Photo - Richard Hall, Managing Director, Nielsen Malaysia.
According to Nielsen's latest social media study, 46 percent of Malaysian social media users choose a mobile phone for their social media interactions, which makes Malaysia one of the top five users in the Asia Pacific region, said the market research firm.
Speaking on 20 November 2012, Nielsen Malaysia managing director Richard Hall said Malaysian social media users of mobile (46 percent) was slightly lower than the global average of 47 percent but ahead of Japan (44 percent), Australia (43 percent), Taiwan (34 percent) and New Zealand (27 percent) in the Asia Pacific region.
Hall said Nielsen's State of Social Media Report, which is based on a survey of global digital consumers, also revealed that 15 percent of social media users engage with social media via tablets. This has helped position Malaysia as fifth among the top five tablet users listed among the 14 countries surveyed in the Asia Pacific region, after China (40 percent), Hong Kong (26 percent), Singapore (25 percent) and Thailand (20 percent).
"Social media has become an essential means of networking and is truly embedded in many Malaysians' everyday lives," he said. "At the same time, Internet capable mobile devices, both smartphone and tablet computer ownership is also gaining significant momentum in Malaysia. The combination of consumer needs and on-the-go accessibility lead to a rather interesting segmentation of cross-platform behaviour and has increased opportunities for simultaneous media consumption. "
In Malaysia, half of (50 percent) those users surveyed claimed that they watch TV and access social media networks simultaneously, higher than the global and Asia-Pacific average of 46 and 47 percent respectively, added Hall.
He said the survey showed that social media is still an important tool to connect people at large. "Seventy-four (74) percent of social media users keep in touch with family members at least once a week while three out of five connect with existing or find old friends on a weekly basis or more often. Although globally and regionally, source of entertainment is the next important reason users participate in social media, learning and finding brand experience has taken the second position after connecting people in Malaysia."
The Nielsen State of Social Media Report was conducted on 10-27 February 2012 and polled more than 28,000 online consumers in 56 countries throughout Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and North America. The sample has quotas based on age and sex for each country based on their Internet users, and is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers and has a maximum margin of error of ±0.6 percent.
This Nielsen survey is based on the behaviour of respondents with online access only. Internet penetration rates vary by country. Nielsen uses a minimum reporting standard of 60 percent Internet penetration or 10M online population for survey inclusion. The Nielsen Global Survey was established in 2005.
Do not under-estimate the power of social media
"Sixty-three (63) percent of social media users turn to social networking websites to learn more about brands, products and services or hear about others' positive or negative experiences at least once per week," said Hall.
"Entertainment was at the sixth position (61 percent) followed by the activity of seeking online monetary incentives or deals such as promotions and coupons (54 percent)," he said. "On the other hand, 42 percent of users indicate that they will express their concerns or complaints about products or brand on a weekly basis or more frequently."
"Consumers' online conversations and responses via social media are changing the nature and impact of brand interactions; it offers valuable insights about customers and their preferences with real-time feedback. Marketers should not under-estimate the power of social media," said Hall.
"Consumers have become increasingly confident and savvy in sourcing other consumers' comments or purchase experience as reference for purchase decision making," he said. "On the other hand, many do not hesitate to express their concerns and unpleasant experience online. If you see it and react positively, social media actually provides marketers with more touch points to reach current and potential customers and serve as a good tool for improving marketing effectiveness."
"Almost half (48 percent) of social media users surveyed claimed they have used social networking to share or discuss their experiences of products or services related to food and beverage and travel or leisure in the last 12 months. Two in five have done so on their encounters about entertainment (42 percent) and restaurants (40 percent)," said Hall.
"When it comes to the likelihood of purchasing a product or services in the coming year based on reviews on social media website, the centre of focus of the social media users in Malaysia is still concentrated around the out of home leisure activities, he said. "Four out of five (80 percent) respondents intend to purchase products and services related to travel/leisure, 72 percent would likely buy food and beverage related products based on the positive recommendation shared online, followed by entertainment related products or services and restaurant (both at 68 percent)."
"Social media is now highly seen as an integrated real-time platform to test new ideas and product strategies to obtain real-time feedback," said Hall. "Marketers are gradually using it to make corrections to product strategy and marketing campaigns," said Hall. "The opportunities for companies to connect and engage with consumers online are more plentiful than ever before, and marketers need to move fast to ensure they stay one step ahead of the curve and know how to win customers in a larger community by serving and inciting their interests."
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