenglobes) January 13, 2014
Brands were also keen to get in on the action, with some examples embedded below. L’Oreal’s tweet about a GIF hair tutorial was clearly much better than CVS’s attempt to get involved.
— L’Oreal Paris USA (@LOrealParisUSA) January 13, 2014
— CVS/pharmacy (@CVS_Extra) January 13, 2014
Cinemax creates Vine mini-series
Cinemax is using Vine to promote season two of ‘Banshee’, with a complete series of 6-second Vines that reveal the hopes and fears of characters. It’s the first time that a TV programme has created a full series in this way, and will be supported by comic-book content, using the hashtag #BansheeOrigins.
— Cinemax (@Cinemax) January 10, 2014
IBM ReturnServe at The Australian Open
The Australian Open Tennis Championships kicked off yesterday and a few of the key event sponsors have taken the opportunity to launch products and games for fans to interact and enjoy both whilst at the event and also from their lounge rooms. IBM has launched ReturnServe which is a virtual reality game giving players the opportunity to return the serve of one of the players battling to win on Rod Laver Arena. In addition the brand has also released an iPad app which includes a social tracking tool to analyse conversations taking part about players and the sentiment surrounding these discussions. Finally, IBM has also developed the SlamTracker app featuring on the Australian Open website which is a tool incorporating predictive analytics and aggregating all the data from the entire tournament.
Hobgoblin recruiting #Goblineers to its map
UK beer brand Hobgoblin is using Twitter’s geo-location to create a map of the obscure places that it is drunk, asking users to post a tweet with the hashtag #Goblineers. There are also a set of challenges, from which 25 overall winners will be selected to receive a prize including a personalised Hobgoblin tankard and access to the brewery.
Clorox produces some top reactive content
When a hashtag arose poking fun at the names given to American college football games, cleaning brand Clorox came up with the below. A great piece of reactive content on Twitter.
— Clorox (@Clorox) January 8, 2014
Brands hijack the Polar Vortex
A side effect of last week’s Polar Vortex was a lot of branded content. Some of it was good, some of it really wasn’t. You can decide for yourself on the below examples.
The UK government’s Facebook gaffe
Michael Gove, the UK Secretary of State for Education, was in trouble last week when a Facebook post from the Department of Work and Pensions published advice on its Facebook page about how to look good at interviews. This may not have been too controversial, had the quotation included not come from a company owned by his wife. Gove claims to have no knowledge of the promotion; if this was a genuine mistake, it shows the importance of doing proper background checks on any social content.
Give your Social Media feed a Spring Clean with Ajax
‘One easy wipe’! That’s all it takes with a just released tool from Ajax. The tool called ‘Ajax Social Wipes’ gives users the opportunity to review and unlike brands on Facebook and it detects spam and removes unwanted bots on the user’s Twitter account.
The relationship between one man and a brand
Chip Zdarsky, a Canadian journalist and comic book artist, enjoys trolling brands in his spare time. Fair enough. However, when he came across the Applebee’s Barrie account, it felt so lonely that he decided to try and build a proper relationship. Naming the project Applebee’s & Me on his Tumblr, some of the results from his burgeoning friendship can be found below.