Universal McCann has just published an in-depth study, conducted on 17.000 active internet users in 29 countries. The research follows the different channels of influence, the “new” influencers, and the involvement of internet users in the process of brand’s promotion:
1. Many channels to influence through:
Among social network users:
- 34% are sharing opinions on music.
- 31% are writing a blog inside their profile (10% promoted a brand!).
- 55% are sharing photos, 22% are uploading videos and 23% are uploading apps, all of which project opinions & endorse brands if included.
- 32% bloggers have shared recommended websites, 29% reported their favourite music & 28% shared opinions on products & brands.
2. Friendship is no longer local or face to face: It’s becoming distant and virtualised.
- Global adoption of various communication platform – Email (99%) , IM (81%) , Social Network (58%) , VOIP (51%).
- Among the SN users 66% are using them to stay in contact with existing friends, 42% use them to meet new people & 18% for dating.
- Blogs & SNs are now perceived as important platforms for socialising with friends , however the global impact is not geographically uniform. The Philippines, Mexico & India leads the way . 58% of South Korea web users and 66% in Italy see blogging as a platform for socialising compared to 26% in the UK & 24% in the US .
- Globally we still maintain an average of 35 friendships face to face. However it is rapidly being equalled by email with an average of 32, social networks with 30 & IMs with 29.
- Regional differences:
Brazil : 51 friendships via social networks. China : 51 friends on IM. India : 51 friends on Email. UK : Almost equal number of friends (30) in Social networks & face-to-face relationships. US : Email (21) vs. face-to-face relationships (20). Japan : Significantly smaller friend networks with email (8.5 friends) & social networks (7.4 friends) leading face to face (6.5 friends), but IM lags (2.9 friends).
3. Everybody is an influencer: The power to influence no longer belongs to the experts or “those in the know”. Many who do influence have no idea that they actually do have power and effect on others (see: Taggalaxy, (Flickr based tag visualization tool) & Brandtags – where consumers are actively involved in brand positioning).
- Over 44% of users have shared an opinion about a product or service by IM with a friend in the last month & 42% by email.
- More than 30% of people have commented on a product or service on a blog (29% recommended a product or brand on a blog in the past month).
- Good personal experience with a brand is almost twice as effective as celebrity endorsement in spreading the word of mouth.
4. New “Super Influencers” rise above the mass: Not all consumer influencers are equal.
- Regional: Brazil tops with highest group of “Super Influencers” (24%), followed by India (17%) & Mexico (15%). Surprisingly, US, UK & Australia have only 5% of their users falling into the Super Influencer category.
- Super Influencers are much prone to create content via the tools of social media, particularly rich and involved formats like video and blogs.
You can download the report here [pdf]