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Global Web Users Like To Share Content Rather Than Create It

Internet users prefer sharing content than creating it, is a key message to come out of the latest GlobalWebIndex report, which surveys web users in 27 markets around the world.

When asked “Which online activities have you done in the past month”, almost 70% of respondents had watched an online video clip, 50% had managed a social network profile
and 35% had commented on a story, yet only 25% had written a blog post and less than 20% had written an article.

The growth of social media platforms has made it so easy to share and distribute content, which presents huge opportunities for those creating interesting, compelling and attractive content. Create good content and there will be plenty of people willing to share it

Other data in the report supports the importance of social sharing, with social networking growing across all global regions, although significant growth is now being driven by emerging markets rather than mature ones. Microblogging is also growing but, surprisingly it is not the advanced web markets like the USA and EU5 countries (UK, France, Germany, Spain & Italy) that are driving this growth, rather the BRIC markets, where 40% of users have been active on a microblogging site.

In contrast, blog engagement is either stagnating or declining across all markets, however the highest levels of engagement are also by users in the BRIC markets.

Perhaps most interesting to note, is the decline in contributions and interactions on Facebook, despite the social network continuing to grow its global user base. From sharing photos to installing an app to joining a group, there has been a global drop in the number of users active on the site and its different functions, with the most significant drop coming amongst young, college-educated users in the US, who were the early adopters of the network.

Brett Petersen, Senior Strategy Consultant at Trendstream, which produces the GlobalWebIndex, will be speaking at the International Search Summit @ SMX East in New York, on Monday 12th September where he will be sharing many more insights into global web usage and behavior.

Here, Brett answers a few questions about the Global Web Index data and its value to international marketers

What exactly is GlobalWebIndex?

The GlobalWebIndex is the world’s most in-depth, continuous research study into online consumer behaviour. Since 2009, the GlobalWebIndex has surveyed nearly 100,000 internet users across 27 different countries. The data is then provided in an intuitive online tool, as opposed to reports, to allow marketers and brands to customise the data to their needs by building their specific target audiences and analysing their online and social media behaviour.

There are many great sources of data and trends online, what is different and valuable about the GlobalWebIndex reports?

The GlobalWebIndex is unique in the fact that it is the only research study to survey online and social media behaviour across all types of internet capable devices within a single survey. Other research providers often survey mobile, PC, and tablet separately, but researchers cannot cross compare that data because the information is coming from different respondents that are surveyed using different methodologies. The GlobalWebIndex makes these comparisons possible, allowing marketers and researchers to get a much more accurate picture of the online environment. The fact that the exact same survey is asked in 27 markets also makes the data comparable across all GWI markets.

How can and should marketers use the data to improve their global web activity?

Having a detailed understanding of what your target audience is doing online is critical to developing not just a brand’s digital marketing strategy but determining the overall marketing mix to ensure that resources are allocated in the most efficient way possible. The GlobalWebIndex, however, goes beyond illustrating what consumers are doing online to also explain their motivations for doing (or not-doing) specific online activities. It also give brands a chance to add their specific brand to the survey to track how their customers behave online and determine the best ways to engage them and build brand advocates.

What is the most interesting or surprising trend you’ve seen over the past few years?

I think there are two overarching trends that occurring at the moment that are challenging how we’ve traditionally viewed the internet. The first is the localization of the internet. Instead of becoming a global network that drives convergence in online consumer behaviour and culture, the global internet is more a series of local internet, each with its own culture and norms.

The second is the move towards Post-PC era. This is a view that grown out of our research but is often challenged by others on the grounds that PC sales still outweigh mobile devices sales etc. While that is definitely true, the key question for us is where are consumers most likely to be engaged online because higher engagement results in better marketing effectiveness for our brands. Our research indicates a continuing shift towards higher online activity via mobile devices thanks to high-value packaged internet services that are available in real-time, no matter where they are.

Which global markets do you think marketers should be investing in now?

The markets to invest in at the moment depend on the scope of your campaign and brand strategy. Advertising in many newly industrialised and emerging markets is still underdeveloped and there is significant scope for marketing investment in these markets as their middle classes become richer. The bigger emerging markets such as China, Brazil, Russia, and India have escaped the worst of the ongoing economic downturn and consumer spending in these countries must rise to compensate for reduced demand from Western markets in the future. This is not to say that marketers should not devote significant time to Europe and North America because their consumer markets are massive and advertising will be more critical than ever as household budgets are squeezed.

Online marketing in emerging markets is particularly important because they do not have the legacy of developed media markets that exist in Europe and North America. Emerging market consumers are going online for everything in their everyday lives from entertainment to personal well-being, and this presents great opportunities for marketers to begin the long process of brand building in these markets.

Why attend the International Search Summit?

The International Search Summit is a vital resource for search marketers because , as GWI research indicates, the results from a search engine are still some of the most effective purchase drivers out of all advertising communications methods, not just online. Furthermore, the localisation of the internet demands that every online and search advertising campaign be tailored to specific local markets. The International Search Summit gathers the world’s most knowledgeable online and search marketing experts to deliver insights that allow agencies and brands to achieve country tailored campaigns as part of a broader international brand strategy.

Tickets are still available for the International Search Summit @ SMX East. Other speakers include Preston Carey from Yandex,  Jae Choi of NHN USA (Naver), Rishab Aiyer Ghosh from Topsy and WebCertain’s Andy Atkins-Krüger.

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Gemma Houghton

Director of Marketing at Webcertain
Gemma has worked in international search marketing for over 14 years and is Director of Marketing at Webcertain, overseeing all marketing activities for the Group. She also organises and programmes Webcertain's International Search Summit, a search marketing conference focusing on international and multilingual online marketing which runs across Europe and the US. Gemma holds a Professional Diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, a Diploma in Management and Leadership from the Chartered Management Institute, and a BA joint honours degree in French and German.

One Response to Global Web Users Like To Share Content Rather Than Create It

  1. Keith says:

    Wish you would have gone into more detail about facebook instead of turning this into an advertisement for this research company. It’s clear the global web is already here, and while users would rather share content than create it, that’s like saying people would rather drink than eat food. Yes water is essential for life, but that’ doesn’t mean we should ignore food. Content creation is still big money, and big business.

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