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Global Social Media Marketing: France

The online population of France has grown at a steady pace in the past decade. The 40.24 million users in January 2012 represent 71.6% of French population aged above 11.

Rising Internet Population of France
45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Dec-05 May-05 Apr-08 Oct-04 Jun-09 Mar-04 Mar-11 Aug-03 Nov-08 Aug-10 Feb-07 Sep-07 Oct-11 Jan-03 Jan-10 Jul-06 No. of Internet Users (in millions)

Source: Médiamétrie, France

Out of these, almost 77% have at least one account in a social network, which translates to more than 30 million users directly involved in social media in France. The top five websites for internet users in France are given as follows 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Facebook Windows Live YouTube Skyrock

Out of the top 5 websites which includes the search engines there are three social media websites, Facebook, YouTube and Skyrock. Combine this knowledge with the above stated fact of 77% social network users from the internet population; it is no wonder that impact of social media is more than just among friends. They are participants in the elections, sports, new business arising solely out of social media, and existing business saving millions with the use of numbers provided by the social networking websites.

Social media in France has been steadily increasing and is expected to rise further as per the report of “eMarketer” which is represented by the figure given below. Level of Social Network Use in France
60% 58% 56% 54% 52% 50% 48% 46% 44%

59% 57% 54% 50%

% of Internet Users





As is evident more than half of internet users, are part of social networks in France. It is also claimed that almost 2/3rd of the users of social networks log on daily, and more than 90% do so at least once a week. (Ipsos MediaCT - Observatoire des Internautes 2011). While the French are among the more conservative types, this surge in social media is also assisted by the fact that use of social networks on the mobile has been also rising continuously, as is illustrated in the figure below. Mobile Social Network Use in France
35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 10% 5% 5% 0% 3.7% 7.5% 15% 11.5% 22% 17.2% 31% 24.6%

% of Mobile Phone Users % of Population






What is noteworthy is the faster rise of % of population using mobile social networks as compared to the rise of use of social networks in the existing mobile internet population. This can be possibly attributed to the convenience that mobile brings in to social media. People may not make an effort to sit on their desktop for exclusively social networking purposes, but a mobile through social media applications brings in the ease which is much required to stay with the speed of social media.

Like U.K., the top three applications where users are spending most of their time are social networking websites (46%), French social network population is also spending almost 31% of their time in the social networking websites, where Facebook clearly leads in terms of frequency and times spent. (Ipsos France - Ipsos MediaCT, February 2012). It is also these social media applications for mobile users which have possibly increased the number of social networking websites one person is registered to, as is illustrated again by the figure below. Membership in number of social Networks
4 3 2 1 0 2009 2010 2011 2012 1.9 2.9 2.8 3.5

In 2012, a user may be a registered on more than 3 social networking websites. In fact another survey reveals that 82% of Internet users declare themselves members of at least one social network which is a significant growth which was the fastest from 2008 to 2009.

Growth in number of people who are member of at least one social network

In 2010 it was commented on by Robin Goad, European Research Director at Experian Hitwise that France spends more time on entertainment and webmail based services than the similar sized country U.K. Social networks and forums picked up the second spot in terms of internet visit (12.85%), 10% higher than U.K., and sports, travel, news and media, and education are the main websites which were hit by French online population. With the growth that we have seen in the social networking population after 2010, it would be safe to assume that those visits must have increased substantially.

Use of Social Media
Having spoken so much about the burst seen in social media, it would be wise to look at what people are actually doing on social media. Ifop, in its report “Observatoire des Réseaux Sociaux” tried to find out what people were doing on the social networks, and the following is what they found. They asked a question “You personally follow you on social networks news related to ...?” It was found from the results, that it is not actors (23%) or politicians (20%) or brands (27%) that were being the most followed, but the musicians (34%). Second in line would be the promotions for the new films (32%), which re-emphasize the statement made by Robin Goad, European Research Director at Experian Hitwise in 2010 about French internet population spending more time on entertainment when online, as mentioned earlier. Below is the figure which serves as base for the above said arguments.

The Entertainment Activity On Social Networks
The writers / writers 3% 13% Facilitators / animators television ouradio 3% 14% Women / politicians 4% 16% Actresses / actors 5% brands 6% Promoting new films Musical artists 8% 7% 0% regularly 18% 21% 24% 27% 20% Occasionally 22% 21% 21% 21% 22% 19% 17% 40% rarely 60% never 62% 62% 59% 56% 51% 49% 49% 80% 100% 120%

Another question which now arises from the last answer is why are these people being followed, what are the most prominent reasons? Several responses were found when asked “When you follow an artist (singer, actor, writer ...) on social networks, what are you looking first?” and the response is as follows.

