MEC study reveals young Filipinas more active users of social networks, introduces digital capital


PHILIPPINES – A study commissioned by the MEC regional office on the online behavior of Filipino youth has found that females are more active social media users than males. The results were unveiled by GroupM Research Director April Yap at MEC Interaction’s Digital Lives, an MEC Learning session at Fully Booked Bonifacio High Street on July 29.  

The study was conducted through focus groups with 200 respondents aged 17 to 25 from classes ABCD from Metro Manila, all with access to the Internet. Respondents had accounts in most of the social networking sites such as Facebook, Friendster, Multiply, Tumblr, Twitter and MySpace.  

Of the users, girls were notably more engaged. Facebook was found to be the site most actively used, particularly for updates, photos, games and stalking. Yap puts forward the notion of the social networks taking the place of the restroom where girls congregate to bond and gossip. Majority of the respondents who were gamers on Facebook were also found to be female. Popular Facebook games are Pet Society, Friends For Sale, Cafe World and Farmville. Male respondents reported playing Mafia Wars and Texas HoldEm.

A good proportion of the respondents were Facebook fans of entertainment personalities, schools and food brands. However, almost all fans are passive and marketers will find very limited interaction with their young targets there.

Yap introduced "digital capital", virtual reputation that is easily available but less easily transferable as offline social capital. Digital capital is defined as the "conscious building up of an online persona where the currency is the number of friends, number of comments and what one is a fan of, etc."  

In building their digital capital, web users visits a number of specialized sites, as opposed to sites popular with a broad audience. Brands with digital strategies should note that engagement is not always about hits and what is perceived as cool is not always about clicks.

The session also featured Bianca Grey of Yahoo! Philippines, who discussed the Yahoo-Nielsen Net Index and Ben Poole, head of MEC Interaction Asia-Pacific, who outlined approaches to digital and shifting ways of thinking about content, planning and integration in this connected age.



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