Connected Brazil

Connected Brazil

“Brazil’s expanding middle class is increasingly going online, and social media are particularly popular because of Brazil’s hyper-social culture”, say social-media executives.

That makes Brazil a bright spot for social-media companies as they seek more growth outside the U.S. and Europe. Brazil is particularly appealing because China, the world’s biggest emerging market, currently blocks sites like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, preventing the companies from cashing in on the nation’s fast-growing economy.

Facebook Inc. has some 65 million users in Brazil, which makes it the company’s second largest market after the U.S. by number of users, according to social-analytics company Socialbakers.

By the end of 2012, Brazil was also the biggest market outside the U.S. by number of unique visitors for Google Inc.’s YouTube, and one of YouTube’s top five markets by revenue. Meanwhile, Twitter Inc. says Brazil has become one of the micro-blogging company’s top-five active user groups.

People in Brazil are spending increasing amounts of time connected to social-media sites. Globally, the average time spent on Facebook dropped 2% to 361 average minutes per user per month by September 2012, compared with a year earlier, according to comScore research. But in Brazil, Facebook time grew 208% to 535 minutes over the same period. Meanwhile, the average time spent per YouTube visitor in Brazil grew 5% to 140 minutes, even as it dropped 3% to 161 minutes worldwide.

Brazilian users especially like to chat, almost constantly, about TV shows, sports and news, he says. “I think our culture…really makes people much more open to include and connect to friends.”

“Brazilians have this passion to share information, to share pictures,” says Álvaro Paes de Barros, director of YouTube content partnerships in Latin America. Meanwhile, with the World Cup and Olympics coming to Brazil soon, he says, Brazilian content is spreading farther because “there’s a lot of curiosity about Brazil.”

Twitter has recently launched operations in São Paulo and is hiring its own sales, marketing and business-development teams here, according to Shailesh Rao, Twitter’s vice president of international revenue growth.

The research firm eMarketer Inc. says that spending on online ads in Brazil will double to $4 billion over the next four years. So far, Brazilian consumers have shown an unusual willingness to make purchases online using credit cards. People are buying everything “from a book to a car online, which is not very common in other countries,” Mr. Hohagen of Facebook says. In markets like India, e-commerce, a key online advertising driver, is at an earlier stage of development.

But Brazil has challenges as well. The country’s digital advertising market is growing from a small base, and Brazilian marketers spend only 10.6% of their ad budgets on digital ads, compared with 19.8% world-wide, according to eMarketer.

Brazil’s economic growth has also slowed to about 1% in 2012 from 2.7% in 2011 and 7.5% in 2010. High taxation on payrolls and a prohibitive amount of bureaucracy are just some of the hurdles that face any foreign company trying to break into the market.

Still, officials predict an economic recovery this year, consumers in Brazil have been eager to spend, and with a growing number of people buying smartphones and computers, signs point to continuing growth in connectivity.

Source: Wall Street Journal

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