Here are all of the posts tagged ‘Japan’.
The name says it all. Facebook has launched a “Lite” version of its social networking service, targeting users in emerging markets where user growth is expected to expand at a rapid pace. According to reports, India is set to be the largest Facebook user base in the world by 2017, so this is hardly a surprising move from Facebook, really.
In sum, Facebook Lite is a stripped-down version of the regular app while retaining all the original functions of the service. It is less than 500 KB in size, and works well on 2G, 3G and 4G networks.
Local communication apps, text are preferred modes of mobile communication in Japan, South Korea
That’s according to a report by Ericsson Consumer Lab, which surveyed 100,000 individuals in Japan, South Korea, India, UK and the US. The findings reveal some interesting insights. For instance in India, users spend nearly half of their time on smartphones on communication apps. In markets like Japan and South Korea, local communication apps are more popularly used as compared to those surveyed in the UK and US markets. Japanese and South Koreans also prefer text over voice calls. According to Ericsson, 1 in 4 Japanese smartphone users do not make traditional voice calls anymore.
Taiwanese chat messaging app Pal+ secure $1.3m in funds
Taiwan chat messaging app, Pal+ has received all of $1.3 million in fresh funds to expand its growing venture. The funds came from Asiasoft, a listed game publisher in Thailand.
Pal+ is a forum-based app which invites individuals with common interests to participate in online discussions. Users get to share and discuss a wide range of topics from entertainment to animation and games, and share them with friends instantly.
World Cup hits Weibo
Weibo‘s recently launched World Cup page is live and a huge success so far – over 22 million Chinese users followed the news on Weibo on the first day of FIFA World Cup 2014! In fact, in the first two hours of the event, there were already 83 million published posts, with 3 million Weibo posts coming out of China. With the topic #world cup# exceeding a billion post views in just a day, this could potentially set a whole new Weibo record by the end of the tournament.
Hike crosses the 20 million user mark
In just 18 months since its launch, Indian messenger app Hike announced yesterday that it now has over 20 million registered users. To commemorate the special occasion, it introduced a few new features such as ‘hidden mode’ and ‘big file transfer’. The former protects private chats with a password, while the latter enables a transfer of up to 100 MB in any file format. This is a likely attempt to take on Whatsapp, which currently dominates the market with 50 million monthly active users.
Line to provide targeted ads
Japanese-based messenger app Line recently announced its partnership with US company Salesforce to offer a new service for companies to push targeted ads to the platform’s 450 million global users. In Japan alone, there are currently over a hundred companies with official Line accounts. Similar to Facebook, companies will now be able to filter Line users by age, gender and geographical location. Aside from that, users’ past purchases and browsing history can also be tracked to improve product recommendations.
Social ads are preferred by marketers
A survey of marketers by Millward Brown has found that most prefer social media ads to native and email ads. When asked which ad types met their company’s digital branding objectives, the top answer, given by 51% of respondents, was ‘social ads’, followed by native (46%) and e-mail (36%). Social ads are also more common – 77% responded that they had used them, compared to 73% for email and 68% native.
Facebook accidentally launches Slingshot
Facebook has had Slingshot, its second attempt at a Snapchat rival, in the pipeline for a little while now. Last week, it accidentally launched the app, before pulling it from the app store and admitting its mistake.
Facebook adds tap and hold video sharing to Messenger
So we have to wait for Slingshot. In the meantime, Facebook Messenger has added another Snapchat feature – tap and hold video sharing. The update is already here for iPhone and is incoming for Android.
Facebook to target ads based on browsing history
Facebook has announced that it will use web browsing history for targeting ads on the platform. The platform will capture passive browsing information from various sites across the web, including, in future, those where its ‘like’ button is installed and, perhaps controversially, will not pay attention to the ‘do not track’ function in browsers. The network has also announced new privacy options, whereby users can click on an ad to see why it has been served to them.
A new method for sharing video ads on Twitter
Twitter is experimenting with a new way of sharing video ads, starting with Visa and adidas. When a user types in a particular hashtag (#visa for Visa, #allin for adidas) followed by a space, they will see a paper clip prompt. Clicking on it allows the user to easily share the ad with their followers.
