Filipinos most social-media savvy globally but still have privacy jitters

Filipinos online are spending more time on social networks than the global average but remain reluctant to share information online, according to the Wave7 global consumer survey from Universal McCann (UM)

Filipinos now spend 53 hours socializing online in a week, 11 hours more than the global average of 42 hours. But despite being the most avid social networkers, Filipinos were the most concerned about privacy.

Around 77% are hesitant to share personal data online compared with 66% of users in the region and 67% globally. The Chinese ranked second with 71% while Indonesians were least worried (57%).

But hesitation does not mean stagnation in terms of marketing opportunities, says Chito Jusi, head of UM Philippines, but stressed that it’s no longer enough to simply track the latest trends.

“What we really need is to understand the motivations behind these trends – because even the most superficial social interaction online is driven by a consumer need," he explains.

The challenge for marketers, Jusi continues, is “answering these needs, and by combining technology, social platforms and media in a more cohesive way [so] brands and publishers of content can put themselves in an extremely powerful position.”

Why are Filipinos hooked on social media?

Wave7 reminds marketers that people go to social media mainly to socialize. Around 7 in 10 Filipinos (74%) stated that they are on social to keep in touch with friends, especially for some 11 million Filipinos overseas who need to communicate with loved ones back home, UM pointed out.

Another 70% are hooked on social media to meet new people, 65% to have fun, 63% to share new experiences and 62% to keep company.

Growing smartphone ownership, which has doubled from 38% in the Wave6 survey to 64%, has partially contributed to this trend as it makes social interactions quick and easy and, more importantly, contextual to what is happening around users.

But while Filipinos are chiefly interested about people whenever they go to social media, UM found that brands with strong, meaningful social media presence is invaluable.

Some 63% of Filipinos think more positively about brands with pages on social networks and actively join online brand communities to learn more about the brand (92%);to get advance news about products (88%) and to share their appreciation with others (85%).

“Content is now the fast moving consumer goods and Filipinos are voracious consumers of content. Brands and publishers can seize this opportunity to tell interesting stories and engage with them at a deeper, more personal level,” Jusi explains.

The platform has even become a key place to boost professional profile, as well as influence opinion and earn respect, Wave 7 reveals.

Professional social networking (LinkedIn, Biznik, Cofoundr, etc) has shown the fastest growth in the past year globally as where it increased 17%, rising from 41% in Wave6 to 58% this year.

Filipinos (36%), together with the Vietnamese (44%) see social media as essential to improving social status and build career and financial opportunities. In contrasr, the South Koreans at 22% were the least keen in the APAC region to leverage its career advancement opportunities.