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Universal McCann's "Power to the People" (WAVE) Reports Study Global Impacts of Social Media


Universal McCann’s WAVE research into the phenomenal growth of social media is the most robust data set in the world. Affectionately called “Power to the People,” this annual social media tracker has mapped key changes in consumer uptake and usage of social media platforms for the past four years.

Power to the People provides in-depth understanding into the dramatic changes driven by the uptake of social media, including:

* How consumers use social media and what motivates them to use it
* How social media influences consumers’ purchase decisions
* How social media allows consumers to influence the purchase decisions of people they don’t know
* Which brands are using social media most effectively
* What should be done to maximise the effectiveness of brand communication in these spaces


The latest iteration—WAVE 4—tracked  23,200 active Internet users in 38 countries during Spring 2009, providing an exhaustive study and a wide range of insight. The report is stuffed full of global statistics, with individual country focuses on the USA, UK, Germany, Korea, Brazil, India and China.

The data in Wave 4 juxtaposed with the relatively low ad spend in social media shows that consumers are out in front of marketers. The opportunity for success in the relatively uncluttered landscape will never be higher.

Key statistics include:

  • The total estimated global active internet audience is now 625m
  • Mobile internet usage has now reached nearly a fifth of all active internet users. Seventeen percent now access internet on the move as well as at home, work or college
  • Widgets continue to thrive with 34% of social network users installing them for their own use and 24% installing them to impress visitors to their profile page


The research covers input from 17,000 internet users across 29 countries and was undertaken to understand the rise in consumer generated content and how people are using social media, and was completed in March 2008.

It is certainly the most extensive global report I have seen on the subject of social media adoption.

Key notes from the Power To The People – Wave 3 report include the following statistics:

  • 83% of people are watching online video, an increase from 62% at the time of the last study in June 2007
  • 78% of people are reading blogs, an increase from 66% in the previous study
  • 57% of internet users are members of social networks
  • RSS consumption has increased to 39% from 15%
  • 48% of the people surveyed listen to podcasts.


The second wave of the ongoing report of “Power to the People”, surveys almost 9500 regular Internet users in 21 markets worldwide, and was conducted in May 2007. The study measures consumer usage, attitudes and interest in adopting the possibilities of the changing and socially orientated Internet.

Key findings:

  • Blogging grows to 170m creators worldwide thanks to rapidly expanding Internet universes in the emerging Internet markets
  • 21% have uploaded a video clip online
  • 46% of all blog readers have started their own blog
  • 41% upload and shared photos online
  • Watching video clips online has doubled in 9 months; 31% to 62% penetration. Estimated global universe of 330m
  • Estimated 340m blog readers worldwide. The largest audience in the world is the USA where 64m read blogs
  • Social Networking is used by an estimated 194m 16–54’s worldwide


The first wave of the ongoing report of “Power to the People”, surveys almost 7500 regular Internet users in 15 markets worldwide, and was conducted in May 2006.

>> If you find this presentation somewhere online, please let me know. I’ve been having difficulty finding it! Thanks.

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