Brazil Social Media

According to the comScore report ‘2012 Brazil Digital Future in Focus’, Brazil is the seventh largest Internet market with a user base of over 46 million people aged 15 and over in 2011 (a figure up 16 per cent from 2010). The Brazilian government has spearheaded rapid development in internet connectivity, resulting in broadband adoption going from virtually nothing to connecting 88 per cent of the population in the last five 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.

53 per cent of Brazilian consumers have accessed the internet at least once in their lives. Ten to 24 year olds are most likely to have ever used the internet; eMarketer found that 69 per cent of the consumers it surveyed had used social networking sites. 48 per cent of Brazilian consumers are expected to access the internet at least once a month by 2016 (that’s around 103 million users). By December 2011, Brazil had about 78.5 million internet users. It’s predicted that 80 per cent of Brazilian homes will have internet access by 2014.

comScore’s ‘It’s a Social World’ paper, released in December 2011, reports that 97 per cent of Brazil’s internet population currently uses social media.

  • Orkut, once the most dominant social network in Brazil, has been overtaken by Facebook
  • Brazil is the second largest user of Facebook in the world
  • Brazil has the third highest number of Google+ users worldwide
  • Blogging is very popular, with a 96% reach. Tumblr is the preferred platform.
  • Over 33 million people use Twitter, making Brazil the second highest
  • The social gaming market is predicted to be worth $238 million by 2014
  • YouTube reaches 79% of Brazil’s internet users

Until very recently, 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.

Just over a year ago, Forbes reported that 90 per cent of Orkut’s page views came from Brazil, with comScore reporting that an average of 31.2 million visitors logged in from Brazil in 2010.What’s more, Orkut is still growing – very slightly (it had 5 per cent more visitors in 2011, from 2010).

However, with the increasing adoption of Facebook in Brazil, some have been complaining about Orkut’s functionality. Specifically the limit on friend numbers, photo sharing issues and problems with discussing topics. Although Facebook officially overtook Orkut as the most popular social network in Brazil as of December 2011, Orkut remains incredibly popular in the country, prompting Hootsuite to integrate with the network in April 2012.

“Facebook had a banner year in Brazil in 2011, with over 51 million users making it second only to the US in terms of users”

Until recently, logging on to Facebook from Brazil was so rare that in 2009 user numbers couldn’t even be measured. But 2011 has been a banner year for Facebook in Brazil – it had a 192 per cent increase in unique visitors between December 2010 and 2011, making Brazil the second largest user of Facebook at 51,174,300 users. (USA is in first place with 155,7070,160 users, and India in third with 49,807,020.)

Time spent on Facebook also increased from an average of 37 minutes at the end of 2010 to 4.8 hours in December 2011, making Facebook the most engaging social network in Brazil. Facebook users are mainly concentrated in two of the major cities, with over 34 per cent from São Paulo and over 12 per cent from Rio de Janeiro. The majority of users are between the ages of 15 and 24.

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. (Another factor worth mentioning is the ability to see certain Facebook pages without having to first create an account. Orkut forces people to sign up before they can see it in action, Facebook lets surfers have a sneak peek first.)

Despite Facebook’s astronomic assentation to the top of the social media chain in Brazil, comScore report that 87 per cent of social media users are keeping their Orkut profiles, as well as their new Facebook ones. (How long they will do this however, is another matter.)

Google may continue pushing Orkut in Brazil, but Google+ is also 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 – although at just over 5 per cent, it’s still some way behind the USA which makes up almost 31.5 per cent of Google+ users. Datadial estimates that nearly 70 per cent of Brazil’s Google+ users are those in the 18 to 24 age range.

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 per cent in the year after launching in Brazil’s native language.

“When American singer/songwriter Nicki Minaj tweeted about a future trip to Brazil @visitbrazil told her not to bother”

Blogging is a very popular medium in Brazil, reaching an 80 million strong audience in Q1 2012. In fact, Brazil has the world’s largest blogging audience, according to comScore, with a 96 per cent reach amongst Brazilian internet users. Tumblr is currently very popular: user numbers increased by 206 per cent between December 2010 and 2011, and quantcast lists Brazil as the second most represented country on Tumblr, with 10,763,475 unique users. Tumblr recently launched localized options for Brazil with meet-up events in Curitiba, Rio de Janeiro, and São Paulo.

Twitter has around 33.3 million users in Brazil, which is the country with the second highest user numbers worldwide (behind the USA and ahead of Japan in third place and the UK in forth). There are still, however, more messages per account in Japan than Brazil. Again, Twitter is still growing, and increased user numbers by 40 per cent between December 2010 and 2011.