To keep you informed about the news 57% To obtain information on its projects 18% To discover other aspects of his personality 10% To learn more about his personal life 7% To share your tastes with your contacts 5% To create the closeness between you and him 0% 3% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60%

Simply put, people want to know what is happening with their favorite artists, and social media is the perfect platform to provide them this information in real time. There are multiple uses for social media platforms, and the prime would be to stay updated in real time which is provided by these platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Copains d’avant, deezer and many more which we will discuss in the following section.

Social Media Platforms and the user demography.
What is unique in case of France is the vast difference in terms of awareness vs. participation in the social networking websites. The top 10 websites in terms of awareness and top 10 websites in terms of participation are given as follows (Ipsos MediaCT - Observatoire des Internautes 2011).
Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Awareness Website Facebook YouTube Twitter Windows Live Messenger Copains D’avant Daily Motion Google+ Deezer MySpace Picasa Percentage 95% 94% 89% 89% 84% 81% 79% 63% 61% 55% Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Participation Website Facebook Windows Live Messenger Copains D’avant Deezer YouTube Google+ Picasa Trombi Twitter Viadeo Percentage 54% 46% 33% 25% 24% 21% 15% 14% 12% 11%

Some of the things which clearly strike out are given as follows  Facebook is clearly the leader, both in terms of awareness as well as participation.

 

There is a vast difference between awareness of twitter vs. participation in twitter. This can be partially attributed to the conservative French nature, and partly because of the popularity of blogs in France. Google+ is the only website which is as close to participation as it is in awareness.

What the above total shows us is the current position of the websites, while what would complete the picture is the growth that they have experienced over the years as is demonstrated by the figure given below.

Facebook has been consistently gaining ground in the French social network arena, and the local website Copains D’avant has been losing its share. Copains D’avant which literally means “Friends from another age” was launched in 2000, and it held almost half the market share back in 2009. The gain of Facebook has possibly come from the launch of French version of Facebook in 2010. Twitter even though in top 3 websites in terms of awareness, still is no. 9 when participation is concerned. However it is gaining ground, slowly but steadily. Windows live messenger has had its highs and lows. Ironically enough, in terms of market share in participation it is at exactly the same level in 2012 as it was in 2009. Some of the ways this gap between awareness and participation is highlighted by the following figures.

Participation vs. Awareness in terms of Gender

Takeaways from the figure above   Participation of male members is a lot more than female in Copains D’avant. Facebook is the undisputed favorite among both male (95%) and female (97%).

Participation vs. Awareness in terms of different age groups

Takeaways from the figure above   Participation of the members in the 18-24 category in Windows live messenger (74%) rivals Facebook (77%). The lack of awareness of Copains d’avant is much more in the 65+ category (66%) as compared to any other, closest being 18-24 category which is (82% awareness). Considering Copains D’avant being the oldest network this is surprising.

Participation vs. Awareness in terms of Occupation

Takeaways from the above figure  The most members of Copains D’avant come from the intermediate occupations category (45%) and the least from the artist’s category (24%). This is possibly because the “follow” option is not present on the Copains D’avant as compared to other social networks, and artists being the most “followed” choose Facebook and YouTube to keep in touch with their fans. Maximum participation in all social networks comes from the managerial staff category.

Businesses can target specific platforms to reach their targeted audience. Not only are businesses utilizing the information provided but there are businesses which have come up specifically through social media such as TripnCo. There are various sectors such as sports, politics and others which have been significantly influenced by social media. Let’s look at some of the major social platforms in France and their specifics. Facebook As per the statistics provided by Socialbakers, 39% of the population, and 50% of the internet population of France in 2012 was on Facebook. As of Dec. 2012 there are more than 25 million facebook users in France, of which 1.3 million users joined in the past 6 months. A quick look at Facebook’s performance from July 2012 to December 2012 gives us an idea of the growth pattern.

Clearly Facebook has been continuously increasing its presence in France. From the following users, it should be useful to see which age group is dominating the Facebook in France.

Distribution of Facebook users by Age
13-15, 6% 16-17, 8% 55-64, 6% 65-100, 3% 25-34, 26%

45-54, 10% 35-44, 16%

18-24, 24%

Source: Social Bakers

More than 2/3rd of the facebook users fall in the 18-44 categories with 18-34 claiming half the share of total French facebook population. Growth is almost at level in the age categories between 25-54 years with 18-24 years being the leader of growth in facebook. Facebook is one platform which leads the social media in all categories, be it in terms of age, gender, or occupation. Facebook has more women (57%) registered in it as compared to men

(51%). It is also the most popular site among managerial staff (63%). The infographic here presents a quick snapshot of Facebook in France.

Twitter While the acceptance of twitter has been slow it has certainly gained ground since 2009. As far as awareness is concerned twitter ranks among top 3 in the social networking websites in France (89%). However the awareness has not translated to participation, where twitter still struggles at no. 9 position (12%). As per beevolve, there are approximately 1.76 million twitter users in France. As compared to other countries, twitter has a lot of ground to cover in France. The figure below compares different countries in terms of gender distribution of twitter.

