If you’re an internet marketer, you simply cannot overlook the social media market in one of the world’s largest economies and the largest in the European Union, Germany. The country is in fact the tenth country with the most Facebook users. Despite Facebook’s dominance, local social networks are still able to partake of the significant portion of the market. To understand why these homegrown social networks thrive, among other things, one needs to look into the German social media landscape – which I sketched here:
A tenth of online gamblers in the world comes from Germany. Germany is one of the two most lucrative online gaming markets in the world, the UK being the other one. Every day, 81 million people all over the world play games online, and international law firm Norton Rose reports, 10 per cent of them are playing from Germany. That is why many online gaming operators were aggressive to have a presence in the country when the online gambling market was liberalized in 2008, including industry giant Bwin.Party, owner of various social gaming sites like de.partypoker.com. A recent study by Socialnomics sponsored by Belle Rock Entertainment shows that 20 per cent of the time spent by the German and the British gambling online is done through social networking sites. Gambling Data, in a December 2011 report, estimates that the online sector of the German gambling industry has a net revenue of between € 760M ($988M) and €960M ($1.24B) for 2011 alone.
Half of the German netizens feel social media is vital in their social life. In 2010, market research firm comScore showed in a study that about 45. 4 million Germans aged 15 and up were using social networking sites. That is about 90 per cent of total number of Germans accessing the internet. A typical German social media user spends 6.3 hours on a social networking site in a month and keeps in touch with an average of 41 friends through it.
As in other European countries, Facebook holds the largest share of the German social media audience (72.7 per cent). Data from German statistics firm Statista reveals that there are 22.6 million Facebook profiles from the country, making it the tenth country with the most number of Facebook users. German Facebook users are largely from the 25-34 age group.
Trailing behind Mark Zuckerberg’s behemoth are local social networks StudiVz Sites (13.2 per cent market share), Wer-Kennt-wen.de (9.8), Deipunkt.net (8.5), and Zing (8.2). As shown in the 2012 Social Media Tracker study by Universal McCann, about 47 per cent of German social media users feel that social media is an “integral part of (their) social life”.
More Germans are tweeting. Universal McCann found out earlier forms of social media such as blogs, instant messengers and photo-sharing websites experienced a plateau in 2012. In 2009, 36.3 per cent of the German online audience were reading blogs; the following year, the number declined to 29.6 per cent.
The so-called ‘disruptive’ force in the social media landscape in the past couple of years is microblogging – typified by Twitter – which grew in acceptance by the worldwide online audience from 14.9 per cent in 2009 to 33.2 per cent in 2010, then to 42.9 per cent in 2012. The growth of microblogging among the Germans is just as remarkable: from 7.7 per cent in 2010 to 15.9 per cent in 2012. Statista lists Twitter as the 17th most visited website in the country.
They are wary about their privacy online. Facebook has been met with numerous flaks in Germany, including lawsuits against its face-recognition technology, its policy on giving user’s information to app makers, among others. This concern with privacy, according to Universal McCann, is shared by 55 per cent of German social media users.