As of 2017, Brazil is the fourth largest internet market with a user base of 139,111,185, placing penetration around 66 %. Despite the fact that the country has the fourth largest number of internet users in the world, it is ranked 64th in internet penetration for countries in the world. However, the percentage of internet users in Brazil is up 5.1 % since 2015. The country is preceded in user base size by China, India, and the United States.
The Brazilian government has spearheaded rapid development in internet connectivity, resulting in broadband adoption starting from virtually nothing and nearly tripling in the last ten years. It has also concentrated on providing computers to poorer areas of the country in an attempt to bridge the technology gap between rich and poor.
In recent years, major developments have been made in the reach of submarine cables. For example, the South Atlantic Cable Service has increased bandwidth and decreased broadband prices in Angola and Brazil, making broadband more accessible and affordable for more people.
According to a report by We Are Social, as of 2017 122 million people in Brazil are active on social media, which accounts for 87.7 % of all internet users in the country. This number is up 18 % since January of 2016, so it is clear that social media is a rapidly-growing sector in Brazil.
- Orkut, once the most dominant social network in Brazil, has been overtaken by Facebook
- Brazil has the third largest Facebook user base in the world, after India and the US
- Brazil has the third highest number of Google+ users worldwide
- Almost 18 million people use Twitter, making Brazil the sixth highest user base for Twitter
- Brazilians spent an average of 3 hours 43 minutes on social media daily in 2017
Until around 2009, the dominant social network in Brazil was Google’s Orkut. It may have failed to catch on in other markets, but its popularity exploded in Brazil when Google translated its social network into Portuguese in 2005.
However, with the increasing adoption of Facebook in Brazil, Orkut has found itself sidelined, as many Brazilian users became frustrated with the limit on friend numbers and issues with photo sharing that plagued Orkut. Facebook officially overtook Orkut as the most popular social network in Brazil in December 2011. In 2014, Orkut was officially shut down by Google.
Facebook experienced a boom much later than some of the other countries with the largest user bases. In fact, ten years ago, logging onto Facebook from Brazil was so rare that until 2009 user numbers couldn’t even be measured.
In 2011, Facebook in Brazil had a 192 % increase in unique visitors between December 2010 and 2011. Currently, Brazil has the third largest number of Facebook users. As of June of 2017, there were around 139 million active accounts. Facebook users are mainly concentrated in two of the major cities, with over 34 % from São Paulo and over 12 % from Rio de Janeiro. The majority of users are between the ages of 15 and 24.
According to Socialbakers, the most popular Facebook pages in Brazil are: Brazilian footballer Neymar Jr (60,835,598 fans), Brazilian music company Cifras (40,292,508 fans), and former Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho Gaúcho (34,894,902 fans).
As a nation, Brazil’s economic power is growing, giving Brazilians more disposable income and extra leisure time to spend it – as with other slower take-up regions such as Japan, some say that the release of the film The Social Network helped boost Facebook’s popularity.
Google+ has been gaining users in the country. Google hosted Brazil’s first official Hangout in November 2011, and since then Brazil has become the nation with the third highest number of Google+ users. Datadial estimates that nearly 70 % of Brazil’s Google+ users are those in the 18 to 24 age range. Brazil’s Google+ user base also follows the international trend of being majority-male.
Twitter has around 18 million users in Brazil, which is the country with the sixth highest user base worldwide (behind the USA, India, Indonesia, Japan, and China).
Twitter is widely used by journalists to distribute news, and its popularity has been cited as a major factor in the rise of hacktivism in Brazil. There have also been various Twitter scandals: the Brazilian government sued Twitter for hosting accounts that warned of speed camera traps. In another instance, a law student was jailed for 17 months after tweeting that everyone in the north of the country (a primarily poor area) should be killed for voting for the current President.
The most followed Twitter accounts in Brazil as of November 2017 according to Socialbakers are: Brazilian footballer, @neymarjr (35,027,856 followers); Brazilian footballer, @KAKA (28,860,494 followers); and former Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho Gaúcho, @10Ronaldinho (16,436,655 followers).
The most popular YouTube channels as of November 2017 are: toy review channel FunToys Collector Disney Toys Review (13,447,700,300 total video views and 9,593,728 subscribers), Brazilian music video producer KondZilla (10,763,812,261 total video views and 21,482,652 subscribers), and Brazilian children’s music project Galinha Pintadinha (6,813,756,357 total video views and 8,577,820 subscribers).
Business networking site LinkedIn launched its Portuguese site in 2010, and opened its São Paulo office in late 2011, by which time it had around 6 million users in Brazil. Membership grew 91.6 % in the year after launching in Brazil’s native language.
Blogging is a very popular medium in Brazil, and had the second largest readership in the world in 2014. In fact, blogs reach 77.3 % of the online population in the country, or about 108 million people. Tumblr is currently quite popular: it reaches 17 % of the population in 2017, accounting for over 35 million people. Tumblr launched localised options for Brazil in 2012 with meet-up events in Curitiba, Rio de Janeiro, and São Paulo.
- Brazilian internet users are highly social, but brands do not often take advantage of this
- Ecommerce sales from Brazil are expected to reach 31.7 million USD by 2022
- Brazilian brand Claro partnered with footballer Ronaldo to gain more Twitter followers
- The most popular Twitter, Facebook and YouTube pages belong to personalities
According to Marketing Week, the average Brazilian has around 231 friends across various social networks, and judging by figures released by T-Index, their networks are likely to grow.
To date, Brazilian brands have been slow to use social media. Responses to a 2011 survey by Orbium revealed that 42 % of respondents had never invested in a social media campaign, although they were interested in doing so in the future. 10 % said that they didn’t have any interest in running social media campaigns. A study by Forbes and Weber Shandwick revealed that 41 % of Brazilian executives thought that the risks of social media outweighed the benefits.
