Time for brands to take social seriously

Almost two-thirds of social media users in Asia Pacific turn to social media to learn more about brands, products and services or hear about others' positive or negative experiences, at least once per week.

The findings are part of Nielsen's State of Social Media Report, which states the use of social media and accessing it via mobile phones is at an all time high in the region.

In Asia Pacific, usage of mobile device to access social media was 12 points higher than the global average and 11 points higher than the next closest region, Middle East and Africa. Mobile social media usage was particularly pronounced in Singapore and Indonesia at 70% and 65% respectively.

"Social media usage is evolving from being focused on personal updates to increasingly being used to access product and company information," Yasir Yousuff, NM Incite MD, APMEA said.

He added that social networking and review sites provide companies with insights about consumers and their preferences and experiences that have never been accessible before.

"Not only can brands deliver messages and content to customers via this channel, but importantly they can tune in to conversations taking place on social platforms to better understand consumers' wants, needs and demands," Yousuff (pictured) added.

Smartphone ownership is higher in APAC than any other region in the world with 44% owning a smartphone, compared to less than one-third in regions such as North America (31%) and Europe (30%). Ownership of smartphones in Asia-Pacific has almost doubled compared to the same quarter a year ago.

Overall, almost three in five (58%) social media users are actively seek deals online such as monetary incentives, coupons and promotions, the study said.

The study was conducted 10 to 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.