Where in the World Are the Hottest Social Networking Countries?

From eMarketer – a forecast pegs worldwide social networking at 1.2 billion users—and counting. But the countries with the most users and most mature usage patterns are not necessarily those with the fastest growth or the highest penetration. Unfortunately no NZ data is included.

With 1.2 billion users worldwide, social networking usage patterns vary by country and region

 While several US-based sites like Facebook and Twitter might get most of the publicity, social networking is a worldwide phenomenon that eMarketer predicts will encompass nearly 1.5 billion internet users by the end of this year.

As of December 2011, eMarketer estimates, just over 1.2 billion people around the world used social networking sites at least once per month. That represented 23.1% growth over 2010, and double-digit growth will continue throughout eMarketer’s forecast period, though the rate of change will decrease as the market matures.

Social Network Users Worldwide, 2011-2014 (billions and % change)

The region with the highest number of social network users is Asia-Pacific, where 615.9 million internet users will log on to social sites by the end of this year. About half of those users will be in China, where social network users will outnumber their counterparts in the US by nearly two to one.

Social Network Users Worldwide, by Region and Country, 2011-2014 (millions)

China and the US are the top two countries in terms of overall number of users, but the rankings of key social networking countries around the world change when examined based on penetration rates vs. growth rates. In 2012, the US will have the greatest share of social network users as a percentage of the total population (49.9%), followed by Canada (49.3%), South Korea (46.6%), Australia (44.4%) and Russia (41.9%). As a share of internet users in 2012, however, Brazil will come out on top—87.6% of web users in the country will use social networking sites—followed closely by Indonesia at 87.5%. In developing markets like these, fewer people overall are online, but among those who are on the web, social networking is often a key driver of internet usage.

The fastest growth in social networking this year, meanwhile, will come from India (where usage will increase by 51.7%), Indonesia (51.6%) and, lagging distantly, China (19.9%).

Much of this growth is due to the ever-climbing popularity of Facebook—though notably not in China, where the site is banned. eMarketer estimates the social networking giant will pass the billion-user mark by the end of 2013.

Facebook Users Worldwide, 2011-2014 (millions and % change)

This represents eMarketer’s first worldwide estimates of social network usage and Facebook usage. eMarketer bases its estimates of social network usage on the analysis of survey and traffic data from research firms and regulatory agencies; the growth trajectory of major social network sites; historical trends; internet and mobile adoption trends; and country-specific demographic and socio-economic factors. For Facebook-specific estimates, eMarketer projects based on all of the above as well as Facebook company releases.

For full article click here

Facebook’s Incredible Growth Story In Charts

From over at ReadWriteWeb – a visual analysis of the growth information which was placed in the Facebook IPO.

fb-daily-growth.gif

Worldwide, you can see that 57% of the people who use Facebook within a given month also use Facebook on an average day, up from 47% in early 2009.

This varies, of course, by region, which gives an idea of how “sticky” Facebook is in different parts of the world. In the U.S. and Canada, it’s 70%. In Asia, where Facebook isn’t as established – but is growing fast – it’s only about 50%.

Facebook is increasingly a global story. Its user base is now almost equally concentrated in the four regions it breaks out. That’s a pretty big change from 2009, when it was primarily focused in the U.S. and Canada.

fb-global-growth.gif

In 2011, about 30% of Facebook’s new users came from Asia, and about 40% in the “rest of world” category. Only about 10% of its new users came from the U.S. and Canada.

Facebook’s IPO filing also brings us new access to its finances. Here, we can see one reason why Facebook’s revenue growth (88% in 2011) is outpacing its user growth (39% in 2011) – because Facebook is bringing in more revenue per user than it did in the past.

fb-revenue-growth.gif

How did that happen? Significant growth in both Facebook’s ad business (85% of its revenue) and its payments business (part of the 15% of “other” revenue).

Facebook’s future success, of course, relies on both its ability to attract new users and its ability to generate more revenue per user.

For the full article, click here.

Study: 91% of Gen-Ys Use Their Phones in the Bathroom

From 11Mark via ReadWriteWeb, apparently 3/4 of Americans use their mobile phones in the toilet.

From the press release:

Three-fourths of Americans with mobile phones report they use their phones in the bathroom, according to a new study by 11mark, a new integrated marketing agency. Americans are texting, emailing, and yes – as you may have heard – talking on the phone in the bathroom. Approximately one quarter of Americans report they don‟t go into the bathroom without their phone. The new report, “IT in the Toilet,” uses the “bathroom benchmark” to examine just how connected we have become.

