GLOBAL: Some four in ten consumers globally say social media is important to them, a proportion that rises to 50% among under-35s, new data has shown.

Ipsos OTX, the global innovation centre for market research firm Ipsos, polled 18,002 online respondents across 24 countries and found that, on a scale from one to five where five meant "very important" and one "not at all important", 18% rated social media at the top end.

Moving down the scale, 23% gave it a four, 33% were neutral on three, while 13% scored it at two and the same again at one.

The big story, however, said Ipsos OTX, was in the demographics, where age appeared to be the strongest driver of how people attributed importance to social media.

Half of the those aged under 35 rated it at five or four. Comparable figures for those aged 25-49 were 38%, while for those aged 50-64 this total dropped further to 30%.

Women were also more likely than men to rate social media highly, at 46% against 37%.

Ipsos OTX broke the figures down further into geographic groups, with the highest scores coming in emerging markets, including Turkey (64%), Brazil (63%), Indonesia (62%), China (61%), India (59%), Saudi Arabia (59%), Mexico (54%) and South Africa (52%).

A middle tier comprised Argentina (45%), Russia (44%), Spain (42%), Poland (37%), Hungary (36%), Sweden (35%), Germany (33%), Great Britain (33%) and the United States (32%).

Developed countries dominated a third group of countries less interested in social media, including Australia (30%), Italy (30%), Belgium (29%), Canada (28%), South Korea (28%), Japan (24%) and France (17%).

With 74% of respondents globally not feeling negative about social media, marketers are continually looking for ways to get value from the channel which has rapidly become an integral part of business.

Recent issues of Admap have addressed ways in which this might be done, with, for example, social media strategies that define business objectives with appropriate metrics, or new social listening tools that better understand what is being talked about.

In addition, Warc is currently accepting entries for the Warc Prize for Social Strategy, a global competition with a $10,000 prize fund, to find the best examples of social ideas that drive business results.

The Prize, which is free to enter and open to clients and agencies in any discipline, will look for examples of marketing or communications strategies that inspire social effects and also a measurable business impact.

Data sourced from Ipsos OTX, Admap; additional content by Warc staff