GlobalWebIndex W5: Social media usage


Tom Smith, founder of Trendstream, the company behind the GlobalWebIndex, exclusively talks us through the implications of the findings of their Wave 5 research.

Wave 5 of GlobalWebIndex tells us many things: It tells us that Facebook is losing its lustre with its original followers, it tells us that the real-time continues to grow and it tells us that we are increasingly likely to want to access the web via a device other than our PC or laptop.

However, the most important lesson that we at Trendstream have gleaned from five waves of research and nearly 100,000 interviews is the importance of variety and the need to target your messages appropriately in each market.

What Wave 5, and subsequent comparison with all the previous waves of research that we have carried out since GlobalWebIndex start in July 2009, show us is that there is no global web. There may be some broad global trends but the behaviour of consumers is increasingly variable as you go from country to country and region to region.

Those differences will only grow. The use of different platforms such as mobile, tablet and TV to access the internet is becoming more widespread and the return of traditional paid-for content (enabled by the rise in app use) are just two trends that are likely to boost the localisation of internet consumption patterns.

These variations in the way that consumers are accessing and using internet platforms present real difficulties for marketers. It is clear that there is no such thing as a singular global brand strategy online and each market and consumer segment behaves differently.

Evolving very smart multi-platform and multi-market internet strategies is a challenge that many marketers will struggle with. Rather than bringing us all together as a single global consumer community, the internet is becoming a reflection of the differences that exist in all the other facets of our lives.

Understanding how culture, social habits and technology availability impacts on online consumer behaviour is the first step in developing the smart communications solutions that are needed in the internet age.