Twitter to start showing weather-related adverts
Twitter has partnered with The Weather Company, so that advertisers can serve weather-specific ads on the platform. While this function has been available on The Weather Company’s website for a while, the move will now tie in with real-time social marketing, as Curt Hecht, The Weather Company’s chief global revenue officer, explained:
People experience the weather that don’t use our properties, so this enables us to connect with them elsewhere. Our clients keep asking us to go off-property.
Twitter launches website remarketing tag
Twitter has launched a tag for website remarketing, allowing advertisers to target Promoted Tweets or Promoted Accounts to internet users who have already visited their website. Any advertiser who already has a tag for conversion tracking can use the new system, while new users can create one using the Twitter ads UI.
Facebook and Twitter add World Cup features
Facebook and Twitter have added specific features for the World Cup. The former has created a World Cup hub, featuring live scores, highlights and real-time posts from friends as well as relevant players and teams. There’s also an interactive map showing the locations of top players’ fans, while users can use the ‘watching’ feature to share specific matches.
Twitter is targeting users as soon as they sign up. New users will be able to choose which nation they’re supporting and select from a set of pre-made supporter profile pictures and cover photos. Its answer to the Facebook ‘World Cup hub’ is the #WorldCup timeline, which similarly shows relevant posts from your network alongside others deemed relevant. Hashflags are back, too: typing a specific country’s hashtag will bring up the national flag. Lovely stuff.
FIFA uses voting Twitter card
FIFA is using a Twitter card to display the results of its ‘Man of the Match’ votes after each game. It’s a pretty nifty little card, which you can click here to see, though for some reason the winner is always Qatar. How odd.
Visa looks to social for World Cup campaigns
Visa is looking to get the most out of its World Cup sponsorship with a variety of campaigns across social. It has created the ‘Teletransporter’, in which fans can add a picture of themselves to football characters to create a sharable video, as well as a number of videos, one of which is included below. The brand has also employed ambassadors to create social content on its behalf, and will be ensuring that it supports all this with strong targeting and mobile optimisation.
Coca Cola creates World Cup selfie montage
Coca Cola created a photomosaic flag for last week’s World Cup opening, made up of233,206 socially-sourced selfies from across the world, all draped across the field. Here’s James Sommerville, VP-global design at Coca-Cola, talking about the campaign.
Hyundai develops World Cup microsite
Another World Cup sponsor, Hyundai, has created a Tumblr-powered microsite dubbed #BecauseFutbol. The page is set to contain 120 pieces of original art, which site visitors can remix or use to create new artwork and share on social media. Hyundai is supporting the activity with the below Times Square billboard.
Twitter used for presidential election campaigns in Indonesia
According to Twitter, Indonesia has nearly 20 million active users and Jakarta is the number one city in terms of the number of tweets generated (2.4% of all tweets come from Jakarta). Most of these Indonesian Twitter users are first time voters aged between 16 and 20. This demographic accounts for over one-third of 187 million eligible voters in 2014 elections. The youth population are always connected online and active on social media. In this election year alone, 42.1 million tweets related to the election were generated, up 36 percent compared to last year. Seeing an opportunity to tap into Twitter for presidential elections in July 9th, Peter Greenberger, director of political advertising for Twitter visited Indonesia to meet presidential candidates to talk about how they could use Twitter more effectively in their campaigns. Presidential contenders, Jakarta governor Joko Widodo and ex-general Prabowo Subianto have 1.5 million followers and 808,000 Twitter followers respectively. We will wait to see how Twitter plays a role to shape the political landscape in Indonesia.
Line to remove 20 gaming apps to focus on what’s working
With 400 million registered users, Line is one of the largest messaging apps in the market. The app has indicated plans to remove one-third of gaming apps (20) from its platform. This move is geared towards focusing its resources on apps that are achieving greater success, with hopes to “further propel the service as a global gaming platform.” Gaming revenue was $143 million for its most recent quarter, through 300 million downloads worldwide. This constitutes more than 60 percent of Line’s total revenue. Therefore, it seems reasonable to halt those apps that are losing popularity. Line has promised a refund for users who have purchased the games that will cease operations. However, Line has yet to decide whether to roll out replacement gaming apps or continue with its remaining gaming apps.