This gives us an idea that twitter is used more by men (15%) than women (10%) in France. The following graphs display the use of twitter among various categories. Twitter Users
25 20 15 10 5 0 Twitter Users 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0

Twitter Users

Twitter Users

As expected, the 18-24 category has the most twitter users and 65+ the least. When occupation is concerned the Managerial staff has the most number of twitter users with least number among workers.

Copains D’avant Back in 2009, Copains D’avant was the closest competitor that Facebook had in France. This website came into being in 2000 and was used to find and connect with old school/college friends. The biggest dent in its performance was caused by the launch of French version of Facebook in November 2009. But apart from that, many consider that it was not exactly a “social networking” website as compared to Facebook. Some of the reasons being    There was no micro blogging (such as the “wall” on facebook). Cannot create a group/fan page. No video/link/event sharing.

Keeping all the above factors in mind, it was always going to be difficult for Copains D’avant to compete with facebook. The decline is evident from the figure below

Growth/Decline in membership in Social Networks

While Copains D’avant is the homebred social networking website, unless it updates itself with new features, chances of survival are dismal. What is most surprising is that awareness of Copains D’avant is not only low in the 18-24 age category but also in the 65+ category. You would have thought that the elderly generation would have stuck to the old school ways.

Social Media Monitoring
Most of the world’s social media monitoring tools and companies are US giants. The following table gives us an overview of SMM tools and services in different countries, also featuring France with 6 SMM tools and services.
Number of SMM Tools and Services 146 22 15 10 7 6 6 4 4 4 3 3 2 2 Number of SMM Tools and Services 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

HQ Country United States United Kingdom Canada Germany Spain France Russia Sweden Netherlands Israel Singapore China Australia Italy

HQ Country Argentina Switzerland Belgium Japan South Africa India Chile Finland Ukraine Belgium United Arab Emirates Norway Austria Brazil

Social Media Monitoring Tools and Services Report 2012 by Ideya Market Report, 3rd Edition July 2012

Some of the companies actively involved in SMM services in France are
Company Tool Platforms All All All All All Twitter All

Ecairn Synthesio Twenty feet AT Internet Semiocast Needium Media Monitors

BuzzWatcher Semioboard Needium

With 58% of the world’s SMM services coming from US, France and Russia together account for only 2% of the world’s share. However, considering the huge number of free tools available everywhere, there is opportunity for marketers to gain an initial perspective of the French social market.

Tips for Social Marketers
While Social media is making its impact in France, there are certain things a marketer should take into consideration before making a move into social media platforms.   There is a big gap in awareness versus participation in social networks. For example, while some reports show that twitter is huge n France, they are actually pointing out the awareness section. While there are local social networking platforms available, one must keep an eye on the growth/decline patterns. While even now Copains D’avant holds the third position in social networking platforms, its decline has been steady. Similarly while windows live messenger is the second most popular social network in France, recent announcements have been made by Microsoft about taking it off from the market. Therefore current trends matter more than current numbers in France By political decree from 1990 has been re-implemented in France. This prohibits any French program from promoting any social networking websites, asking people to participate in them. While the French media has found ways to deal with situation, openly promoting is not as prominent as in other countries. Rise in mobile social network users means that the companies will now have to ensure that their promotion methods are compatible with the mobile versions of the social networking websites.

The following figures provide a quick snapshot of the social network user demography in France, and the top social networking websites.
Membership in Social Networks Deezer YouTube Copains d’avant Windows Live… Facebook

Membership in Social Networks YouTube Deezer Males
19% 25% 32% 47% 57%

34% 45% 51%

Copains… Windows… Facebook 0% Participation by Gender


0% 20% 40% 60%

20% 40% 60%

Membership in Social Networks google+ deezer youtube Windows live… Facebook 0% 50%
23% 44% 51% 74% 77%

Membership in Social Networks Picasa google+ Copains d'avant 18-24 Windows live… Facebook
21% 23% 23% 29% 33%


100% Participation by Age




Membership in Social Networks viadeo copains… deezer Windows… Facebook 0% 50%
35% 36% 38% 47% 63%

Membership in Social Networks deezer youtube
22% 23% 32% 43% 53%

managerial staff

Copains d'avant Windows live… Facebook



0% 20% 40% 60%

Participation by Occupation

References Ipsos MediaCT - Observatoire des Internautes 2011 European Travel Commission, New Media Trend Watch, Why social media will reveal French election winner, By Alice Antheaume, Special for CNN April 19, 2012, Social networks: the most experienced and vigilant user by Ipsos Media CT, Observatoire des Réseaux Sociaux by Ifop, Nov. 2012. An Exhaustive Study of Twitter Users Across the World, France Facebook Statistics by Social Bakers,