Youth Marketing 101: How do social media trends differ around the world?

If you want your brand to reach a global youth audience, it’s important to understand how people use social media in different territories. There can be vast differences between the behaviour of users depending on local trends and cultural norms, and some countries even have their own social platforms which can have a huge impact on raising brand awareness.

Here’s what you need to know about social media marketing in some of the biggest markets outside of the English-speaking world.


China is the territory which requires the most unique social media strategy, because many international social networks are blocked, including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp. Although some users get around the ban using VPN technology, this isn’t a significant enough number to make these platforms a valuable part of a Chinese digital marketing campaign. Instead, it’s more worthwhile to focus on Chinese-native social platforms, such as WeChat, Weibo, QQ and QZone.


Japan is another country where focusing on local social networks is the key to success. Messaging is more popular than apps that encourage broadcasting updates. The biggest Japanese messaging app is Line, which is used by over 77% of smartphone users. The most popular international social platforms are YouTube (54.5%) and Facebook (36.7%), while Instagram is quickly growing in popularity. The Japanese are known for their love of fashion, design and everything cute, so visual content must be stylish and creative to impress this audience.


Only 35% of Indians use the internet, but in a country of 1,319 million that’s still a significant population - in fact, they have the second largest number of internet users in the world. Facebook is huge in India, with over 94% of people owning an account, according to We Are Social. There are far more male users than female (76% to 24%) and almost half are within the 18-24 age range. The most popular messaging service is WhatsApp, while Indian app Hike also has a strong user base, with over 100 million registered users.


The country with the most internet users in South America is Brazil, with around 2/3 of the population using the internet. Government initiatives have driven broadband adoption, including giving poorer communities internet access. Orkut was the most popular social platform until it was overtaken by Facebook in 2011 - now Brazil has the third largest number of Facebook users in the world. 90% of 15 to 32-year-olds in Brazil use social media, and the most popular platforms after Facebook are YouTube, Google+ and Twitter.

Cross-channel marketing is a smart strategy for targeting Millennials and Gen Z, because these audiences consume a huge amount of media from a variety of different sources. Here is our guide to the most important advertising channels to consider if you want to reach young people.

Find out more about growing your global youth audience at YMS19 LDN this April.