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; a law student was jailed for 17 months after tweeting that everyone in the North of the country (a mainly poor area) should be killed for voting for the current President; and when American singer/songwriter Nicki Minaj tweeted about a future trip to Brazil, the tourism account @visitbrasil told her not to bother.

Social gaming

Social gaming is very popular in Brazil, with the market predicted to be worth $238 million by 2014, with a user base of 52.3 million people. Crucially, 95 per cent of Brazilians only play these games in Portuguese, something that foreign developers should note before designing an Orkut game without localization. Social games have been harder to monetize in Brazil as a result of comparatively limited credit card use, but Brazilian gaming developers are starting to use micro-payments, provided by companies like Tutudo, to break this barrier.

Mentez is one of the largest social gaming companies in Latin America. As of February 2012 it published four out of the top five popular games on Orkut Brazil. Its total user base spans around 22 million active users per week.

Another social gaming company, Vostu,has around 3.5 million monthly active users, gaining 338 per cent more visitors between December 2010 and 2011. Its long running legal battle with gaming giant Zynga has put a dent in the company’s profits, but it’s still growing despite the challenge. CEO Daniel Kafie has predicted that the worldwide social gaming advertising market will reach $1.6 billion USD by the end of 2012.

“The social gaming market in Brazil is predicted to be worth $238 million by 2014, with over 52 million users”

Video Sites

In December 2011 comScore reported that Brazilians viewed in excess of 4.7 billion videos online, which was an increase of 74 per cent on the previous year. YouTube is the most popular video site, and Brazil is currently is sixth largest market. It reaches 79 per cent of the countries internet users.


  • Brazilian internet users are highly social and brands need to catch-up
  • Ecommerce sales from Brazil are expected to reach $26.9 billion USD by 2015
  • Brazilian brand Claro partnered with footballer Ronaldo to gain more Twitter followers
  • The most popular Twitter, Facebook and YouTube pages belong to personalities, Brazilian brands are also popular

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. T-Index predicts that Brazil will have the fourth largest online market share by 2015 (behind China, USA and Japan, and just ahead of Germany).

To date, Brazilian brands have been slow to use social media. Responses to a 2011 survey by Orbium revealed that 42 per cent of respondents had never invested in a social media campaign, although they were interested in doing so in the future. 10 per cent said that they didn’t have any interest in running social media campaigns. A study by Forbes and Weber Shandwick revealed that 41 per cent of Brazilian executives thought that the risks of social media outweighed the benefits.

“T-Index predicts that Brazil will have the fourth largest online market share by 2015 (behind China, USA and Japan, and just ahead of Germany)”

Brazilian consumers are ahead of brands when it comes to social media use. A 2011 study by Oh! Panel reported that over 61 per cent of Brazilians search for product information on social media channels before making a purchase. 81 per cent use social media to look for new products, and more than 75 per cent search for discounts.

eMarketer has predicted that more than half of business to consumer ecommerce sales in Latin America during 2013 will be from Brazil. By 2015 ecommerce sales from Brazil are expected to reach $26.9 billion USD. Some Brazilian brands and personalities are already using social media to connect with consumers and fans. In some cases international brands are leading the way. It may be that reluctant Brazilian brands will wait to see what results the pioneers have before taking the risk themselves.

In June 2012 Socialbakers found that of the ten fastest growing Facebook brand pages, five were from Brazil. Of course, Facebook engagement is much more than simply getting someone to ‘Like’ a brand page – after all, they may never return to the page or engage with the brand. At the moment, Brazil’s question response rate is a low 22 per cent, so just over one in five fans reply to brand questions. This suggests that while people are currently prepared to ‘Like’ a page, they aren’t being encouraged to engage with the brand once there.

The most popular Facebook pages in Brazil belong to celebrities rather than brands. Brazilian footballer Ricardo Kakà owns the most popular page by far with 17,521,444 fans. He’s followed by Brazilian lyricist and novelist Paulo Coelho (8,851,047) and Brazilian TV presenter Luciano Huck (7,016,401).

The brand page with the largest fan base is Brazilian soft drink brand Guaraná Antarctica with 6,485,146 fans. Followed by Skol, the most popular beer brand in Brazil (5,835,549 fans) and cosmetics brand L’Oréal Paris Brasil (4,114,791 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.

“Every time someone ‘Liked’ the brand’s Facebook page another balloon would be blown up and added to the office”

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 .

