Yes, We do Engage
Although we might think that the UK is the trendiest country in Europe when regarding online culture (and all other sorts of cultures), this is a stereotype that slowly looses its strength. Europe it’s a world apart, and although the little island of the Queen indeed it’s ahead front many things, some other countries are way ahead in the digital markets. Online Video for example.
Researches show that Germans are the most engaged when it comes to viewing videos online. 46.9 million Germans viewed 11 billion online videos in March 2012, showing a 71 percent increase since January, 2011. Just to compare: in April 2011, 45 million unique viewers in Germany watched an average of 187 videos for 19.6 hours per viewer. Turkey came in second, with 20.7 million viewers averaging 169 videos over 18.7 hours per viewer. The UK rounded off the top three, with 166 videos watched for 17.0 hours on average per viewer.
The country size can be deceiving, since Germany is way bigger than the United Kingdom. But then how come the numbers between Russia and Germany are so close? Obviously Russia is still ahead, but we aren’t only talking about proportions here. What counts most is engagement, meaning the number of unique viewers and time of view. And these rates only increase.
Nowadays, 83% of the total population of the country are online. Out if this rate, we have 82.9% reach of the audience regarding online video. By 2016, predictions are of 59.6 million netizens in Germany – rates of unique viewers will proportionally grow.
Numbers are enough to prove that Germany has been the strongest European market for online videos since 2009 or so. But analyzing the sources where videos are watched, we can dive deeper into another kind of discussion. While Google ranks as the main source through YouTube, not only in Germany but in Europe in general, we can see also a huge increase in Facebook, putting back the spot into the concept of Social Video. Facebook is increasing viewership in most countries, and ranked in the top three online video destinations in five out of the seven reported European countries. Local online video destinations also ranked among the top three in Germany (ProSiebenSat.1 Sites and RTL Group Sites).
What differs German social culture from other European cultures though is the way of interacting with social networks: eMarketer estimates there are more social media users in Germany than any other country in Western Europe, with the total of 29.2 million. This puts it ahead of the country with the No. 2 spot in the region, the UK, by more than 3 million users.
Not That Social
Germans brand oriented and very active on social media sites, as well: according to a survey done on April 2012 conducted by Tomorrow Focus Media, 66.8% of those who followed brands in social media read the posts and messages about brands or products that they followed. The particular fact here is that the Germans do not interact the way other Europeans do - while a majority were consumers of content, a substantial minority also shared and interacted with brands on social media: 29.6% shared posts and 26% commented on the sites.
Nearly all brand fans (85.6%) expected to be kept up to date with current information and news about their chosen brands, while a smaller percentage expected custom content (57.8%), direct contact and interaction (45.8%), and exclusive social media deals (41.0%). A very low-profile and “German” behavior, I would say.
Despite high user numbers however, social media in Germany is still comparatively undeveloped. Out of the EU-5 countries of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, Germany has the lowest social media penetration among internet users, at 51.1% according to numbers of 2012, leaving more room for growth. What leads us to another very interesting topic: what’s the role of advertising in here? Going even further? Online video advertising is effective in this quiet, low-profile country?
It seems advertisers haven't fully embraced the online video market, as an article published in late 2012 by one Video Ad Tech company states. According to the numbers in this article, online video ad spending counts for only 3.5 percent of total digital ad budgets in Germany, despite the fact that 82 percent of Germans view online videos. On the other hand, the same study finds that advertiser interest in online video is strong: 78 percent of German ad agency executives say that digital video is an equally effective or more effective way to reach consumers, as compared to display advertising. Additionally, 59 percent say that digital video is as effective or more effective than TV advertising. Asked what they find valuable about online video advertising, 32 percent of the survey respondents said ad unit formats, while 21 percent liked the demographic targeting abilities.
Once again, viewing the potential of the best European market for online video, there are plenty of lessons that can be achieved. The main one is related to respect: the local culture should be respected and integrated into the marketing strategy. That’s clear to see when we mention the profile of the Germans face branding and Social Media. Second big lesson: unique formats and targeting won’t lead advertisers anywhere if, again, the market is underdeveloped or not ready to absorb these technologies. Each step at a time. Finally, we can conclude this post saying that Europe is not a big pot. It is usual to fall into the mistake of the “global mentality” an to forget the peculiarities of each country, what makes each and every country unique and singular. The globalization brought it as a beauty and as a sin at the same time, standardizing countries, people and cultures. Well, the proof that might not work sometimes is here. Beauty (and all the rest) lies in the difference.