Last night I returned from a whirlwind trip to Ogilvy in Mexico City, where I was lucky enough to conduct a day long training session for 15 of the office’s most social media savvy staff. Having the opportunity to broaden my horizons beyond the US, and look at social through a more global lens was invaluable. Below are FIVE key insights I picked up from my research, and great discussions I had with my Ogilvy team members and Jesus Hoyas (President of the Social Media Club – Mexico City):
1. Internet Penetration in Mexico is Growing Rapidly Internet penetration in Mexico is hovering between 25 – 30%. This rate that is low compared to many Asian and European countries, and while it trails a few other LATM countries (notably Brazil, Colombia and Argentina) percentage wise, Mexico is in fact second only to Brazil in terms of sheer number of people online (111,000,000+). Internet penetration will continue to grow at a rapid pace in Mexico. Stats on LATM internet penetration can be found here.
2. Social Media Adoption is STRONG and Driven by Young Influencers Internet growth is lead by Mexico’s youth - 48% of all Internet users in Mexico are 15 – 24, compared with 35% in Latin America, and 26% worldwide (ComScore State of Internet Report – Mexico, 2009). So, it’s no surprise that early adopters/heavy Internet users in Mexico are using social platforms at a rate higher than most countries in the world – beating worldwide averages for time spent online a month (Ibid).
(Stats from Universal McCann Wave 3)
While the general population is inverted – using social at rates lower than most other large countries globally, these young early adopters represent the future of social media in Mexico. These are the trendsetters who are leading their lives online – for an increasing number of people in Mexico to see – and they will be the influencers of tomorrow.
3. Online Affinity Groups are Slow to Form – “Personal” Use Dominates in Social That being said, groups of online influencers organized around affinity groups have yet to truly emerge in Mexico. Unlike the online scene in the US (which is segmented out by Mom Bloggers, Food Bloggers, Tech Bloggers, Bloggers Who Have Red Hair, Ride Horses and Live Within 30 minutes of a Stateline, etc, etc, etc,) Mexico’s social media universe has not matured to the point of fragmentation. I discussed this with Ogilvy’s Gonzalo Fragoso, author of the popular Yo No Quiero Blog, who confirmed that many of the “biggest” bloggers in Mexico are using blogs for what they were originally intended – personal online journals – versus a platform for membership in a larger affinity group. Now, that doesn’t mean that Mexican’s aren’t interested in niche content – in fact many people I talked to note that when they are looking for specific blog content they turn to US sites, or Spanish language blogs from elsewhere in LATM and Europe. This has obvious implications for the types of social media campaigns one would create in Mexico at present, and it will be interesting to watch the space evolve vis-à-vis “special interest” influencers.
4. Digital Spends are Small, and Social Media Spend is Smaller Experts I spoke with approximate that 5% of budgets are going to digital – owning to Mexico’s Internet penetration, and the low-cost of advertising on television. Brands in Mexico run the gamut from those with no familiarity with social, to those who are getting ready to experiment. Among those experimenting, most all campaigns are channel focused (a Twitter account, a Facebook page…) and are rarely tied to a broader, ongoing social media strategy. This is something we still struggle to overcome in the US – and like here, the answer is education and internal trainings for clients, and seriously demonstrating the ROI of pilot social media programs in order to sell in more sustained, strategy driven campaigns.
5. Ogilvy Mexico is Ready to Go! I was super impressed with the team we have down in Mexico City – the 15 or so that I trained were all heavy social media users themselves, and extremely eager to apply their enthusiasm and creativity to client work. We’re lucky to have these guys on our global team, and I can’t wait to see what comes next for them.