The survey of 1,000 Americans reveals that neither men nor women are going to the bathroom alone today – 74 percent of men and 76 percent of women report they have used their mobile phone in the bathroom. 63 percent report they have answered a phone call, and 41 percent have initiated a phone call. Many (67 percent) have read a text, and 38 percent have surfed the Internet. Men are a bit more attached, however, with 30 percent reporting, “I don‟t go to the bathroom without my mobile phone,” versus 20 percent of women. Men also work more from the bathroom – 20 percent say they have participated in work-related calls versus 13 percent of their female colleagues.

As expected, Gen Y respondents are the heaviest IT in the toilet users. Ninety-one percent use
their phone in the bathroom, but older generations are not far behind. Eighty percent of Gen X
report they use the phone in the bathroom, as well as 65 percent of Boomers, and 47 percent of
the Silent Generation (guess they are no longer silent.)

For the full press release, click here

For the ReadWriteWeb article, click here

The rise of in-store mobile commerce

From Pew Research via ReadWriteWeb, a study looks at in-store mobile usage.

More than half of adult cell phone owners used their cell phones while they were in a store during the 2011 holiday season to seek help with purchasing decisions. During a 30 day period before and after Christmas:

  • 38% of cell owners used their phone to call a friend while they were in a store for advice about a purchase they were considering making
  • 24% of cell owners used their phone to look up reviews of a product online while they were in a store
  • 25% of adult cell owners used their phones to look up the price of a product online while they were in a store, to see if they could get a better price somewhere else

Taken together, just over half (52%) of all adult cell owners used their phone for at least one of these three reasons over the holiday shopping season and one third (33%) used their phone specifically for online information while inside a physical store—either product reviews or pricing information.

Other interesting outtakes were:

One in five “mobile price matchers” ultimately made their most recent purchase from an online store, rather than a physical location

When asked what happened on the most recent occasion where they used their phone to look up the price online of a product they found in a store, these mobile price matchers point to a range of outcomes:

  • 37% decided to not purchase the product at all
  • 35% purchased the product at that store
  • 19% purchased the product online
  • 8% purchased the product at another store

Since one quarter of cell owners looked up the price of a product using their phone in the 30 days preceding our survey, that works out to 5% of all cell owners who purchased a product online this holiday season after looking up its price online from a physical store. An additional 9% of all cell owners searched for the price of a product they found in a physical store but ultimately purchased it at that store.

For the full report, click here.

For the ReadWriteWeb article, click here.

Love of Control Has Made Tablets Indispensable

From Read Write Web a great post about the benefits of tablets for those who use them.

A  study from BBC.com and Starcom MediaVest finds that tablets do wonders for news consumption. Tablet owners report reading more stories from more sources on more topics than non-tablet users, they enjoy the experience more, and they go straight to the source more often, rather than relying on aggregators.

But the study also found that the benefits of tablets extend beyond news. Subjects reported a range of improvements tablets brought to their lives, and many of them were unexpected. The study broke down tablet owners based on how long they’ve had tablets and found that all of the positive effects increased over time. Tablets aren’t a fad; they’re fundamentally changing the way people use the Web.

Tablets Are More Than Just Portable

The majority of tablet owners agree that these new devices “offer more than just portability and convenience,” and that sentiment only increases over time. Roughly the same proportions use the tablet at home more than they anticipated. Only 48% of people who have owned a tablet for less than six months use it more than they expected to, but that proportion increases to 57% by the end of the first year.

It takes some time for people to get used to their tablet. Only 44% find that tablets are a seamless part of their lives in the first six months. But by the time they’ve owned a tablet for a year or more, nearly 70% feel that it’s an integral part of their routine.

Another interesting finding was that tablet owners report increased efficiency more than they do “fun,” which runs counter to the popular perception of tablets as unserious devices meant for play. While 62% reported that tablets let them do things more efficiently, 51% said their tablets let them have more fun. And 67% of the subjects said they were “excited to see what tablets become capable of,” so the future of tablet computing looks bright from consumers’ standpoint.

Tablets Whet News Consumers’ Appetites

As far as the content consumed on tablets, the study concentrated on news, a media category that has a ways to go to recover from the disruptions of the digital age. It found that 78% of tablet owners follow more news stories, in terms of both volume and variety, than they did before.

