The Globalization of Social Media: Consumer Relationships with Brands Evolve in the Digital Space

Graeme Hutton and Maggie Fosdick

Universal McCann (UM)

INTRODUCTION: RIDING THE WAVE

Social-Media Ecosystem

Since Universal McCann (UM) initiated its “Wave” global social media study series in 2006, the dynamics, behaviors, and even structures of the ecosystem have evolved and changed dramatically. For example, video has become the dominant force in social media, overtaking the written form—the latter exemplified by blogs having been the clear leader in 2006.

In Wave 1, reading blogs stood at 54 percent. By Wave 5, blogging engagement had steadily risen to 77 percent. By comparison, watching video clips on video sharing Web sites—YouTube, for instance—was undertaken by only 35 percent of respondents in Wave 1. By Wave 5, watching video clips had eclipsed reading blogs to become the number one activity at 87 percent.