Brazilian consumers are ahead of brands when it comes to social media use. A 2011 study by Oh! Panel reported that over 61 % of Brazilians search for product information on social media channels before making a purchase. 81 % use social media to look for new products, and more than 75 % search for discounts.
According to Socialbakers, the most popular branded pages in November of 2017 on Facebook are: the localised version of the American soft-drink and food company Coca-Cola (18,225,233 fans); Brazilian soft-drink company Guaraná Antarctica (16,038,642 fans); and Brazilian cosmetics company O Boticário (13,021,753 fans).
Examples of brands using Facebook to engage and attract fans include Heineken Brazil which started a campaign in January 2012 called ‘1 Like 1 Balao’ (1 Like, 1 Balloon). Every time someone ‘Liked’ the brands Facebook page another balloon would be blown up and added to the office. Videos were made showing the state of the office as the campaign progressed. It only took a day for the brand to get thousands of new followers.
A safe sex Facebook advertising campaign for Preservativos Prudence performed so well that the advertising company moved spend over from banner to Facebook ads as a result. The campaign, aimed at men aged 18 to 25, attracted over 30,000 ‘Likes’ and encouraged people to go to the brand’s website where they could purchase products or find out more information.
The most popular branded accounts on Twitter as of November 2017 are: telecommunications operator @ClaroBrasil (5,919,699 followers); localised page of American entertainment company @NetflixBrasil (2,935,999 followers); and airline ticketing company Melhores Destinos @passagensaereas (1,793,171 followers).
The most followed brands tend to have far fewer followers than the most followed public figures, unless they come up with a brilliant way to tap into Brazil’s heart. Brazilian telecoms brand Claro achieved this by partnering with popular footballer Ronaldo on Twitter. The account @ClaroRonaldo has almost 3.5 million followers. The brand decided to do this when its rival brand got selected to be a World Cup Sponsor and they did not.
Successful campaigns tend to weave in major cultural events. Volkswagen promoted its sponsorship of the Planeta Terra Festival by launching an interactive treasure hunt for tickets using Google Maps and the hashtag #foxatplanetaterra, which started trending after two hours. Sports drink brand Powerade created a visual feed of tweets around a much anticipated Brazil vs. Argentina football match, which generated 455,000 tweets.
The most popular Brazilian brand on YouTube is MundoBitaVEVO, the music channel of Brazilian children’s musical artist Mundo Bita with 734,549,252 total video views and 479,285 subscribers. The second most popular channel is Brazilian bank Itaú (412,473,453 total video views and 343,438 subscribers), followed by the localised version of Mexican telecommunications company, Claro Brasil (356,940,276 total video views and 374,661 subscribers).
In 2011, Nissan created a viral campaign called Pôneis Malditos which featured a man having a mechanical problem with his truck, opening the bonnet to check what was wrong and finding a lot of animated ponies. Nissan Brazil’s marketing director attributes a spike in sales and double in registrations to these YouTube ads.
Language and Culture
- Brazil’s official language is Portuguese, which is spoken by 260 million people worldwide
- Brazil is very religious and has strong Roman Catholic and Evangelical Protestant communities
- Family and friends are central to Brazilian culture
- The nation has a class system, but aggressive internet roll-out policies as well as infrastructure improvements during the 2016 Summer Olympics and the 2014 FIFA World Cup have resulted in the lower classes gaining internet access
- Two of the largest cultural influences are the Carnival and the country’s passion for football
The official language of Brazil is Portuguese, which is spoken by approximately 260 million people worldwide, and is still the most popular language in the Southern Hemisphere. Twelve % of all Tweets are in Portuguese, making it the third most used language on Twitter (behind English and Japanese). Brazilian’s are incredibly social, which has translated easily onto social networking platforms.
Brazil is a largely religious nation, with a strong Roman Catholic community. Social networks such as Facebook have been used to create and reinforce religious networks online and in the community. It’s a very racially and culturally diverse nation, comprising of 47.7% white, 43.1% mixed white and black, 7.6% black, 1.1% Asian, and 0.4% indigenous, according to the 2010 census.
Family as well as social connections outside the family are central to Brazilian culture. Both immediate and extended family are expected to protect its members in society. Friendships are also important, and in the business world, nepotism is expected, as it is assumed that family and friends will look out for each other. The influence of friends and family in Brazilian should not be underestimated. In a study, Oh! Panel found that 79 % of Brazilians said that they have more confidence over product posts made on social networks by friends and family than they did in similar posts from an expert on the product.
Brazil has a strong social hierarchy. Wages are highly stratified between the different socioeconomic classes, and women, who comprise 40 % of the workforce, mainly work lower-paid jobs. The government’s policies on rolling out broadband and computers to as much of the country as possible has resulted in the internet audience in Brazil growing beyond the middle classes and expanding down the economic scale. Evidence of the impact of this can be seen on social media. For example, YouTube is being used by children in poor parts of Rio de Janeiro to share videos of street dance battles. Known as Small Step Battle, the movement has been credited for making children healthier and keeping them out of trouble.
Two of the largest influences on Brazilian culture are Carnival and the nation’s passion for football. Carnival of Brazil is an annual festival celebrated in the few days before Ash Wednesday, a day marking the beginning of Lent which is celebrated by Catholics and some Protestants and is characterized by fasting and prayer. The festival, celebrated across the country, has made use of social media in an increasing rate. In the last several years, the Carnival has partnered with YouTube to broadcast the events worldwide.
Brazil was the host for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games, and during these few years, there was a huge amount of investment in internet and communications technology infrastructure in the country. It’s evident that the Brazilian government want the nation’s digital economy to grow, and the efforts have clearly been working.