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Social network use could be cooling down among Latin Americans, according to the latest Wave study done by UM. From the outset, respondents in LatAm claiming to have a profile on a social network – all of them active users who use the Internet every day or almost every day – decreased from 77% to 73% between 2011 and 2012.   The study, which included 41,738 respondents from 62 countries this year, found an increase in the same metric globally: from 61.4% to 65.2%.  

More social networking uses in Latam; video tops list

While the Wave 6 study points to a decrease in Latin America on the reach of social networks, which could also be interpreted as a cooling off of the "being connected" trend, the same study also recognizes that our region is at the forefront of diversity in the use of social networks. In other words, in Latin America social networks are used for more purposes than just creating a profile.


A case in point is video, where the study shows that LatAm users not only view more videos than the average user globally, but also upload (create) more content.

Digital media vs. traditional media: a dead heat

In the "new media" arena, it is evident that traditional media have lost the lead. The case of Colombia is important in analyzing what is happening in Latam. As we showed in our study of social network reach, Colombia is among the countries with the highest digital penetration in the region.  In the new Wave study, we see that not only are they more connected, but the difference in reach between traditional media and digital media has been eliminated, at least in terms of young people.

When asked how much time they spent on the following media in the last 7 days, young respondents surveyed (16 to 24 years old), said:

·         TV vs. Social Networks – Tie, at 9 hours for both.

·         Radio vs. Twitter vs. YouTube. – Tie, at 6 hours for all three.

·         Magazines vs. Newspapers vs. Blogs. – Tie between magazines and blogs, at 4 hours. Newspapers won by just one extra hour, at 5 hours.

The "second screen" effect should also be taken into account, where a person can be watching TV (or some other traditional mass media) and also be using a digital medium at the same time.

The study also found a slight increase in the number of Colombians reading blogs, which now stands at 76.7%.

Brands losing ground in Colombia and the rest of the world

Among the frenzied quest of brands to conquer social networks, we are now seeing a strong decrease in their ability to connect with consumers.

In 2009, according to the study, 90% of those polled globally had visited a branded page. In Colombia, the figure was 79%.  In 2010, the same figures dropped to 81% and 75%, respectively.  Today, the same figures now stand at 71% and 72%, a nearly 20-point drop in the global average and a drop of almost 10 points in Colombia.

It is also true that, thanks to the new trend of "owned media," there may be multiple users who interact constantly with sites they do not realize are brand sites.  A good example of this is Red Bull’s content network, Panamerika, which could easily be camouflaged as a blog and not a branded site.

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