Respondents reported that tablets substantially improved many aspects of the news experience. 81% reported that “tablets make following the news more interesting and enjoyable,” and 78% felt that “tablets substantially improve the news experience overall.”

Tablets Bring Immersion and Control

One of the strongest signals of what tablet owners like about the experience is the customization and control it offers. 85% of tablet owners find it easier to customize and interact with tablet-specific content.

For full post click here

Entertainment apps rule Android store downloads, not games

Another interesting post from over at Memeburn looks at the app downloading habits of iOS and Android users according to mobile app search company Chomp.

iOS users have fun, Android users get down to business, according to mobile app search company, Chomp.

In its first ever annual app search analytics report, Chomp has revealed search data from the one-million-plus app searches per month which outline what the top apps are, what the trends are in apps and what the average price per app is.

Chomp begins with the category share trend. Gaming, it seems, is on a downturn in the Android market. For iOS though, gaming is on the rise. In December 2011, games accounted for 36% of all iTunes downloads. For Android, only 22% of downloads were gaming apps.

 

What we like

What are the defining apps in the Android market? Entertainment apps. This includes apps such as Gigbox, Flixster, Pandora and Qik.

Onto iTunes and apps focused on fitness and music have seen a rise in popularity. Utility apps though, are on the decrease. Apps such as Soundhound, Spotify, Magic Guitar and FitnessBuilder are all the rage.

 

What we pay

App pricing is predictably dearer on iTunes. Chomp notes that the average price of an app has increased by 50%. Again in December, an average app cost US$0.67 while on the Android store, the average price per app was a mere US$0.09.

Itunes app prices remain ahead of the curve due to its barrage of US$0.99 apps. This pushes the average price of paid Android apps to US$3.17 and thrusts the price of iTunes apps to US$2.41. Itunes paid apps account for 22% of all downloads, while Android remains “open-source” with only 5% of all downloads being paid-for.

For the full article, click here

 

 

Wifis.org – the Wi-Fi social network

From over at Gearburn, an interesting concept coming out of Germany called Wifis.org.

Founded late last year in Berlin, Wifis.org aims to help neighbours get in touch. The free service connects people through a unique URL that replaces your current Wi-Fi network name (SSID).

Wi-Fi network names have been used in a number of creative ways:

Instead of generating a chuckle, wifis.org allows people to get in touch without revealing their email addresses.

The process is simple. Go to wifis.org and generate a unique URL. Replace your SSID with the URL. That’s it.

Why is this useful? Wifis.org figures you can “share your Wi-Fi for a monthly payment” or meet your neighbours. The service is intended for the home user who wants to meet people, but it could also be useful for businesses who’d like to advertise their services.

For the full post, click here.

We don’t talk about brands online — so what are we talking about?

An interesting post from over at Memeburn. looks at how we talk about brands on social media.

Firstly, we generally still discover brands offline rather than online.

In a US survey by eMarketer, 30.1% of respondents said that they have heard about new brands, products and services from these offline sources, as opposed to the 6.5% who had first heard about them via their social media platforms.

This points to the fact that offline brand discovery is still a very trusted way to engage with new products and services. Generally speaking, humans still like hearing first-hand accounts of people who we know well in person and whom we can trust — this accounts for the large percentage of word of mouth referrals.

The offline media percentage shows that this form of marketing is far from dead. Brands are having to be far smarter with how and where they position their ads to ensure that they are cutting through the clutter of all the other offline advertisers. Arguably the best offline ads are the ones that encourage their audience to move to an online platform and further engage and interact with the brand, product or service.

Second, when we do engage with brands online, we often don’t directly talk about the brand itself, but rather the experience:

According to the same eMarketer survey; 57.8% of the US respondents said that they have never mentioned a brand in their Facebook status or in a tweet; while a far smaller section (25.3%) said that they have mentioned brands in only a positive light, as opposed to 0.5% saying that they have only ever mentioned a brand negatively.

When we look at some of the major brands online, the ones who do have a large social media following, do not necessarily mention the brand directly. It’s more about experiences associated with the brand.

For example, looking at the Coca Cola Facebook page; the top 25 posts had only a few mentions of the brand’s name. Most were referring to an experience around the brand.

Which leads to the real power in social media for brands – experiences.

This is where the real power lies and it is something that a few major brands are beginning to pick up on. The power of your brand online is in tackling people’s experiences. Products and services are a commodity — in theory anyone can do what you do — it is the experience that is the differentiator.

