Belgium’s Facebook portrait

June 15, 2012


Belgium cloud



Surprise this morning. Browsing my newsfeeds I came across the following two items.


First, a newsletter item about the reach of social media among Belgian companies, provided by Digimedia.


About 97% of Belgian companies are not active on social networks, while those who are active there only boast an average of 250 fans on their FB page. This shows in an analysis of a database of 400,000 Belgian corporate sites carried out by Email-Brokers, who are active in interactive marketing and email marketing.

In contrast, the Marketing Charts newletter announces this (I strongly recommend subscribing to this one too!):


Almost 3 in 10 marketers say they have shifted at least half of their marketing spending from traditional to digital advertising over the past 3 years, according to June 2012 survey results from RSW/US. (…) As a result of this shift in spending, 44% of marketers report that they are now spending at least half of their budgets on social and digital media. This represents a 42% increase from 31% spending that amount on digital and social media in 2009. This year, just 5% remain digital and social holdouts, allocating none of their marketing budgets to these channels.

In response, agencies report dramatically heightened activities in these spaces. 52% say that at least half of the work they perform for their clients is in social and digital media, an almost 80% increase from 29% in 2009.

See where my surprise comes from? Yes, I know, it is always risky, if not irrelevant, to campare data coming from different studies with different methodologies with different backgrounds. I know that, so I am not inviting you to do that. (Still, the difference is too striking to pass unnoticed) Instead, you may want to get a better idea of the reach of social media in Belgium today, spring 2012.

I am suggesting a series of data I mainly gleaned from Inside Digital Media, published by Digimedia , in their May 2012 issue. 


On the users’ side:

  • 41% of the Belgian population is present on Facebook, i.e. 4.64 million people
  • Men are women are evenly represented
  • This puts Belgium in 12th position with a penetration rate of 45%, i.e. two thirds of internet users, even with the Netherlands who have a bigger population
  • 66% of Belgian facebookers consult the site at least once a day (VS 60% worldwide) – on a weekly basis this reaches 85% <by the way, I want to add that FB data are based on real use in the last month, while Twitter data are based on total subscribers)
  • 50% of Belgians user Facebook on their mobile phone, i.e. a over 2M users
  • 13%  use FB mobile only
  • Among Belgian FB users, 8% use it in English



On the corporate side:

  • 34% of companies claim that social media are a useful tool to acquire and engage customers (VS 43 % worldwide) <disclaimer: my own research for this post shows that these figures were published by Regus in June 2011>
  • Few advertisers integrate social media advertising in their yearly mediaplan
  • Among companies that advertise on social Media, budgets are limited
  • The budget to develop your presence on Facebook starts at 5,000€, while most actors spend between 10,000 and 400,000 euros, or even 500,000, with a threshold around 100,000 for your presence to be meaningful
  • Data from real cases from the social media agency Social Lab: FB updates are read by 15,000 people daily, generating 35,000 actions monthly (clicks, likes, comments)
  • Developing a Facebook app (Flash or HTML5) means a budget starting at 1,000€, while a mobile app will start at 5,000 to 10,000€
  • The number of FB pages created either by organisations/companies themselves or by their engaged audience lies at 13,500 and is on the increase.
  • The biggest pages are : 
    1. Walibi Belgium (218,700 fans)
    2. M&M’s Fans Belgium (211,400)
    3. Twix Belgium (173,000)
    4. Jupiler (161,500)
    5. Quick Belgium (118,212)

In terms of engagement score, the leaders are

    1. Mobile Vikings (13.1 engagement score)
    2. Lotto (10.4), Albert Heijn België (9.7)
    3. ING Belgium (7.8)
    4. Nokia (6.6)

For the record, Walibi is number 1 in terms of fan numbers but scores only 0,1 in terms of engagement, which puts it in the 90th position – Mobile Vikings boasts 22,260 fans, which puts it on position 61 (worldwide only 4% of FB pages count over 10,000 fans)

Besides, Belgium seems to count 80,000 active Twitterers (vs. 140M worldwide – for a total Twitter population of around 500M (see my remark above).

Now, I suppose you want to get updated data, right? How do you keep pace with the very rapid evolution of data? I can only recommend a must-use resource that will enable you to get constantly updated information: Page Karma. Page Karma presents itself like this:






Page Karma is conceived and developed by marketers for marketers. Deeply rooted in the day-to-day practice of leading brands’ page management. It’s geek power applied to a marketer’s vision. To get more than just facts: insights. Page Karma tracks every post published by all monitored pages and analyses, in real time, how the engagement is built. Every comment or ‘like’ is tracked. All results and analyses are presented in a dashboard. For your own brand page, or any other one. All pages are ‘tagged’ to provide rankings and comparisons far more relevant than the Facebook categories. Brands can create their own ‘baskets’ of pages to compare their efforts to their peers in other countries, real competitors or to other pages targeting the same audience.


Graphics produced using Tagxedo.

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