Facebook responds to organic reach questions
Facebook has released a statement explaining its decreasing organic reach, offering two key reasons: the huge volume of content on the network (a user could potentially be shown up to 1,500 stories per log in) and an attempt to increase News Feed relevance. The piece argues that they are not trying to make more money from paid ads and that fans still have a function – social context (i.e. seeing that your friend ‘likes’ an advertised page) reportedly drives 50% more recall and 35% higher online sales lift. For information on how to combat the changes, have a look at our full article on the subject.
Search ads have no measurable effect
Research conducted in the US by eBay, in conjunction with Berkeley and Chicago universities, has concluded that search ads have ‘no measurable benefit’. eBay customers were ‘unaffected by the presence of paid search advertising’, leading to questions about the medium’s future.
Facebook adds interactive video components
Facebook has added new interactive components to its standard video ads to increase their efficiency for lower-budget advertisers. The offering now includes a ‘video views’ option, allowing a company to serve ads to users more likely to watch them, such as those who have watched similar content before. It’s also now possible to add a call-to-action to a video, such as encouraging users to click through to a brand’s website.
Facebook rolls out new page design worldwide
Facebook has launched its new page design worldwide, which increases the similarity between pages and personal profiles. Admins will see a prompt to ‘take a tour’ of the changes and can then choose whether or not to make the switch. Regardless of their choice, the change will happen automatically two weeks after the tour is taken.
Instagram adds new photo-editing features
Instagram has added ten new features and updated seven, aimed at increasing the scope for photo-editing in-app. The new options include ‘Adjust, Brightness, Contrast, Warmth, Saturation, Highlights, Shadows, Vignette and Sharpen’.
LinkedIn updates paid profiles
LinkedIn has created a brand new image-centric profile layout, as you can see below. It’s only available to paid users for now, though – we’ll see if it’s enough to entice people currently using the service for free.
Pinterest creates self-serve ad auction
Pinterest is following its initial ad launch by creating a self-serve auction, aimed at small-to-medium businesses. Payment will be taken on a cost-per-click basis. Don Faul, Pinterest’s head of operations, explained how the auction works:
The ultimate price over time will be determined, as all auctions are, by how much competition and demand there is.
Tinder looks to increase interactions with ‘Moments’
Tinder has launched ‘Moments’, which it hopes will enrich interactions within the app. Users can share a picture, or ‘Moment’, with all their matches, who will be given the option to ‘like’ it or not, based on the normal left/right swipe mechanic. Once someone likes your photo, you can start chatting about it. Photos will disappear after 24 hours, which we’re sure nobody on Tinder will take advantage of in any way whatsoever.
Microsoft adds new apps to Xbox
Microsoft has announced that 45 new apps will be coming to Xbox One and Xbox 360before the end of the year. These include Vine and Twitter, the latter of which will be integrated into the console, such that users have the option to see tweets about TV content they’re watching or trending shows.
Foursquare brings ads to Swarm
Foursquare is integrating adverts into its new app, Swarm, to be served to users after they check in. So far, the ads (shown below) are set to be used by a number of brands, including Pepsi, P&G, Hennessy, Volvo and Shell.
Hellmann’s teaches cookery through WhatsApp
Mayonnaise brand, Hellmann’s, has created an app for its Brazilian consumers named WhatsCook, a live recipe service that allows users to speak to experts or professional chefs using WhatsApp. The feature takes full advantage of the ability to send images and videos through the platform.
Listerine is creating a World Cup newsroom
Mouthwash brand, Listerine, is sponsoring the World Cup for the first time this year, creating a campaign dubbed “Power To Your Mouth”. This will see a newsroom set up for the tournament, wherein the brand will create content for Facebook and Twitter based on events, and then bid for ads in real-time, based on which posts receive the most engagement.
World No Smoking Day Vines
Anti-smoking charity, Quit, created a campaign for World No Tobacco Day, with three different looping Vines, each displaying a different demographic group of smoker. Each one ends with the simple line “before this video starts again, another smoker will die”.
Lego embraces social video Lego has made its first foray into the world of social video, producing a Vine and an Instagram video. Each focusses around a shy ‘mixel’ named Seismo.
IHG and Coca-Cola launch Instagram competition InterContinental Hotel Group and Coca-Cola have teamed up to produce a summer campaign, which asks entrants to pitch their most creative story ideas in a 15-second Instagram video for the chance to meet Hollywood actor, Josh Lucas. IHG will support the campaign with a set of video kiosks, explained in the below video by Adweek.
