Social Media in the BRICs: Data from Universal McCann

Geoffrey Precourt

In 2006, when Universal McCann (UM) began a series of 'Wave’ social-media studies, the digital ecosystem was still adjusting to the concept of clusters of consumers. "We were trying to understand the hows and whys," Maggie Fosdick, the agency's VP/research director, told a Key Issue Forum at the Advertising Research Foundation's (ARF) Audience Measurement 6.0 assembly in New York. "We were looking for some key shifts in needs and behavior," with a particular eye toward platforms where brands could find a presence."

And, in 2006 – when Wave 1 began with a sample of 7,500 in 15 countries – understanding social media meant figuring out how blogs worked and who was watching video; Facebook was two years old and Twitter had just launched. Indeed, it wasn't until Wave 3 in 2008 that the queries such as "manage a profile on a social network" or "visit a friend's social network page" made their way into the Wave survey.