Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Social Media Landscape in Spain

It seems we can’t get enough of hearing about the growth and reach of Social Media around the world and how it’s going to change our lives – as marketers and as consumers.

Facebook reached 500 million users in 2010, which set off an infographic frenzy forecasting how many users the social network would have in 2012, 2015, 2050.

All this infographic-ing prompted me to ask, what about social media in Spain? 

How popular is it? 

Who’s online and what are they doing?

I recently came across a fantastic video by the Spanish design and online marketing agency 101cientouno, which highlights the statistics of social media usage in Spain:

I’ve attempted to highlight some of the most interesting statistics below.

With a population of 47 million people, Spain is the 27th largest country in the world, yet it ranks in the Top 10 countries on Twitter.  In the past year, Facebook membership in Spain has increased 50% to 12 million users – that’s ¼ of the population!  

The presentation Social Media around the World by InSites Consulting is one I reference often. Within the data, we find that 98% of Spaniards know of Facebook, much higher than the world average of 73% and equaling that of only the Brazil and the UK.
Spain is the 7th country in social network use. 80% of internet users are members of at least one social network and 20% visit their social network(s) of choice every day.   

Are kids 'connected'? In the report “Minors and Social Networks” produced by the Spanish organization Foro Generaciones Interactivas (01/2011), nearly 13,000 children between the ages of 6 and 18 from 78 private and public educational institutions were interviewed to learn about their Internet usage. The study found that, among many other interesting facts, the majority of children who use the Internet regularly in Spain are members of at least one social nework (70%), which they use to converse with ‘real’ friends and to entertain themselves in their spare time. 

The most popular sites among children in Spain are Tuenti (60%), Facebook (21%) and Windows Live Spaces (14%), followed by MySpace and Hi5 with a combined small percentage of the users.

How about Search? The four most searched words on Google in Spain are Facebook, Youtube, Tuenti and Twitter.

What is Tuenti? It’s the “Spanish Facebook”… sort of. The company describes itself as a “private social platform” which can be joined by invitation only. Tuenti is similar in form and function to Facebook, but with stricter privacy policies and less advertising. The stricter privacy policies must be an important feature in Spain, which has an online culture more concerned with personal privacy than that of the United States or the UK. Comscore reports that the number of visitors to Tuenti increased 21% from September 2009 to September 2010, in which 8.2 million people visited the site in Spain, making it the 10th visited site in the country.

Tuenti was created by a group of friends from Madrid in 2006 and has grown steadily; in 2010 Telefonica purchased a majority share in the company (85%) for 70 million Euros. The site recently launched a service similar to Facebook Places called Tuenti Sitios

In the area of wikis, Wikipedia contains 15 million articles, 697,000 of which are in Spanish, 297,000 in Catalan (the language of the Cataluña, Valencia and the Balearic Islands of Spain as well as parts of France), 65,000 in Gallego (the language of Galicia in north-western Spain), and 61,000 in Euskara (the language of the Basque country, Spain).

I have to admit that after researching and discovering the depth of social media use in Spain, I was rather surprised. In terms of advertising and communication by companies online, I don’t feel the reach of social media here like I do when I visit America, where it seems every company, brand and product is accosting you with invitations to follow them on Twitter and Facebook.  At times it can be overwhelming, yet the infographics tell us that it is the future of marketing. [The use of social media by businesses is a topic I will cover in a future post.]

The statistics speak for themselves. Social media is thriving in Spain. And now is the right time for companies and organizations to begin taking advantage of the medium.

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