Jack Daniel’s creates smartphone photo competition Jack Daniel’s is asking customers to post pictures of their summer experiences through various social sites, in fitting with a set of weekly challenges. Two prizes will be dished out each week, one chosen by judges and the other by a public vote. The campaign looks to promote Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, aimed at a younger audience than its core product. Asos celebrates an #EpicSummer with Mastercard Asos and Mastercard have joined forces to create a campaign dubbed #EpicSummer, which asks twenty-somethings to share pictures on Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag. Prizes include concert tickets and an Asos shopping spree.
Newcastle Brown Ale paying for followers Newcastle Brown Ale is continuing its ‘No Bollocks’ attitude with a campaign that offers $1 to the first 50,000 people to follow the brand on Twitter. Why? Well, why “endure the unsolicited marketing of other beer brands for free when you can endure Newcastle’s unsolicited marketing and get paid?”
Ben & Jerry’s offers ice cream for tweets Ben & Jerry’s, the ice cream brand, went ‘cruising’ around the streets of Washington D.C. last week, offering free ice cream. All residents had to do was tweet the brand, telling them where they’d like the truck to stop.
— Ben & Jerry’s Truck (@BenJerrysTruck) May 29, 2014
Bashar Al-Assad promotes Facebook posts
Promoted posts from Syria’s president, Bashar Al-Assad, were spotted on Facebook last week. A number of people objected, including The Syria Campaign, which has demanded the network donate any money it received from the posts to Syrian children. The organisation has created the below replica of Facebook to direct people to a petition.
The CIA launches on social
In a story that may or may not be linked to the above, the CIA has launched accounts on Facebook and Twitter. It’s taken a humorous approach, causing something of a Twitter frenzy – the account has amassed almost 600,000 followers already.
We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet.
— CIA (@CIA) June 6, 2014
CABCY video gets shorter as it’s shared
Singapore’s ‘Coalition Against Bullying for Children and Youth’ has created a social video with a real sharing incentive. The video, originally 100 seconds long, shows a child in distress. It gets shorter and shorter each time it is shared on Facebook, and is accompanied by the tagline ‘Share it to End it’.
Facebook passes 100m users in India
India is now Facebook’s second largest national market (after the US), as the network passed 100 million users there. It expects further rapid growth as it increases its mobile focus in a country where eight in 10 users are mobile.
Yelp launches in Japan, its second market in Asia
Community-sourced restaurant review site Yelp has formally launched in Japan. This is its second entry into Asia, after Singapore in 2012, and the 26th country to receive Yelp. Opening in Japan comes with its own unique set of hurdles, such as the handling of the character set, as well as competing against popular review site Tabelog.
Just 5% of users contribute to 90% of all Weibo posts
According to a study, Chinese microblogging platform Weibo was found to have a sizeable content gap between its users. Only 10 million users post original content, while the other two hundred million other users are made up of spam or empty accounts, or users who just repost others’ content. Reasons for the small percentage could be due to the large amount of spam accounts, or competitors such as WeChat gaining popularity in China.
Xiaomi’s social media strategy drives fan loyalty
Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has a fiercely loyal fanbase, and a lot of this lies in the way it engages its fans and customers with social media. Xiaomi uses social media in several ways – to drum up excitement about its flash sales, as well as engaging fans and customers in an informal and playful manner, much like how friends speak to each other. Its recent Mi Fan Festival saw 1.3 million handsets sold across China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore, raking in CNY1.5 billion (SGD302 million).
Facebook and YouTube launch unique add-ons for India Elections 2014
For the 16th Lok Sabha Elections, Facebook has launched a ‘I’m a Voter’ button for its users in India, which allows users to post their voting stories on their timeline, sharing with friends that they are voting in this election. YouTube has also launched a India Elections 2014 page, which has garnered over a thousand subscribers. The page features a curated list of videos, aimed at providing a one-stop source of news on the elections.
Most social networks are predominantly mobile
The 2014 US Digital Future in Focus Report has been released, with interesting figures about the growth of mobile and social. Of major social networks, only two (Tumblr and LinkedIn) are predominantly desktop (among US users aged 18 and up).
