19th July 2010
Emergence of an active online sharing culture where 1 in 4 social media users ‘start something’ has significant implications for brands.
SHANGHAI, 15 JULY 2010 – As the social media scene in China continues to attract mindboggling user numbers, ever increasing marketing dollars and new business ventures, an irreversible cultural shift has occurred. Modern Chinese society is now bound by a new sense of connectedness that has been enabled and inspired by the internet. At the same time a profound new spirit of ‘sharing’ has emerged as the essence of netizens’ online lives.
The “OgilvyOne Connected” research in partnership with China Polling set out to unravel and reveal the fundamental changes that social media has had on how Chinese consumers connect with each other, how trust is built and how influence and word of mouth really travels.
SOME NETIZENS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS
In the world of traditional offline marketing, a widely accepted practice is to focus on the 1-2% of consumers that are ‘fashion forward trendsetters’ in the anticipation that they will influence more consumers on the brand’s behalf.
But one of the most noteworthy and valuable findings of this research turns this notion on its head by demonstrating that in the ‘flatter’ world of social media, there is still a ‘cool group’ but it is much, much larger – comprising a whopping 26% of all Chinese social media users. These ‘Initiators’ are the bold 1 in 4 social media users that regularly start conversations, create content and publish their views and opinions online. They are also the fertile starting point for new ideas, services and products.
A further 29% of Chinese social media users are ‘Commenters’ – people who may not initiate, but who do react and comment on other people’s views. They are also the ‘accelerators’ of new ideas, giving them momentum and wider acceptance.
The largest group, comprising 45% of social media users, are ‘Gawkers’ who quietly browse, observe and look for entertaining ideas and brands that are already popular.
According to Chris Reitermann, President of OgilvyOne China & Ogilvy & Mather Group Shanghai, “In China, social media users are generally highly engaged with brands. They see brands and the discussion of them as an integral part of their ‘social network’. And with one in every four users ‘creating’ influence and waiting to be inspired, the economics of prioritizing and investing in the Initiators is more attractive than ever.”