Last year, when the family Barbosa made a failed attempt to interpret an old religious song in a video Brazilian family considered it quite funny enough to upload it to YouTube.
But do not expect the rest of Brazil to laugh with them. In a few weeks, the video was seen and shared millions of times on YouTube and Facebook . The parodies, including an animated version of The Simpsons, spread like wildfire.
The show’s popularity reflects the Barbosa growth of social media in the largest country in Latin America. The Brazilian middle class, rapidly expanding, increasingly are accessing the Internet, and social media are especially popular because the country hypersocial culture, industry executives say.
This makes Brazil a magnet for social networking companies, seeking greater growth outside the United States and Europe. Brazil is particularly attractive because China, the world’s largest emerging market, currently blocks sites like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, which prevents these companies are enriched with the booming Chinese economy.
Facebook Inc. has about 65 million users in Brazil, making it the second largest market by number of users after the U.S., according to research firm Socialbackers. By the end of 2012, Brazil was also the largest market outside the U.S., by number of unique visitors, on YouTube, Google Inc., and one of the top five markets by revenue YouTube. At the same time, Twitter Inc. says that Brazil now ranks as one of the five major groups of active users of the microblogging service.
The Brazilians devote more time to social media pages. Globally, the average time spent on Facebook fell 2% until September 2012, to 361 minutes per month per user, compared to a year earlier, according to comScore.
But in Brazil, the time on Facebook soared 208% to 535 minutes during the same period. At the same time, the average time per user YouTube in Brazil grew 5% to 140 minutes, although it was down 3%, to 161 minutes worldwide.
In Brazil, “is common for someone to talk in the elevator or in the restaurant just to make conversation,” says Alexandre Hohagen, deputy director of Facebook for Latin America.
A Brazilian users love to talk, almost constantly, TV programs, sports and news, says. “I think our culture … really makes people more open to include other people and connect with friends.”
The rise of social media in Brazil has even helped catapult some local Internet phenomena to international stardom as the singer Michel Teló. His song Ai Sexy and I Know, (something like “Oh if I catch you”) has become the song down iTunes in many countries in Europe and Latin America. In addition, the song became one of the most popular YouTube videos of all time worldwide, and has nearly six million fans on Facebook.
“Brazilians have a passion for sharing information, sharing photos,” says Álvaro Paes de Barros, director of content partnerships for YouTube in Latin America. And, as the World Cup and the Olympic Games will be held soon in Brazil, the Brazilian content is spreading even more because “there is much curiosity about Brazil,” he says.
Twitter recently launched operations in São Paulo and is hiring its own sales teams, marketing and business development, according to Shailesh Rao, deputy director of international revenue growth of Twitter. “The market size made it important to have our own presence,” he says. While the company is also growing rapidly in Mexico, Argentina, Colombia and Chile, adds in these countries operates through a local sales representative.
ComScore figures show that 41% of Brazilians spent more time on Twitter in September 2012 than a year earlier. Rao notes that Brazilians like to use social media while watching TV, especially football matches and soap operas.
However, Brazil also has its challenges. The digital advertising market in the country is growing from a small base, and the Brazilian advertising firms spend only 10.6% of their advertising budgets on digital ads, compared to 19.8% worldwide, according to research firm eMarketer .
by Jay Thadeshwar, My Profile