Snapchat, Vine and Instagram are, as expected, the most ‘mobile-first’ social networks, each seeing almost all of their traffic from non-desktop devices. The three sites have grown their unique visitors figures significantly between February and December 2013 – Instagram by 43%, Vine by 515% and Snapchat by 234%.
Most social content is shared from mobile
It’s not just user growth where mobile is steaming ahead, but also the volume of shared content. Of everything shared to social networks in Q1 2014, 52% came from a mobile device, compared with 48% from desktop. This resulted from much stronger volume growth on mobile: 28% against desktop’s 11%.
Photos are most popular Facebook content for brands
Despite Facebook pushing brands to use links, it’s clear that photo posts remain the most popular content type for brands on the network. Analysis of over 30,000 brand posts found that 75% were photo posts, followed by just 10% including a link.
This is perhaps no wonder, when we look at the most engaging content types: photo posts make up 87% of the top 10% of branded content.
Facebook to remove messenger from mobile app
In an attempt to keep up with standalone messaging apps, Facebook is planning toremove the ‘Messenger’ function in its main mobile app, forcing users to either download the standalone app or lose the service entirely.
Facebook launches new ads as prices increase
As brand pages’ organic reach has dropped throughout Q1, Facebook ad prices have increased by 10%. This news comes as Facebook has announced a new format for ads in the right hand bar; the network has claimed that these will increase engagement and allow brands to use the same image for News Feed and right-hand bar ads.
Facebook looks to reduce News Feed spam
Facebook is making some changes to its News Feed algorithm that will decrease the reach of certain types of content, each of which is considered ‘spammy’. The initial targets of these changes are:
1. Pages that repeatedly post images asking for likes, comments and shares
2. Frequently-circulated content that users have already seen
3. Spammy links that bring users to pages full of ads
Facebook has looked to reassure pages that this is unlikely to negatively affect their reach; it states that most publishers are not posting ‘spam’ and should instead expect to see their reach increase slightly.
Facebook is updating privacy settings
Facebook is attempting to make its privacy options clearer to users with a series of tests. As can be seen below, the iOS app will include details of who can see any post above the publishing box (left), while desktop users will notice a change to the drop down menu (right).
There will also be pop-up messages for users who haven’t updated their preferences in a while, straight from the mouth of the privacy dinosaur.
Twitter renovates profiles
It’s all change in the world of Twitter this week, as the platform announced a complete overhaul of users’ profiles on desktop. Changes include a larger profile picture, customisable header, and the ability to pin a particular tweet to the top of your profile (though it’s worth noting that this will only be available for free to certain high-profile users or paying accounts). A user’s more engaging tweets will now appear larger on their profile, too. The new style, which is in the process of being rolled out, can be seen here:
Some brands have already begun using the new design. The below, for example, displays Skype’s videos – users can now filter tweets to see just photos or videos.
The move is being seen as part of a larger attempt to make the network more accessible for the less tech-savvy among us; technical ‘jargon’ like RT and @replies may be at threat, while the network looks to concentrate more on video/images and add emoji functionality. Users are beginning to get notifications on Twitter.com, too, which are fully customisable; anyone can choose what actions they get notified about. All of this, along with the design of the above profiles, has led to a number of comparisons with Facebook and rumours of a ‘land grab’. Watch this space.
Twitter adds 15 new ad types
Twitter will also be ramping up their ad offering, with news that they’re planning 15 new types of ad, such an ‘app-install unit’. This news comes at a similar time to figures that suggest Twitter’s ads receive a higher click-through rate than Facebook’s. Advertisers still spend a lot more on Facebook advertising, as we can see here:
Moreover, Facebook ads reach much further than their Twitter equivalents. Twitter may get higher click-through rates, but Facebook still earns a much higher volume of clicks and impressions.
LinkedIn removes ‘Products & Services’ tab
LinkedIn has today removed the ‘Products & Services’ tab from company pages. The network has proposed two different ways around this for brands: they can discuss their offerings in either company updates or the ‘showcase’ pages that LinkedIn has designed for this purpose.
Disqus introduces ‘Sponsored Comments’
Disqus, the commenting platform used by many popular blogs (including this one), has this week launched a native ad product, known as ‘Sponsored Comments’. It launched the new unit in a blog post, in which it looked to reassure users that it would maintain the quality of their experience. The adverts will appear as follows:
Unilever’s multi-brand YouTube channel
Unilever is launching a multi-brand YouTube channel, named ‘All Things Hair’. Brands including Toni & Guy, Dove and VO5 will all host content on the channel, which is taking much of its content from famous video bloggers.
