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10 April 2012 , archivado en la(s) categoría(s) Articles.

4th Annual Observatory of Social Networks: Brands Begin to Experience Limits

Today we are publishing the 4th Annual Observatory of Social Networks that analyzes the evoltion of social communities and networks since 2008 amongst Spanish internet users, focusing in on and the habits and attitudes towards these online social spaces.

  • Brands are accepted in social networks, but consumers place conditions on it: not everything is acceptable. Abusive uses of personal information, excessive brand presence, an inadequate tone produce rejection from users. Additionally, these networks are not seen as a preferential point of contact with the brand (whether it’s for customer service, information or buying). A strong rejection is observed for all social e-commerce.
  • The big social networks (Facebook, Twitter and Tuenti) maintain their prominent role, alongside newcomers (Google+, Instagram, Tumblr).
  • Progressive sophistication of users due to a consolidated trajectory, the appearance of new SNs and the evermore frequent and intense access in new devices (smartphones and tablets). This dynamic obliges greater care with one’s “digital presence”: which contacts one has in each SN, what one says and does, what role one plays in front of others...

This year, in addition to following up on the most relevant indicators from previous years, attitude of the users towards the presence of brands in social networks was studied as well as how “Social Commerce” (buying products or services through Facebook) is being received.

Main findings:

  1. 1. Sophistication of users: more networks, more uses, more points of contact (smartphones and tablets).
  2. After the consolidation of the previous year, this wave has arrived to near universalization of social networks, where 91% of the Spanish internet-using population have active accounts, with an average of 2.31 networks per person. This situation is complimented with a very low rate of abandonment.

    Access to social networks on the go is widespread thanks to a greater presence of smartphones: 6 out of 10 use the internet on their mobile phone and 55% of these access social networks (with both concepts rising more than 30% from the year before).

  3. 2. The moment for the main social networks: Facebook, Twitter and Tuenti.
  4. If we look at the principal social networks we find that Facebook dominates, reaching 85% of internet users, while Tuenti (36%) stays at a standstill (with a similar penetration to that of the previous year) and Twitter (32%) experiences an important growth and becomes the network with the third greatest penetration.

    Facebook is described as a social network that is difficult to leave: beyond real use and intentions of leaving it, internet users with active accounts feel there are too many reasons to stay (all the personal contacts, features and contents, access points for other media...) and that have a lot to lose if they don’t use it. At the same time, its success makes it less attractive: a feeling of spontaneity is lost due to the presence of very different types of contacts, interest in simple social relationships and there is growing criticism of the difficulty of managing privacy.

    Twitter appears as the fashionable network thanks to the presence of celebrities and the massive arrival of young people behind them.

     Tuenti continues to be thesocial network preferred by the youngest sector, associated with fun and a lack of inhibition. Nonetheless, it seems to be stuck in a standstill with its loss of aspirational qualities as users grow older and the appeal of Facebook and Twitter (with greater media presence, other features and relevant offers).

    Other social platforms (Google+, Instagram, Tumblr) show an emerging presence, although their positioning is still not solid, and they respond to motivations and interests of some segments. The case of Google+ (with 16% penetration) turns out to be more ambivalent, since although it has generated a great notoriety, those that have tried it out are not finding sufficient clear motives for using it.

  5. 3. Brands in social networks: accepted with certain limitations. It makes sense to avoid marketing euphoria.
  6. Facebook is the social network where the role of brands is most relevant: 65% of those that have active accounts follow brands, and the average is 2.3 brands per person. In Twitter brand follows drop to 33% with the average number of brands followed being 2.16. In Tuenti there is less brand presence with 32% users following brands and only 1.38 being the average number of brands followed.

    The presence of the brands feels natural for consumers since it is a free medium (that has to received financing) and where they are a natural conversation subject (what’s new, products they like, commercials, etc.). Nevertheless, to etablish a relationship with them tangible benefits are demanded as well as avoiding a series of elements that will result in rejection: being intrusive in regards to personal data, excessive presence of publicity of updates and an inadequate communication tone (too informal, not credible, too institutional, very distant).

    There is limited awareness of Facebook Commerce, with 6 in 10 not knowing about Facebook stores and only 1 in 20 stating that they had bought something in one of them. Additionally, certain confusion is detected (links to shops where you can buy) and overall strong barriers to use are shown: it isn’t considered an adequate place to buy, it isn’t trusted and there are no clear benefits to motivate use.

    Social networks seem to operate as a space that generates a first approach to products or brands. They are not used to go deeper (for that brand websites and even forums and blogs are preferred), but the comments of peers help in the process of discovering new products/services. It is noteworthy that 34% of social network users have bought some technological product derived from a comment that a contact made, 24% bought some fashion-related product and 21% some product or service from a telecom.

    The complete report (in Spanish) is available here:

    METHODOLOGY

     This forth annual Observatory is based on 1,304 surveys of internet users from the age of 16 to 45 years old and 26 in-depth interviews. This study was sponsored by BBVA.

    We leave you with an article from the Spanish newspaper El País about the social networks preferred by Spanish users
    using data from this.

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