Finally, some recommendations:

There are a few things that brands need to keep top of mind when engaging with social:

  1. Keep the experience top of mind — your audience is not as engaged with your brand as you are — they are far more interested in the experience they will have with it.
  2. Find the social influencers within your specific industry and ensure that you are well positioned to “use” them to the benefit of your brand.
  3. Don’t try and sell.
  4. Engage in conversations that are already happening in your industry or sector. Don’t always think that you have to start a conversation. Some of the best brand interaction can come from a conversation you didn’t start.
  5. Don’t forget about LinkedIn. The groups on LinkedIn are excellent sources of information and can act as gateways to other social networks where your audience is conversing. This is arguably a real B2B action point but, depending on your market, you can still find your target audience here!

For the full post, click here

YouTube hits 4 billion daily video views

From Reuters via Memeburn, YouTube has now reached over4 billion daily video views, a 25% increase between April 11 and Jan 12.

The jump in video views comes as Google pushes YouTube beyond the personal computer, with versions of the site that work on smartphones and televisions, and as the company steps up efforts to offer more professional-grade content on the site.

According to the company, roughly 60 hours of video is now uploaded to YouTube every minute, compared with the 48 hours of video uploaded per minute in May.

YouTube, which Google acquired for $1.65 billion in 2006, represents one of Google’s key opportunities to generate new sources of revenue outside its traditional Internet search advertising business.

Last week, Google said that its business running graphical “display” ads – many of which are integrated alongside YouTube videos – was generating $5 billion in revenue on an annualized run rate basis.

Still, most of the 4 billion videos that YouTube now streams worldwide every day do not make money. Three billion YouTube videos a week are monetized, according to the company.

For the full story, click here

4 non-mobile tech trends to look out for in 2012

From over at Memeburn – everyone has been talking about mobile trends, however here are some non-mobile tech trends.

1. Cheaper hardware

In a similar vein, if you’re into electronics, the Raspberry Pi is due to be released and we should see the boards in the general public’s hands early in 2012. What does this have to do with cheap hardware? Well, at around $25 per board, it’s probably one of the cheapest functional computers around on the market. For people who have toyed with Arduino a bit, the Raspberry Pi is interesting because it includes so many useful chips already built into the board, and its comfortable running a standard linux kernel.

 

2. Operating Systems

With Windows 8 coming to market midway through 2012, it’s time to start thinking upgrades again. New versions of the major operating systems are always interesting because they often bring a bunch of new features (and bugs) that create good news stories. I promised I wouldn’t get into mobiles and tablets, so I won’t spend any time talking about the fact that Windows 8 will be the first Microsoft operating system to have support for ARM processors. More interesting is the new Windows-To-Go feature, which will allow you to boot the operating system off a USB stick. To be fair, the Linux community has had this sort of functionality for a while, but it finally means that you won’t need a Knoppix install to attempt to recover things on a faulty Windows hard disk. It’s also a blessing to Windows users, who will be able to carry their chosen Operating System around with them when they travel.

 

3. Games Consoles

For gamers Sony plans to finally release its next hand-held games console, the PlayStation Vita, globally early in the year. The device has already been launched in Japan, but has received an initial slew of complaints suggesting that the global launch may turn out to be a bit of a damp squib. Don’t panic, the new Nintendo Wii U is due to launch in March soon after. Nintendo is also moving toward greater portability, and the new Wii U will feature a hand-held console that connects to the main set-top box wirelessly and includes its own screen. Currently, Nintendo is keeping pretty quiet about what other features we can expect from its next console, but that just leaves us with more to look forward to next year.

 

4. Quantum Computing

2012 also looks ready to herald in the era of quantum computing. Early this year, the world saw its first commercially available quantum computer, D-Wave One, hit the market thanks to Canadian company D-Wave. This 128-qubit workhorse came onto the market with the budget price-tag of around $10 million. As a general purpose computer, D-Wave One is likely to be outpaced for most user operations by your standard PC, however its quantum processing capabilities are designed to tackle heavy-duty optimization and complex number theory problems, commonly used for AI applications. To be fair, D-Wave has been heavily criticised by some scientists working in the field of quantum computing, who have pointed out that their computer is only doing a single operation, called discrete optimization. Physicists argue that D-Wave’s claimed speedup over classical algorithms is based on a misunderstanding and that their computer is likely to be no more powerful than your average mobile phone.

For the full post, click here.

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