Oreo brings Snack Hacks to online video
Oreo has launched a series of web videos dubbed ‘Snack Hacks’, which showcase unusual ways of eating the snack. After asking Twitter followers to discuss their favourite #OreoSnackHacks, the brand has since taken the campaign to the next level and produced content of its own. One example, featuring celebrity chef Roy Choi, is presented in this video.
Peter Griffin is now on Instagram
American cartoon, ‘Family Guy’, has created an Instagram account for its protagonist, Peter Griffin, to drive downloads of a new mobile game based on the series.
WWF creates Snapchat campaign
The World Wildlife Fund is using a Snapchat campaign to raise awareness about endangered species. Dubbed #LastSelfie, the campaign plays on the trend for a constant stream of self-taken photographs on the platform.
Following on from We Are Social’s hugely popular Social, Digital and Mobile Worldwide in 2014 report from last week, we’re very pleased to share an even more detailed look at the online landscape around the Asia-Pacific region.
It also turns out that a week can make a big difference when it comes to online data; in the past 7 days, and with the help of some of the 200,000 people who’ve viewed our Global report, we’ve found some even fresher stats to the ones we published in last week’s report.
These new discoveries have had a particular impact on India’s stats, where figures for internet users have changed from 151 million to 213 million. Internet figures for Indonesia have also almost doubled, to 72.7 million.
These changes have had a significant impact on the regional and global totals too, so we’ll begin with a refreshed look at the stats from the very top.
The Global Picture
Following revisions to a number of countries, the number of worldwide internet users now exceeds 2.64 billion, representing global penetration of 37%:
Following our report last week, we also received a number of queries regarding the difference between mobile subscriptions and actual mobile users, so we’re delighted to be able include a new chart comparing the two in this report.
We’ve teamed up with the wonderful team at GSMA Intelligence for this, and they’ve been kind enough to let us share this valuable data in the report – here’s the APAC picture:
In order to understand the context in which people use mobile devices, it’s also important to understand how people pay for their subscriptions (contracts), and whether they have access to potentially faster mobile data connections.
The chart below offers more detail on both these areas, detailing how many people have pre- vs post-paid contracts, and using 3G as a proxy for the likelihood people could access faster internet if they chose to take out a relevant mobile data plan:
Asia-Pacific In Context
APAC is home to almost 3.9 billion people, accounting for just under 55% of the total world population. The region hosts just under half the world’s Internet users, and 52.2% of the world’s active social media users:
click to enlarge
Although internet user data for a number of countries around the region hasn’t been updated as recently as we’d hoped, APAC has still shown impressive growth in recent months, with Asian countries alone adding more than 150 million new users since our previous report in October 2012 – many of which were in India and Indonesia:
However, internet access is still far from a universal reality around APAC, and penetration rates in some countries remain surprisingly low:
It’s interesting to see how the average number of hours spent on the internet varies around the region too, both in terms of desktop / laptop access, as well as the time spent on the mobile web:
It’s important to note that the figures in the chart above are based on claimed time spent on the internet, rather than on actual traffic. This has two important consequences:
- The data will, in part, reveal the story that people choose to tell about their internet use, rather than the exact number of minutes they spend connected
- However, in a similar way, this ‘claimed’ data helps to avoid over-counting internet usage when someone is connected to the internet, but not actually making use of it (e.g. the browser is open in the background while someone works on another, non-internet related application).
- There may also be some variations across cultures in what people consider ‘internet’ access. For example, someone who streams music through a service like Spotify for the whole day may not consider this ‘time spent on the internet’, even if we could argue the opposite is also true.
2013 was an impressive year of growth across almost every aspect of the social media world in APAC, with chat apps in particular seeing stunning growth thanks to platforms like WeChat, LINE, and Kakaotalk.
We’ve chose to focus on social networks for this report’s data though, as they continue to offer the greater opportunity for marketers.
