Gemma Houghton

All Aboard! Join A Search and Social Tour Around The World

Latest Stats on 30 Major Global Internet Markets

Guess what. Google is pretty big – almost everywhere in the world. And yes, there aren’t many places you can go where Facebook doesn’t feature in the daily lives of many netizens.

Yet, there might be some lesser known facts which could impact the way that you as a global marketer will plan your campaigns, create your content and target your different audiences around the world.

The latest search and social insights for 30 countries across 6 continents are available to download–  but join us now on a trip around the world to visit the latest wonders of the digital world.

First Stop, Western Europe

Google News in Germany and Spain

In December, Google News announced it would be shutting its operations in Spain, due to a new law stating that news aggregators need to pay publishers when sharing links and excerpts of their content online.  Before introducing this law, it may have paid the Spanish government to heed to the example of German news publisher Axel Springer that ordered Google stop publishing snippets of their content – and subsequently saw their traffic fall by 40%, with Google News traffic dropping by 80%.

This just highlights Google’s influence and significance in markets where it holds such a large percentage of search share.

Italy most socially engaged users of EU5

Italy tends to trail its fellow EU5 counterparts (UK, France, Germany and Spain) when it comes to most things internet – from web penetration to ecommerce sales. But one area where it actually leads is social media engagement, with Italian users spending more time each day using social networking sites than in any of the other markets (Spain comes second, followed by UK, France and then Germany).

Social Graphic SAS q1 2015 - iMac V2

Instagram overtaking rivals in Sweden

Instagram has enjoyed significant global growth in the past year, adding 100 million more users to its global membership between March and December 2014. Sweden is one market where it is really making ground, boasting more active members than Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn. Facebook still stays way out in front…… but for how long?

Next Destination, Eastern Europe

Chrome and Android boost Google in Russia

Google vs Yandex Russia

Shock horror! There are still a few places where Google needs to play catch up, with Russia being one where local search engine Yandex rules the roost with almost 60% market share. Yet Google has increased its only slice of the pie from 26% to 32% in the past year, largely down to its prevalence in the market through wider adoption of its Chrome browser and the popularity of android devices. While it’s unlikely to really challenge Yandex anytime soon, its increase does make it a credible channel for marketers to utilise when targeting Russian users.

The local social network is on the decline…almost everywhere

You may have heard names such as Tuenti, Copains D’avant and Nasza Klaza in the past, but these local social networks which once enjoyed relative success in Spain, France and Poland in the past have been vastly overtaken by the global players like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.  Nasza Klaza is the only one which can still claim a sizeable user base, ranking as the 4th popular network in Poland – however despite 45% of web users holding an account, only 18% are still active users.

In contrast, Russia local networks VK and Odnoklassniki both remain ahead of Facebook in the social network standings – with VK forging way ahead of its rivals when it comes to active users.  

Hop On, We’re Off To The Middle East

Arabic is not the web language of choice in the UAE

Unlike other countries in the MENA region, internet users in the UAE don’t default to their native Arabic when searching online, with 80% of searches being conducted in English. In Saudi Arabia and Egypt, Arabic contributes the same percentage.  Worth bearing in mind when targeting markets in this region is the fact that there is a lack of good quality Arabic content available online, compared to other languages, so creating new content in this widespread language could lead to wins in the region as a whole.

Saudi Arabian youth flocking to social

With an exceedingly young population (1/3 under 14 years old) it’s no great surprise that social media adoption is on the rise in the country. Particularly notable is that 80% of all Saudi web users have a twitter account, making it the second highest market globally for Twitter penetration after Indonesia. Facebook still has the slight edge over Twitter, although it saw diminishing active users in the market over 2014.

Time To Move further East, It’s Asia

Naver stands firm in South Korea

Much like in Russia, increasing adoption of android mobile devices suggested that Google might take some ground in the seemingly previously impenetrable South Korea. However, local search leader Naver still remains firmly in the driving seat with over 75% of all searches, trailed by fellow local provider Daum. Google, according to Nielsen KoreanClick, barely gets a look in.

India will become 2nd largest internet global market

Taj Mahal

2015 looks set to the year that the US loses its second place position, with India on course to overtake it, having seen a penetration increase of 14% in 2014. There are now 243 million Indians online – and more accessible devices, more affordable data plans and improving infrastructure are all likely to fuel this growth even further. Predictions that there will be 500 million internet users in India within 3 years are highly like to come true – opening up numerous opportunities to global businesses.

Japan gives Twitter the edge over Facebook

When it comes to both subscribers and user engagement, Japan is the only country where Twitter can claim dominance over Facebook. While there isn’t a huge amount in it – 38% of users on Twitter compared to 36% on Facebook – it still shows that Twitter resonates with the Japanese and is a significant channel in that market.

Next Stop, Latin America

Mexico goes social via mobile

The notion that social and mobile activities go together is a fairly common one, and trends in Mexico certainly confirm that. 65% of internet users used a mobile device to access a social network in a one month period, a higher percentage than any other market (surveyed by GlobalWebIndex).  Whether using a mobile or computer, Mexicans are very social creatures in general – spending on average 3 hours per day on online social activities.  Unsurprisingly, Facebook is their network of choice – with a 95% subscription rate in Mexico for the global giant.

Brazil is a challenge zone for Google

Worldcup 2014

This is slightly misleading – as there is no real challenge on Google’s dominance in the search sphere, despite Chinese search leader Baidu launching a search engine in 2014. As yet, this has made no dent at all on Google’s 95% search share and Baidu will need to invest considerably if it wants to make a mark in Latin America. However, Google fared less well on the social front – announcing the closure of its social network Orkut in October. Orkut had seen considerable success in the past, yet the meteoric rise of Facebook put paid to any hopes Google had of maintaining a strong social presence in Brazil.

Tired Yet? We End In North America

Yahoo makes a comeback in Canada

When I say comeback, it’s not about to topple Google from its perch or stronghold of 87% share – however Yahoo! increased its share of the Canadian market from 3.6% to 6% in 2014, slightly ahead of Bing. With high internet penetration and an active user base, Canada remains an appealing market for search engines and businesses alike.

Facebook declines in the USA

Yahoo! has achieved similar success in the US, with its deal with Mozilla making it the default search engine on the Firefox browser having an unsurprisingly positive impact and raising its search share to a not insignificant 10%. Things aren’t looking so rosy for Facebook, however, which has seen a decline in both membership and active users in 2014. This trend is also applicable to YouTube and Twitter, while Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn are on the rise.
So there we have it. A slightly whistle-stop tour around the various corners of the globe – showing that nothing ever stays the same in the wonderful world of search and social media and that global businesses must be constantly adapting and evolving, merely to keep up.

Social Media Graphic - SAS Q1 2015

Gemma Houghton

Gemma Houghton

Marketing Manager at Webcertain
Gemma has been working in international search for 6 years and leads Webcertain's marketing team. As well as managing Webcertain’s global online and offline marketing activities, she also organises and programs WebCertain's International Search Summit, a search marketing conference focusing on international and multilingual online marketing and contributes regularly to the Webcertain blog. She has also spoken at conferences such as SES and SasCon and writes regularly for State of Digital. Gemma holds a Professional Diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing and a BA Joint Honors Degree in French and German.

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