A new social media study from Universal McCann published in AdWeek may come as a big surprise. It says that consumers in US and Western Europe like to watch created by others while people in Asia are more into the content creation side.
A new global study of social media use reveals that the U.S. severely lags behind Asian and South American countries in participation rates.
Consumers in the U.S. and Western Europe are more likely to be passive social-media participants -- sharing videos and reading blogs -- while those in emerging markets often create content through blogging, social networks and video and photo sharing sites.
"By and large, in the U.S. we're a country of voyeurs," said David Cohen, U.S. director of digital communications at Universal McCann, which conducted the study. "We love to watch and consume content created by others, but there's a fairly small group that are doing that creation -- unlike China, which is a country of creators."
The Interpublic Group media agency has charted a steady rise in participation rates for social media in the third phase of an 18-month research project. In its first survey, conducted in September 2006, a little over half of respondents said they read blogs. In the latest survey, over 70 percent did.
Thanks to the emergence of YouTube, watching video clips has become mainstream. While 30 percent said they watched video online in UM's initial survey, over 80 percent said they had this year. Less than 30 percent of respondents said they set up a social network profile in 2006; over 60 percent did two years later. (The survey shows big increases in nearly all online sharing activities, such as listening to podcasts, subscribing to RSS feeds and commenting on news items.)
UM surveyed 17,000 Internet users worldwide in March 2008 as part of an effort to track the global rise of consumer-generated content and online communities.
While it found social media is a global phenomenon, UM charted significant differences, mainly cultural, in terms of how people use social media.
In the U.S. and Europe, consumers are avid consumers of social content while less likely to create their own compared to other markets.
A little over 60 percent of Internet users in the U.S. said they read blogs, but just 26 percent had created one, compared to over 70 percent of Internet users who blog in South Korea and China.
Consumers in Asian countries are also much more likely to read blogs: 92 percent of South Koreans read them. In China, 88 percent read blogs.
1. Despite the popularity of Facebook and MySpace, other countries dwarf the U.S. in joining social networks. The Philippines, Hungary, Poland and Mexico all boast participation rates over 75 percent, while just 43 percent have joined social networks in the US.
2. About a quarter of Internet users in America have uploaded a video to a site like YouTube. In the Brazil, 68 percent have done so. India, China, Mexico and the Philippines all boast video-sharing participation rates topping 50 percent. The results are similar for photo-sharing, where a little under half of US consumers have uploaded photos, far behind rates in South American and Asian markets.
3. A little over 60 percent of Internet users in the US read blogs, but just 26 percent had created one, compared to over 70 percent of Internet users who blog in South Korea and China. Consumers in Asian countries are also much more likely to read blogs: 92 percent of South Koreans read them. In China, 88 percent read blogs.