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GlobalWebIndex identifies extensive business usage of social media

GlobalWebIndex (GlobalWebIndex) - 20 October 2011

GlobalWebIndex identifies extensive business usage of social media

B2B decision makers are the heaviest users of social media
Gap between B2B and consumer usage widest in developed markets
Online conversations as powerful as face-to-face meetings in key markets

London, UK ---- GlobalWebIndex, the world’s most detailed global insight study into
behaviour online, has released its first look at social media behaviour of business
decision makers.

Based in interviews with 17,425 decision makers in 27 markets from July 2009 to
June 2011. All those interviewed – across 14 categories and five different sizes of
company – had directly made purchase decisions for their organisation.

Social Strategy for B2B Marketing 2011, identifies four clear trends:
B2B decision-makers are the most socially engaged in the world: B2B decision
makers are the most socially active consumers for all markets and demographics. This
underlines how fundamental social media has become to B2B marketing.

For example, as of June 2011, global figures show that: 39% of decision-makers had
used a micro-blog in the last month versus 22% for the average internet user and 60% had used a social network versus 50% for the average internet user.

B2B decision-makers stand out most in developed markets: B2B decision-makers
stand out most from general consumer behaviour in developed markets. In developing markets such as China, they are still more active than the norm, but the gap is significantly smaller.

For example, when we asked B2B decision markers if they had used a micro-blogging
service in the last month: 15% said yes in the US compared to 7% of the internet
population as a whole. The figures are 19% compared to 9% for the UK and 55%
compared to 48% in China.

Social media has become the most influential communication in most markets: Social
media communication has become the most influential channel for business purchases
globally, out-ranking face-to-face meetings, conferences, client entertaining or
traditional trade advertising in most markets.

In June 2011, global decision makers said “Conversations with people from a company/organisation on a social network” was their leading influence scoring 15%,
the second ranked motivation was “direct mails”, scoring 13%. Among senior decision makers – those at senior manager level and above – conversations were level with “sales presentations”, both scoring 16%.

Conversations online now outrank advertising, direct mailings, webinars, conferences
and corporate events while “Branded communities created by the
company/organisation” are seen as more influential than corporate events /

A few markets still favour face-to-face meetings over online ones, however. Turkey is
the internet market, where face to face “sales presentations” are most valued over
“online conversations”, which lag by 28 percentage points. Face to face also
dominates in Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sweden, Mexico and Indonesia. In Australia, Spain, Argentina, the UK and Japan “online conversations” are most
valued over “sales presentations”.

B2B decision-makers are increasing their usage of social media: Despite an already
high level of usage between July 2009 and July 2011, for example, social network
usage increased from 41% to 60%, while micro-blogging grew from 21% to 39%.
Senior decision makers in the US have increased their use of social networks over the
same period with 59% now having managed a profile in the last month compared to
53% in July 2009.

Likewise in Germany, 45% of decision makers have updated their profile compared to
24% in July 2009. In China the same group have increased their usage of social media up from 31% to 60% over the same period.

“Social media has become an essential tool for business to business marketers and in
some markets participation in these platforms could be the different between getting
your foot in the door and making the sale. Our research highlights the need for B2B
marketers to have a sophisticated strategy for leveraging the right platforms,
empowering their staff to participate and making contact with client decision
markers,” said Brett Petersen, Senior Strategy Consultant at GlobalWebIndex.

About the GlobalWebIndex
The GlobalWebIndex is the most detailed on-going global study into the internet
consumer’s attitudes, motivation and multi-platform internet behaviour, enabling
clients to understand the impact of internet-enabled platforms on their target audience, business category and market impact.

GlobalWebIndex was launched July 2009 and has since delivered five waves of
research, covering nearly 100,000 internet users in 27 countries. In 2011 there will be three waves of research, expanding to more than 120,000 consumers in 36 markets in 2012.

The GlobalWebIndex is used by some of the world’s biggest media, PR, digital and
creative agencies including Starcom MediaVest, Ogilvy and Razorfish. Other clients
include Nokia, Boston Consulting Group, Orangina Schweppes and BBC Worldwide.

Media Contact

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