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CPG and retail marketers looking to connect their brands to consumers online will increase their chances of success if they focus on blogs and social network sites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.
That’s because two-thirds (66.8%) of the global online population visit ‘member communities’ (blogs and social networks) a lot; Internet users worldwide spend one out of every 11 minutes at these sites.
They are now the fourth-most popular online activity—ahead of personal e-mail (65.1%)—according to the new Nielsen Global Faces and Networked Places report on social networking’s new global footprint.
The three most popular sectors are: search (85.9%), general interest portals and communities (85.2%) and software manufacturers (73.4%). But by far the fastest-growing is ‘member communities,’ up 5.4 percentage points by December 2008 over the prior year. That growth is twice the 2.7% increase of e-mail and roughly triple the rate of the other top sectors, showed the Nielsen Online Global Index.
Therefore, brand image in this online realm could quickly affect how consumers relate and buy—or not buy—specific brands in the offline or online worlds. Some brands, like Skittles, Pepsi, Jack in the Box, and Whole Foods, have ventured into ‘member communities’ space with varying degrees of success. Most CPG brands have yet to follow. (See SupermarketGuru.com, March 16, 2009 posting, “Will food brands find success recipe in social media?”)
International brands will have lots to ponder in this 16-page Nielsen study, which yields insights into the changing size and audience composition of the global social networking audience, and the rising share of Internet time for which it accounts. Some key findings include: • The social networking and blogging audience is more age-diverse; those between 35 and 49 made up the fastest-growing group of visitors, up 11.3 million people. • Mobile is increasingly important. Nearly 1 in 4 (23%, or 2 million) of mobile users in the United Kingdom visited a social network through their handset, up 249% over a year ago. In the United States, 19% or 10.6 million had done so, up 156% over the year-earlier period. • Facebook, the world’s most popular social network, is visited monthly by three in every 10 people across markets involved in the study—Brazil, Spain, Italy, Japan, UK, USA, France, Australia, Germany and Switzerland. • Orkut in Brazil has the largest domestic online reach (70%) of any social network in these markets.