Lots of businesses are now seeing the power of international geo-targeting for their offerings, creating sub folders and designing landing pages for each market. Apple.com do a great job of this with a huge list of targeted subfolders, all created to market to that specific country.
Though companies are getting to grips with international SEO, very few tend to set up international social accounts and are missing out on strong marketing channels. China and Russia are the obvious regions worth exploring, both having rapidly expanding internet user growth and social media penetration. While Brazil has been dubbed "the new social media capital of the universe" with an estimated 79 Million people actively using social media. Though Facebook is the largest network in the world (as seen below), many countries have their own social networks with millions of users and open to Western brands and social media advertising.
Below is our guide to social media platforms in countries outside of the US with strong social media penetration.
According to Office for National Statistics, Social networking is an increasingly popular activity in the UK with half the adult population actively using a social platform. This degree of popularity is illustrated by ONS' European survey results which reveal that the UK is one of the leading countries across the EU in terms of the take-up of social networking. The UK has the second highest proportion of social networkers in the EU - this is true for both social networking in general and social networking via a mobile device.
Below are the top social media platform in UK:
- Facebook - Its growth period has clearly come to an end, with Comscore reporting an end of december 2013 user base of just over 31M. Although there are still approximately 2.5 million 13-17 year olds using the site. The largest demographic remains the 25-34 year olds, with just under 26% of all users falling into this age bracket.
- Twitter - Twitters outgoing CEO announced a figure of 15m users in the UK last September. Growth remains steady with an estimated 15M users by the end of 2013. 80% of Twitter users in UK are active on mobiledevices , the majority of these likely to be Smartphone users.
- LinkedIn - LinkedIn, the business network had 10M+ active users in the UK by the end of 2013.
- Pinterest - One of the biggest growers. Pinterest's growth has been steady in the UK from 200,000 users 2011/early 2012 to over two million, at July 2013.
- Instagram - Instagram also continues to show good growth, with 200 million global users in late 2013. Instagram have not released any UK specific data.
- Snapchat and WhasApp are the newest platforms being talked about in 2014 - particularly amongst the youngest demographic (13-20).
In the recent social media infographics made by Go Globe, China has an estimated 597 million people active on social networks. The data also shows that the largest section of China's social media users are aged 26 to 30 (30%). As a whole, 91 percent of Chinese netizens have social accounts, which is way above the 67% in the US.
China's social media platforms are all monitored by The Great Firewall, known as the 'The Golden Shield Project'. Each social media platform in China has to manually monitor every piece of content being uploaded to ensure it complies with Chinese internet regulations.
"the self-censorship by content providers, who must make judgment calls on what needs to be censored in order to stay in the governments good graces, and self-censorship by users, who face the threat of being detained and punished for anti-government posts"
(Jason Q NG, Social Media Analyst)
Here's are the most popular social networks in China:
- Tecent & Sina Weibo - In second and third place are the Twitter clones, Tencent Weibo and Sina Weibo. The latter gets most of the media attention, both in China and around the world.
- Facebook clones - Four of the sites are a lot like Facebook. Tencents QZone, Tencents Pengyou, Renren, and Kaixin are all focused around a mix of social profiles, albums, buddies, and social gaming. These platforms have seen a decline over the past year as mobile test apps become popular. Qzone is now thought to be the 3rd largest social network in the world after Facebook and Youtube.
- Wechat - The much talked about WeChat is like Whatsapp, and is one of a number of Asia-made messaging apps " like Line and KakaoTalk " that are battling to get onto the smartphones of young Chinese and Southeast Asian web users.
- Youku Tudou - Video platform which now gets 500 millions uniques per month. The platform is similar to Youtube, but the content tends to be professionally produced.
All the above platforms offer paid promotion opportunities once official accounts have been created.
Based on online reports, Russia's online population has steadily grown to 56 million visitors, with 85% of them using social media. The Kremlin is slowly getting a tighter grip on social media platforms as VK.com was used to arrange anti-Putin protests.
Here are the top 5 Russian social media platforms:
- VKontakte (VK) - 49 Million active users and 239 Million accounts. VK is a Facebook like platform and is the second largest in Europe. VK.com is now owned by mail.ru and Putin friendly CEOs happy to give up user data.
- Odnoklassniki - 37+ Million active users and 148 Million accounts, Similar to classmates.com connecting school friends
- MoiMir - Brings together mail.ru custoners in one platform
- LiveJournal - Blogging platform with 3 million active accounts
- Rutube - The top video platform in Russia with and estimated 30 million unique visitors per month.
- Facebook - 4th most used network. Russian parliament recently passed a bill to try and ban Tech firms from operating if they did not store their data in Russia. Once Putin took control of VK.com a huge amount of users shifted to Facebook, ironically for more privacy.
- Twitter - 10 million users and growing rapidly in the main cities. Lots of Western brands are doing well in Russia on Twitter as show by Socialbakers stats
All the above platforms offer advertising to marketers. Contextual ads can be placed on these neworks via direct.Yandex
Brazil was dubbed as "the social media capital of the universe" by the Wall Street Journal. Brazil is undoubtedly an enticing prospect for companies seeking to expand and broaden their audience and an exciting market to watch. 79% of Brazilian Internet users (some 78 million people) are now on social media, according to a newly released report from analysts eMarkeer.
