The Latest Global Social Media Trends May Surprise You

Two and a half years ago, Forrester introduced Social Technographics®, a way to analyze people’s social technology behavior. Today, we want you to take a moment and think about the uptake of social media in your company. Ask yourself the following question:

From the following list of statements, please select where your company stands with social media. (Please choose all that apply)

  1. My company currently has a social media strategy.
  2. My company is thinking about developing a social media strategy.
  3. My company is trying to defend why we don’t have a social media strategy.
  4. My company is currently trying to understand what social media is.
  5. None of the above.

If you answered 1 to 4, then today is your lucky day! We are releasing our newest report: Global Social Technographics . This document reviews two years of global data on how consumers are engaging with social technologies using our Social Technographics classification system globally. The graphic below illustrates this framework in case you’re not familiar with it. As you review the groups, one important thing to note is that only Inactives are an exclusive group. Consumers can (and do) fall into many different groups.

Some of the data will probably confirm your pre-existing suspicions, like the fact that social networking sites (such as Facebook) are driving social media use around the globe. In the US, the “Joiners” group grew 8 percentage points. This was the largest growth of any group in the US. And, overall, this was the lowest growth for Joiners in any of the regions studied.

On the other hand, many groups in the US market plateaued. Creators, the group that is actually adding content to the Internet, are one example of this lack of growth. However, they still account for almost 41 million US online adults. While this lack of new Creators is found around the globe, the tapering off of social media growth in the US (outside of social networks) did not translate globally. In fact, many Asia Pacific countries saw significant growth in most groups.

The story behind the data is pretty clear. The initial wave of consumers using social technologies in the US has halted. Companies will now need to devise strategies to extend social applications past the early adopters. This means that you need to understand how your consumers use social media. Do you know the Social Technographics Profiles of your customers? Is your company preparing for this next phase of social media strategy? If you have any questions on the profile of your customers or want help navigating social media for your business, please don’t hesitate to reach out!


European preview

Any chance you could give a little sneak preview of the European data...? Better yet, even a summary of key differences we could think about; perhaps with a comment or two about the early adoption outside the UK?

European data

There is European data in the report (as well as APAC data). My colleague Nate Elliot has commented specifically on the European market here: And also has a report specifically about implications for the European market here:

You can also reach out directly to Nate for more on his piece.


Why Social Media Projects Fail?

Great article!

Social media are a defining feature of 21st-century information exchange.

This is a live setting and there are a few spots:

Why Social Media Projects Fail?! (A European Perspective)

81% of all companies don‘t have a clear social media strategy! By Brand Science Institute - University of Hamburg.

See more at slideshare:

Greetings from Brazil.

Analysis Please!

Hi Jackie,

What is the correlation between your analysis (assertion) and the McAfee Inc Global Report that revealed security concerns hinder the adoption of Web 2.0 and social networking in Business?

Suggestion: It would add value to the discussion of this topic if you and your co-worker Chenxi Wang, Ph.D collaborated together on research.


Hi Janent, Thanks for your

Hi Janent,

Thanks for your comment. I'm not familiar with the McAfee report. If this is something you've worked on with Chenxi before she may be able to speak to any questions you have on the implications for the business space. Of course, among consumers security concerns are a key issue in why some consumers don't join the groundswell (especially social networking sites) in fear of their private information being shared.

Web 2.0 versus security

Hi Janent, Jackie,

Very relevant question i.m.o.. I'm working for a large company myself, and working from behind a very tight firewall. Browser IE6, and no flash or javascript, so a lot of social networking sites are just not functional. Even worse, some colleagues don't even have internet access, resulting in the fact that they can't even see our corporate website from work!
All due to security related issues, as they say. And I'm sure were not an exception. A round of software-upgrading in big companies takes a long time. And when this happens, we're probably just up to date for a very short period.
How should large companies circumvent these issues, balancing tight security with the ability for employees to fully interact with their surroundings?

Hi Martijn, These are great

Hi Martijn,

These are great questions! Have you read Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler's new book, Empowered? They tackle these issues in there and specifically have information about weighing the benefits and issues of permitting social technologies in the workplace. I would recommend that book as well as checking out their blog:

Hi Jackie, Thanks for the

Hi Jackie,
Thanks for the tip, will follow up on that. Funny that they are referencing to The Cluetrain Manifesto, am just reading the last chapters, amazing book!

Hi Martijn I agree!!

Hi Martijn

I agree!! Cluetrain is still a great book. We used to give this out to our corporate executives when we were doing internal 'internet centric' training back during the first wave . I still recommend it to people in training sessions now.

global social media trends

Is your figure of 19% for Inactives an indication that 81% of the US population participate in social media activities? Surely actual participation in social media (from Spectators up) is by a minority, albeit a large one.

Hi Simon, Yes, with Inactives

Hi Simon,

Yes, with Inactives the implication is that the rest of ONLINE (the numbers represented are of online adults) individuals are engaging with social technologies at some level-whether it's just as spectators or all the way up the ladder to creators. Obviously, more individuals are at the Spectator level, simply reading content that's out there. The smaller groups are those that require a higher level of activity and participation.

You've Nailed It With "Social Strategy"

Jackie - I really appreciate the insights and perspectives that both you and Augie provided around this new report, thank you!

Without having access to the complete study, I completely agree with your assessment that companies MUST take a strategic approach when moving forward with social engagement.

I suppose we'll have to wait & see:)

Thanks again!

Important distinctions to be made with "creators"

The Creators are at the top of your Social Technographics ladder but within that I wonder what the distinctions are. There is a huge gap between someone like me, who records and produces a weekly podcast, writes daily for a top 50 blog, makes original video blogs, and is well-known within liberal political tweet and blog circles, and an individual who posts videos of their grandchildren to Facebook. Both of us are creators, and both of us contribute, but our usefulness to a company seeking social media strategy is going to diverge greatly, depending on the market that company is seeking.

Industrial sector social technographics

I'm wondering if Forrester has developed social technographics for the industrial/manufacturing sector and how that might compare to the general B2B population.

Hi Jeff, We track respondents

Hi Jeff,

We track respondents industries/professions and could cut the data that way if you're interested. I don't have that information off the top of my head though.

Jackie, I think it would be


I think it would be quite beneficial to have a social technographics ladder for engineering, technical, manufacturing and industrial professionals.

Both of us are creators, and

Both of us are creators, and both of us contribute, web design sunshine coast but our usefulness to a company seeking social media strategy. This means that you need to understand how your consumers use social media.