|Social Media and UGC|
|Online Travel Market|
Social Media and UGC
The dramatic surge in social networking in Russia during the country's 2011 elections led eMarketer to estimate earlier this year that in 2011, the number of social network users in Russia experienced an uptick in growth of 25%. However, based on later research, eMarketer believes that the growth of social network users did not actually rise 25%, but instead, slowed to 11.6% that year. Between 2011 and 2013, Russia's annual growth will temper to just above 11%, eMarketer estimates.
Russia's slower-than-expected growth for 2011 has caused eMarketer to revise the estimated number of social network users in Russia for 2012 from 57.9 million to 51.8 million, ranking it sixth in the world in number of users.
Social network users and penetration in Russia, 2010-2014:
- 2010: 41.7 million users / 74.2% of internet users / 29.9% of population
- 2011: 46.5 million / 75.0% / 33.5%
- 2012: 51.8 million / 76.2% / 37.5%
- 2013: 57.6 million / 78.0% / 41.9%
- 2014: 62.2 million / 79.0% / 45.5%
(eMarketer, October 2012)
eMarketer expects Russia, with 57.9 million social network users in 2012, to be the fifth-largest socially connected country in the world in 2012.
Top five social networking countries, ranked by users, 2012:
1. China: 307.5 million
2. US: 157.8 million
3. India: 76.1 million
4. Brazil: 75.7 million
5. Russia: 57.9 million
According to a February survey from Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM), a local survey firm, 82% of internet users in Russia used social networks as of February 2012, an increase of 30 percentage points from when the question was asked in 2010. The percentage of users that didn't use social networks went down by more than half, to 18%.
In a May 2012 update, VCIOM found that more than half (54%) of mobile internet users in Russia most often used the internet on their phones to access social networks. Mobile social usage was highest, unsurprisingly, among the younger demographics: 73% for users ages 18 to 24 and 50% for those ages 25 to 34.
In 2012, eMarketer forecasts mobile internet users in Russia to hit 32.7 million. If more than half of those individuals access social networks via their mobile device, as suggested by VCIOM data, it would account for 17.7 million mobile social users. (eMarketer, June 2012)
78% of respondents to a survey of internet users residing in 12 Former Soviet Union (FSU) Republics (including Russia) used social media post-trip to share their experiences and photos with their friends and/or other travellers, according to a research article by John Fotis, Dimitrios Buhalis and Nicos Rossides "Social Media Impact on Holiday Travel Planning: The Case of the Russian and the FSU Markets".
Percentage of respondents that used social media during their travel planning process and reasons for use:
Pre-trip - use of social media:
- 45% to search for ideas on where to go for holidays
- 42% to seek ideas and information on excursions and other leisure activities
- 34% to seek ideas and information on accommodation options
- 31% to confirm that they made a good destination choice
- 24% to try to narrow down their choice of destinations
During trip - use of social media:
- 49% to stay connected with friends
- 30% to find out information about specific attractions and leisure activities
- 17% to provide comments and reviews about their holiday experience
- 15% to visit social media sites but not directly related to their holiday
Post-trip - use of social media:
- 78% to share their experiences and photos with their friends and/or other travellers
- 29% to have ideas as an inspiration for their next holidays
- 27% to provide evaluation and reviews about their accommodation and/or their holiday destination
While the research finds that it is after the holiday trip that respondents primarily used social media, it also suggests that in terms of social media influence on holiday plans there is a strong correlation between perceived level of influence from social media and changes made in holiday plans prior to final decision, with more that 6 out of 10 respondents stating that they indeed made some sort of changes to their original plans because of exposure to UGC.
Findings also suggest that friends and relatives are the most trustworthy source of holiday related information sources, followed by information from other travellers in various websites. Overall, the research finds that UGC is perceived as more trustworthy when compared to official tourism websites, travel agents and mass media advertising.
Most trusted holiday-related information sources:
1. Friends and relatives
2. Information provided by other travellers in various websites
3. Social media
4. Official tourism websites (state/government owned)
5. Shows or documentaries in TV, in radio, or articles in newspapers and magazines
6. Travel agents
7. Advertisements in TV, radio, newspapers and magazines
The survey was conducted in October 2010 among 346 internet users residing in 12 FSU Republics including Russia who have taken at least one holiday trip within the last 12 months. (Fotis, J., Buhalis, D. and Rossides, N. (2011). Social media impact on holiday travel planning: The case of the Russian and the FSU markets. International Journal of Online Marketing, 1(4), 1-19, 2011)
Russians are the heaviest social networkers worldwide in terms of time spent per user and Yandex is the leading property in the Russian Federation, according to a study of internet usage in Russia by comScore.
34.5 million Russian internet users (74.5% of the online population) visited at least one social networking site in August 2010. With an average of 9.8 hours per visitor during the month, Russians spent more than double the worldwide average of 4.5 hours per visitors on social networks, ranking it #1 among all countries in social networking engagement. Israel ranked second with an average of 9.2 hours per visitor, followed by Turkey with 7.6 hours.
Vkontakte.ru ranked as the top social networking site in Russia with 27.8 million visitors, followed by Odnoklassniki with 16.7 million visitors. Despite Facebook's strong leadership position both worldwide and in the majority of individual Internet markets, it ranked just fifth in Russia with 4.5 million visitors. However, its audience has grown 376 percent in the past year, outpacing each of the other top five social networking sites in the market.
Top 10 countries for social networking ranked by time spent per visitor (average hours per visitor), August 2010 (total worldwide Audience, Age 15+ - Home and Work Locations):
Worldwide: 4.5 hours per visitors
1. Russian Federation: 9.8
2. Israel: 9.2
3. Turkey: 7.6
4. UK: 7.3
5. Philippines: 6.2
6. Canada: 5.8
7. Indonesia: 5.3
8. Finland: 5.0
9. Spain: 5.0
10. Puerto Rico: 4.9
(comScore, October 2010)
Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 April 2013 08:58