User figures and penetration rates for social networks still vary hugely around the region, but the overall trend is definitely upwards (note that MAU stands for Monthly Active Users):
It’s worth highlighting that the figures for social media penetration often exceed those for internet penetration, especially in fast-evolving markets. There may be a number of reasons for this:
- Social media stats are almost always more up to date than those for internet usage, largely because they are collected by a commercial entity on an on-going basis and published at least quarterly to help with advertising sales. In Facebook’s case, the monthly active user figures are available in almost real-time.
- Many reports on internet usage and penetration omit mobile internet usage, meaning many mobile-only users aren’t included in the figures (partly because they’re more difficult to identify). In many emerging markets – particularly places like Indonesia or Myanmar – mobile-only use can account for a significant proportion of internet use. People accessing social media through mobile devices will be counted, however, meaning social media numbers are often a more accurate indication of actual internet use and penetration in these markets.
- On the other hand, some people may have multiple social media accounts on the same platform, leading to a slight skew in the data, although we don’t anticipate this is the main cause for the difference between internet and social media usage numbers.
We’ve also changed the way we report user numbers in this year’s report compared to our previous report in 2012, and we now only report monthly active user numbers (MAUs) for any given platform. This ensures a more reliable and actionable data set, and ensures organisations using the data have the most up-to-date picture of people’s preferences and behaviour throughout the region.
Facebook’s MAUs continued to grow across the region over the past year, adding 54 million by January 2014 in Asian countries alone (excluding countries in Oceania like Australia and New Zealand).
China’s Qzone added 25 million MAUs too, meaning that overall growth around the region is somewhere in the region of 80 million new active users – almost 10% growth year-on-year.
We opted not to include chat apps like WeChat, WhatsApp, LINE and Kakaotalk in this year’s analysis for a couple of reasons:
- The way that people use these platforms remains largely one-to-one, so they offer less of an obvious mass engagement channel for brands compared to platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Weibo (although we recongise that this is changing, especially with tweaks to WeChat’s platform);
- The companies who operate these platforms tend not to publish monthly active user figures, and where they do, they aren’t broken down by country, making it very difficult for us to attribute usage by country.
However, for handy reference, the global user figures for each of the region’s largest chat apps are as follows:
- WhatsApp: 400 million monthly active users worldwide
- WeChat (Weixin): 270 million monthly active users worldwide
- LINE: 300 million total registered users worldwide
- Kakaotalk: 130 million total registered users worldwide
We’re pleased to offer time spent on social media for many of the region’s larger economies too, thanks to some great data from GlobalWebIndex’s Active Usage: Time Spent study, which they’ve kindly allowed us to share. You can find out more about this study here.
As with the time spent on the internet chart above, this data is based on claimed usage rather than actual traffic information. This again means that data may be coloured by the story people wish to tell about themselves, but at the same time, it also helps to avoid over-counting time where people have social media open in the background.
Based on our qualitative research, many people keep social networks open throughout the day in a distinct browser tab or tool like Tweetdeck, but do not necessarily spend all that time actively engaging with the platform itself, so the data above should be used in conjunction with traffic-based numbers (where available) to paint a multi-dimensional picture of people’s behaviour.
It’s interesting to explore the above chart in the context of the societal norms of each country too; it appears that the time spent on social media is determined as much by a nation’s culture as it is by the speed or ease of internet access. In many countries where fast internet access is still a luxury, people still spend many hours engaging with social media, highlighting once again that social media are playing a huge part in the growth and evolution of the online landscape in APAC.
However, to enrich this story, it’s worth looking at the infrastructural elements too. Mobile devices play a huge role in Asia’s social media scene, so we’ve added an extra data set to this report to illustrate mobile social access in more detail:
The number of mobile subscriptions in APAC continue to grow steadily in the past 15 months, with Asian countries alone adding more than 200 million new subscriptions since our previous report in October 2012.
Although it’s likely that some of these new subscriptions constitute second subscriptions (e.g. an additional contract for work or personal use), the importance of mobile devices even in the region’s less developed nations highlights the critical role mobile plays in people’s daily lives in APAC.
While it can be tricky to identify the exact number of people accessing the internet through mobile devices, we have identified reliable data for two important indicators that offer valuable insights: mobile broadband subscriptions, and people accessing social media through mobile devices:
It’s particularly interesting to note that the proportion of the population accessing social media through a mobile device is much higher than the penetration of mobile broadband, suggesting that many people continue to access social media through slower mobile connections.