Radio station 102.1 Mix FM’s World AIDS Day awareness campaign took a different approach. The station posted two videos to Facebook: a sexy video of a man, and a steamy video of a woman. Once a Facebook user viewed this video clip, it posted itself to the viewer’s Facebook Wall. Thus the ‘virus’ spread to over 1 million Facebook accounts and achieved 6,000 views. Facebook ended up having to block the video by the day’s end.

The most followed Twitter accounts in Brazil are those of celebrities. Brazilian footballer @KAKA dominates Twitter as well as Facebook with 11,826,554 followers (as of 18/07/12). He also became the most popular athlete on Twitter in April 2012. Brazilian Axé and MPB singer and songwriter @ivetesangalohas 6,711,202 followers, and fellow Axé singer @ClaudiaLeitte has 5,611,139. (Axé music is a fusion of Afro-Caribbean and Afro-Brazilian music genera’s, while MBP is Brazilian pop music which is often associated with carnival.)

The most followed brands tend to have far fewer followers, 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. At one point the account was gaining 5,000 followers an hour. Brazilian airline @TAMAirlines is the second most popular brand on Twitter, but far behind Claro with almost 360,000 followers (and quite a bit of direct engagement with them). TV and Telecoms provider @Vivoemrede has just over 335,000 followers on Twitter. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the top brands are from industries that need to focus on continuous customer service.

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 hyped Brazil vs. Argentina football match, which generated 455,000 tweets.

“Like other platforms, the most popular channels on YouTube are not those of brands, but those of individual people”

YouTube is another highly popular platform in Brazil, and like other platforms, the most popular channels are not those of brands, but people. The most popular channel is that of Joe Penna, a Brazilian guitarist known on YouTube as MysteryGuitarMan. The channel has over 2 million subscribers and the 188 videos have had over 370 million views. Brazilian improvisational theatre show, Improvável is next with over 450,000 subscribers and almost 280 million video views on its 232 videos. Followed by the channel of outspoken Brazilian vlogger Felipe Neto, who has over 960,000 subscribers and in excess of 130 million video views on his 40 videos.

The most popular Brazilian brand on YouTube is Banco Itaú, a Brazilian bank which has over 51 million video views. The most popular videos tend to feature babies, children and families. (In fact, the most popular one on the channel is a dubbed version of the American father ripping up a job rejection letter and his baby having fits of giggles.) Nike Brazil (Nike Futebol) is the second most popular with over 44.5 million video views of football related content. Finally there’s Sony Music Brazil, which has over 29 million video views.

The viral video hit of 2011 was a campaign by Nissan 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.


  • Brazil’s official language is Portuguese and is spoken by 200 million people worldwide
  • Brazil is very religious and has a strong Roman Catholic community
  • Family and friends are central to Brazilian culture
  • The nation has a class system, but aggressive internet roll-out policies have resulted in the lower classes gaining internet access
  • Two of the largest cultural influences are the Carnival and the countries passion for football

The official language of Brazil is Portuguese, which is spoken by approximately 200 million people worldwide, and is still the most popular language in the Southern Hemisphere. Twelve per cent 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.

“Portuguese is the most spoken language in the Southern Hemisphere”

Brazil is a largely religious nation, with a strong Roman Catholic community. Social networks such as Orkut have been used to create and re-enforce religious networks online and in the community. It’s a very racially and culturally diverse nation, which is evident in music, cinema and literature.

Family, and social connections outside the family, are central to Brazilian culture. Both immediate and extended family have always been seen as a way to protect its members in society, but friends are also important. In the business world, nepotism is expected, as family and friends should look out for each other. The influence of friends and family should not be underestimated. In its study, Oh! Panel found that 79 per cent 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 class system. There’s a large wage gap between the classes, and women, who comprise 40 per cent of the workforce, are mainly in 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.

“The influence of friends and family should not be underestimated”

Two of the largest influences on Brazilian culture are Carnival and the nation’s passion for football (as is evident from the massive follower numbers on social channels). The Carnival is becoming more social. In 2012 the Carnival partnered with YouTube and Google+ to broadcast the events worldwide. Brazil will be the host for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games, and the tourism board is already launching digital campaigns to attract visitors and promote the events.

It’s clear that the Brazilian government want the nation’s digital economy to grow. Even the President used a social media campaign to win voters over during the 2010 election, but international brands that want to engage Brazilians over social media need to embrace the country’s culture and language if they want to do business.

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