GLOBAL: There are three different types of social media users following brands according to new research which suggests marketers should focus their efforts on the small group which follows brands on a regular basis and interacts directly with them.

Social@Ogilvy and SurveyMonkey ran a global, 11-country survey (Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, the UK, and US) of more than 5,500 adult social media users and distinguished three types of fan.

It found that social media users across all markets universally engaged with brands, with 84% reporting they "like" or follow a brand or product, a proportion that rose to the mid-nineties in emerging markets like China, Brazil and India.

Six in ten (58%) said they shared both good and bad brand experiences, an activity which made them engaged but not true brand advocates, the report said.

Authentic brand promoters – those respondents who self-identified as extremely likely to recommend brands and products to friends – made up only 19% of all respondents.

Once again, this figure was much higher in some emerging markets, especially Brazil and India, where 42% and 33% of respondents identified themselves as brand promoters.

These promoters scored ahead of sharers on several points, being more likely to follow brands on a regular basis (66% v 52%) and to interact directly with them (52% v 42%). In addition, they were significantly more likely to follow brands in order to be associated with them and their values (39% v 28%).

Further, the report found that friends and followers of promoters also tend to follow brands on social media.

Many promoters (59%) saw their networks regularly mention brands and products, compared to only 47% of sharers. And promoters were much more likely to respond to the interactions their friends had with brands: 35% would purchase a product if it was mentioned by a friend versus just 24% of sharers.

While promoters were most prominent in emerging markets, the report noted some important cultural nuances.

Indonesia, for example, had very few promoters despite 70% of respondents sharing brand experiences, indicating that "the more passive approach of advocacy via social sharing may be more popular in Asian countries".

Data sourced from social@Ogilvy; additional content by Warc staff