A version of this post appeared in PRWeek.
Edelman Digital APACMEA’s review of social media usage across Asia Pacific and the Middle East reveals constant shifts in the social media channels being used, the nature of usage and the users themselves. One of the most evident tendencies in this region is that when the social media party gets crowded, the cool kids move on. As social media continues to become more and more a part of the fabric of daily life, the pattern of that fabric is forever altering, as can be seen through these trends:
1. Users Are Getting Older
The average age of social media users across all six key markets in Southeast Asia now starts at 18 rather than 15 or 16 in every country except the Philippines – which has the fastest growing population (Source: comScore). The popularity of more visually oriented platforms such as Instagram – usage in the United Arab Emirates has grown from 14 to 34 percent of the population over the past two years (Source: ictQATAR) – and private networks have fragmented the markets.
2. Social Media Platforms Are at War
Of the top five platforms in China in 2014, only one remained there as of last year. And that one – RenRen – once considered the Facebook of China – was bringing up the rear at number five with less than a fifth the users of the market leader (Source: CNNIC). It’s a similar story in India, where the once mighty Orkut has gone from second-to-oblivion in the same amount of time (Source: comScore).
3. Private Is the New Black
The generation that was once seen as over-sharing has grown up to be a bit shy and now prefers to circulate their selfies among smaller, more secure networks. This can be partly explained by the growing desire for privacy among formerly socialist (the original “sharing”) societies.
4. Mobile Is the New TV
The number of people using mobile for video in China has more than doubled during the past five years, while the number of people accessing via TV has collapsed to less than a quarter, confirming that this is the dusk of the single-use device (Source: CNNIC).
5. Brand-based Engagement Is Low
Across Southeast Asia, average engagement levels for brand-based content continue to fall to low single digits, with the notable exception of Vietnam, where it is a whopping 25 percent (Source: socialbakers). Vietnamese marketers: make the most of this while you can.
Image credit: Harco Rutgers