- Facebook - Brazil already counts 65 million Facebook users, second only to the U.S. Its the worlds second-biggest user of Twitter (with 41.2 million tweeters and counting) and the largest market outside the U.S. for YouTube. Meanwhile, a range of homegrown and foreign networks - from Google-owned Orkut to Ask.fm - keep social media users logged in for 9.7 hours a month, according to a 2013 comScore report. Plus ll signs indicate Brazil is just hitting its social stride. Average time spent on Facebook among Brazilians increased 208 percent last year, to 535 minutes per month. By comparison, global use declined by 2 percent during the same period.
- LinkedIn- In October 2012 the professional networking site was reaching more than 10 million people in Brazil. In looking at the comScore numbers, LinkedIn went from 3.6 million total unique visitors in October 2011 to 9.6 million in October 2012, a gain of 166% in the Brazilian market
- Orkut - Although suffered a huge drops, Orkut still one of the most visited social media site in Brazil. In October 2011, Okurt hits 39 millions views however in 2012 it only records 14.9m visits"thats 58% drop off while Facebook grew by 30% in Brazil between October 2011 and October 2012.
- Twitter - Also drops significantly but still in #4 spot in terms of social media rank in Brazil. In October 2012 and had 9.2 million unique visitors from Brazil in that month, its dropped quite a bit compared to October 2011, when it had 13.3 million.
- Ask.fm, Tumblr, Scribd and Pinterest Are Growing Strongly" Ask.fm has exploded in Brazil, with nearly 8 million unique visitors in October 2012. Its now the #5 social site in the country. Pinterest drew just 16,000 unique visitors from Brazil in October 2011 but has now pulling in 499,000 visitors a month. Overall it ranks at #21 among social sites in Brazil, but the growth is worth noting for social media marketers. Micro blogging site Tumblr went from 4 million total unique visitors in Brazil in October 2011 to 5.6 million the following year. Finally, document-sharing website Scribd went from 740,000 unique Brazilian visitors in October 2011 to more than 2 million in October 2012 according to Latin Link reports.
Japan is one of the few countries that had managed to keep local social networks more popular than Facebook, but now this is changing. Unlike Linkedin who started their Japanese services in October last year, Facebook had their Japanese version online back in 2008.
The local Market leader Mixi partnered Twitter in 2011 to compete against Facebook.
The following list looks at the top 6 social networks in Japan:
- Mixi (25million). Launched in February 2004 is the biggest social networking site in Japan.
- Facebook (16 million).Facebook has shown strong growth in Japan, with active users increasing to 16.7 million, 300 percent up from last year. Facebook has made progress recently as a business network among Japanese - rather than LinkedIn, which is popular overseas.
- Gree (29 million). Gree has 190M user accounts globally, with overseas operations in nine countries. The social-network operator will offer user-support services in 14 languages starting next year.
- Mobage 40 million. Mobage is a social mobile gaming platform with highly engaged users. It currently has three networks: Japan, China and West.
- Twitter (30 million). Twitter's new "Lifeline" feature was launched in September in Japan - the first region in the world to receive the service that suggests which official government Twitter accounts should be followed if a disaster hits.
- LINE (36 million). Launched in June 27, 2011, LINE is a cross-platform communication service and app, offered for free by Naver, from NHN Japan. The basic functionality allows users to send text messages and to make free calls with other users who have the app installed on their smartphones.
Along with the above countries, here are a few more with strong social media penetration among online users.
Social Media networks are popular in Spain with 41% penetration as seen in wearesocial's infographic. Of the 30 million people on the online in Spain, 69% of them use Facebook, followed by Youtube at 10% and Tuenti at 10% as well. As of June 2012 the Facebook users of Spain totalled over 16 million. Tuenti is also very popular in Spain, with their headquarters based in Madrid. Though a global network, Tuenti's main users are based in Spain with an estimated 10M+ active user base.
In December 2012, 46.4 million German internet users accessed a social networking site from a computer at least once during the month. The German Press Agency (DPA) recently published a snapshot of the social networking landscape in Germany using comScore MMX data and unsurprisingly, Facebook captures the majority of users with an audience of 38.6 million unique visitors.
Google Plus is in second positionwith 5.6 million unique visitors, Xing is a close third with 4.2 million users and Stayfriends is fourth with 3.5 million unique users. Twitter is 5th in the rankings with 3.1 million German users and LinkedIn comes in 8th place with an audience of 2.7 million.
2.8 million people accessed a social media site in New Zealand during November 2013. This category reached 94.6 percent of the total Kiwi internet audience. Facebook was the clear leader with 1.95 million unique visitors; more than double that of LinkedIn who came in second place with an audience of 798,000 unique visitors. In the past 12 months, LinkedIn displayed a strong growth (53 percent) with its population growing from 520,000 in December 2012 to 798,000 in November 2013. Blogger ranked in third position with 559,000 unique visitors that month.
Analyzing the demographic profile of these social media sites in more detail shows that the professional networking platform, LinkedIn, attracted a large share of the older population with two thirds of their users over the age of 35 (68.6 percent), whilst more than half (55.3 percent) of Tumblr users are under 35. Facebook and Blogger share a similar audience composition, where the number of visitors aged 15-24 accounted for the largest segments of the Kiwi audience whereas people aged 55+ made up the biggest proportion of LinkedIn users in November 2013.
This post is written by Gareth James (@SEO_Doctor) on behalf of Visor Media, check out their blog for more great posts.