UK Lags US in Exploitation of Social Networking Media - Or Does It?

04 March 2008

LONDON: Hard on the heels of the TNS Media Intelligence -Cymfony social network marketing report featured in Monday's WARC News, it seems that UK advertisers seriously lag their US counterparts in adopting the medium. 

The survey polled over sixty marketers in North America, France and the UK, among them such companies as Diageo, GlaxoSmithKline, Hewlett Packard and Sony.

Nearly 50% of stateside marketers believe that social networking media such as Facebook, MySpace and Bebo must be embraced as a matter of urgency if their brands are to stay ahead of the market; a mere 18% of UK marketers felt likewise.

The TNSMI report claims that UK marketers see themselves as still at a "learning stage" with regard to social networking media, whereas their peers in the US and Canada believe themselves to be at the "experimental "stage. [Or might this simply be a difference in transatlantic semantics?]

TNSMI chief strategy and marketing officer Jim Nail arched his eyebrows at the UK's apparent foot-dragging over its approach to social media. They ignore it at their peril, he warned. 

He moved into Cassandra mode.

"We are already seeing the damage done to brands who ignore negative publicity on networking sites; and with hundreds of thousands new subscribers signing up each day, this influence is only going to increase," Nail thundered Old Testament style.

Could be, of course, that marketers on the eastern side of the pond are a tad more cynical than their stateside cousins about the relentless hyping of such media by their proprietors and proponents such as the Internet Advertising Bureau.

They might also be pondering if the web wunderkinder are already over the hill after reading a recent report by Nielsen Netratings that the UK's three top social networking sites in January saw a decline in net membership: Facebook and MySpace by 5% and Bebo by 2%.

Data sourced from multiple origins; additional content by WARC staff