You’ll find this data broken down for each country around the region in the full report.
The Individual Country Story
We’re delighted to announce that we now have social media and mobile data for every Asian country, as well as 4 key nations in Oceania.
Major additions to this year’s report are North Korea and Myanmar, and although the numbers aren’t likely to challenge China’s position as the dominant digital player in the region, it’s very exciting to see how online media are helping to open up some of the world’s most secretive nations.
In particular, Myanmar – or Burma, if you prefer – has surprised us with the sheer speed of growth, particularly when it comes to social media. From a country where Facebook was technically blocked barely 12 months ago, this Southeast Asian country now boasts well over 1 million Facebook users, and is still growing at an impressive rate:
Despite these impressive numbers though, this still represents a social media penetration of just 2% in Myanmar, so there’s clearly plenty more potential for growth as the country continues its journey towards a fully open approach to the internet.
Even mobile subscriptions struggle to reach double-digit penetration, while the internet – albeit based mostly on fixed-line figures – languishes at just 1%.
However, 2014 looks like a promising year for Myanmar’s online landscape, and we’re looking forward to plenty more good news from them in the months to come.
The story in North Korea remains less clear; with the internet still officially blocked in the world’s most reclusive nation, it’s difficult to get a clear picture of what’s going on. However, Facebook themselves state that they now have 8,200 users within the North Asian state, 4,600 of whom access through mobile devices:
It’s unclear how many of these users are actually North Korean citizens though, and we suspect that a significant proportion may be foreign nationals based in the country.
However, the fact that it is even possible for these people to access Facebook from within North Korea represents a step forward compared to the situation this time last year, so we’ll take that as a glimmer of hope for 2014.
We’ve also included data for Timor-Leste, which, although still small in absolute numbers, represents another reason for optimism, given the young country’s recent history.
East Timor’s social media population in particular is growing steadily, with 6% of the population – or 76,000 people – using Facebook at least once in the past month:
As with many emerging economies, the numbers for internet usage in Timor-Leste are far lower than those for social media, mainly because it’s harder to measure the exact number of people accessing the internet.
Many people still access from shared devices in internet cafés or in places of work, and data is often collected by surveys that have taken quite some time to gather, analyse and publish.
Social media figures such as those made available by Facebook are almost real-time though, offering a more up-to-date and accurate picture of the online landscape within these fast-evolving digital ecosystems.
Excitingly, mobile phone subscriptions have already surpassed 50% penetration in Timor-Leste too, meaning many more people now have the opportunity to connect to the internet as soon as affordable mobile data plans become available.
Alongside figures for Australia and New Zealand, we’re also pleased to present some initial figures for Fiji and Papua New Guinea. Both nations play an important role in understanding the broader picture across Pacific nations, and the stories their data snapshots tell reveal some interesting insights:
Fiji already demonstrates relatively strong internet and social media penetration figures, surpassing the regional average in both areas.
Meanwhile, Papua New Guinea still has plenty of potential for growth, with barely 4% of the population using Facebook in the past month. However, with mobile subscription penetration of 42%, it’s clear that Papuans have an increasing digital opportunity, and we’re confident these figures will all grow considerably during 2014.
We’re also pleased to share statistics on mobile social behaviour for all 30 countries in this study, ensuring marketers have a solid understanding of the opportunities to engage their audiences in a variety of settings and contexts – here are some example stats for Indonesia:
As mobile increasingly becomes our predominant means of accessing online services and content, it’s likely that Asia-Pacific will continue to lead the world in defining the future of the online landscape.
The India Changes
Finally, given the major changes in internet user numbers since last week’s report, here’s how the individual country situation looks today:
So there you have it – another week, another bumper collection of stats. Do get in touch if you’d like some help making sense of these numbers, or turning them into part of an actionable strategy.
Be sure to check back to our blog for more updates in the coming weeks too – given how quickly the data seems to be changing, it’s clear 2014 is going to be another vintage year for online growth. We’re already looking forward to next year’s APAC report!
Sources for all the above data are listed in the full report. We’d especially like to thank GlobalWebIndex and GSMA Intelligence for their help in providing data for these reports, and for allowing us to publish their valuable data.
UPDATE: We’ve amended this post, and some slides in the original report, due to a request from one of our data partners.