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Further explorations in social media usage data

Over the last few months I’ve been on a quest to gain a greater understanding of how social media is used in different (mostly European) countries, prompted by a mix of client work and general interest. Following up from this post in November, I thought it time to share a few findings.

The first difficulty in researching this area is where to find information. Whilst a Google search can produce a variety of results, they’re not always the most up to date or most relevant. It’s also good to be aware that free demographic research results don’t always cover every country, so if you want to find out trends for Scotland or Luxemburg, you may have to use your imagination to think through possible data sources (Google Trends and Google Insights are a good start, as is looking at the local version of Google eg. Google France). For European data it’s also worth thinking through the other languages that research may be posted in and key terms in those languages.

However, given all that, here are some sources that cover most large countries, or have specific information for individual countries in English:

GlobalWebIndex Lite Tool

This comprehensive tool enables you to select a country, gender, age group and demographic profile. The results are three pages covering: motivations for using social media, quantifying social media involvement and a page examining the perception of brand use of social media. This is probably the most powerful of the tools listed here.

Forrester Social Technographics Profile Tools
Consumer tool
B2B tool
Forrester’s Social Technographics data classifies consumers into seven overlapping levels of social technology participation. The consumer tool graphs their research in this area by country, gender and age group. The B2B tool graphs by company size and primary purchase category.
Whilst useful for indicative information put together with other research, the data is limited for certain countries and the B2B data is US only. The purpose of both tools is to highlight Forrester’s paid-for research (time to dig out that membership code if your company has one).

ComScore Date Mine
ComScore’s Data Mine is an index for all it’s publicly available graphs and data. For example this graph here showing average hours spent on social networking sites per visitor across Europe:
Average Hours spent on Social Networking Sites per Visitor across Europe
The graphs and data available are displayed in chronological order and by tag cloud, so you might have to do a bit of searching to find information that you are looking for. Again, worth checking sample sizes and when the research took place.

Hitwise Data Centres (by country)
UK
US
Canada
Australia
Hitwise Data Centres list highly up to date information by for the countries listed above (current data being displayed for UK is dated 29 January 2011) on top websites (including social sites) and search engines, top industry search terms, top retail sites and search terms, top travel sites and search terms.

Ofcom (UK with some comparative data for other countries)
Image of Ofcom communications market report websiteOfcom (the UK’s communication regulator) publishes all it’s consultations and research online across it’s entire remit. Go to the Stakeholder section of the site to explore this. Of particular interest here is their annual Communications Market Report which is released each August. The report is usually a few hundred pages in length but the dedicated website highlights key findings for each year and breaks down the report into relevant sections. Each section is then broken down further by UK country and International data, so it is much easier to explore than in the past (see image). The PDF versions also contain graphs of the data.

Conclusion?
As any good TV presenter might say: ‘there are other research sources and companies out there’, so please do add links in the comments if you’ve found any that you’d recommend to others, these are some that I am currently finding most useful. Whilst alone each is limited, used together these tools and data sources can give a good overview of socialmedia usage tendencies. But really they are simply just a good starting point. To get more specific data you may need to pay for it and/or research more. Using your own Google/web Analytic data for example is often overlooked.

A dummy’s guide to linked data

If you’re thinking that everything has suddenly all become about data (even round these parts), and have been wondering why it’s relevant, then this presentation by the Media Trust’s Martin Moore on the topic of linked data is for you.

You can also view the talk in full here:

The presentation was part of a panel discussion on linked data at the News Rewired conference. The videos of each panelist are now available, and are well worth dipping into.

A world of Tweets

Hat tip: Dominic Campbell
This is a real-time heat map by Frog Design in HTML5, shows where in the world people are tweeting from.

The experiment started 1 November 2010 and according to the data captured tweets have come from 199 countries so far. It’s interesting to note which countries are more prevalent than others; the US is top (38% of tweets), UK third (11%), but more interestingly Indonesia is 2nd with 18% of the tweets to date.
More here.

Did you know, shift happens?

This afternoon I’ve been preparing for next week’s Emarketeers Social Media & Marketing training course, updating my presentation from July (a lot happens in two months in these parts). I’ve been pondering how to kick things off and been looking at a few videos, including reviewing the Socialnomics vid I mentioned a few weeks ago. I was reminded of the Shift Happens, also know as the Did You Know? videos, the original of which came out in 2007 and were made by XPlane. They aimed to explain some of the changes that were occurring through globalisation. Here’s the original:

The video quickly went viral and has now had a number of iterations.

In a happy accident I discovered that today Xplane launched their latest video that they describe as an update to Shift Happens, in partnership with the Economist. It focuses on what they describe as the ‘changing media landscape’ and they’ve entitled it “Did You Know 4.0″ and it will been shown at the Media Convergence Forum in October. But you get to see it way before then here:

However, both videos, like the Socialnomics one, are US centric, which I think in a UK/European context (or any other really) diminishes some of their power.

I would like to know if anyone is aware of any videos or material that do a similar job but are more globally or UK/European minded? There is after all a lot of data out there that in all likelihood someone may have used.

Failing that, offers for how we might put something like this together would be fabulous!