International Connections: Social Networks Around the World

When it comes to online advertising, Google Adwords and Facebook are the two channels we usually look to, first. Occasionally, we’ll foray into Reddit and even then, it’s with a very particular audience in mind (think narwhals and kittens.) So when a client recently came to us with questions about cost-per-click advertising elsewhere in the world and in different languages, we had the opportunity to conduct some extremely revealing research. The end product was an extensive list of social networking sites, some almost as popular as Facebook, in different countries around the world. (By the way, if you’re interested in learning more about cost-per-click or CPC advertising on Google, check out this blog post we wrote earlier this year.)
In the past, we’ve seen several well-done infographics that feature international social networks. The first infographic that comes to mind is about a year old now. It’s a colour wheel of networks from Facebook to Flickr to China’s popular Kaixin001.

More recently, Mashable produced an infographic that features “How the World Uses Social Networks.” The infographic breaks down data provided by Nielson from their “Social Media Report” and visualizes social networking across ten different countries.

Here at Capulet, based on the needs of our client, we focused on five countries: Mexico, Thailand, Koren, Japan, and Brazil. We also looked at the European Union as a whole.

Almost every social network we looked at presented advertising opportunities, albeit, in a multitude of languages. If we decided to go ahead and advertise on one of these social networks, we’d have to bring in a professional translator (think simplified Chinese versus traditional Chinese) to help us navigate the bidding process.

A few of the social networks in particular stood out, not only because of their popularity, but because of the specific niche they’re designed to attract. Below is a quick look at some of the more popular social networks we discovered across several different continents.

Sonico is a free-access social networking website focused on the Latin American audience. You can create a profile, add friends, upload photos and videos, and organize events. The site is popular in Latin America and other Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking regions.

Hi5 shares similarities with many social networking sites, and claims around 60 million members from more than 200 countries other than the US.

Cyworld is a Korean social network that gives users access to a profile page, photos, drawings and images uploading, an avatar, neighbourhoods, and clubs. Many renowned Korean socialites and celebrities have accounts. Cyworld has networks in South Korea, China, and Vietnam and is gaining popularity across Asia and the Pacific Island.

Kaixin001 is a popular professional networking tool in China targeting white-collar middle class users who come from a first tier city. This site in China is extremely popular among people who work for multinational companies, ad agencies and other white collar companies. Kaixin001 has gained much more popularity since 2009 because social networking sites, such as Myspace, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube were blocked in China.

PerfSpot is a web portal for people of any age, gender, or background who want to share their interests and favourite things on the web. PerfSpot currently publishes its site in 37 different languages, with a moderator team based in the U.S. and the Philippines that screens through up to a million pictures on a daily basis.

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