Why South Korea Moves Faster And YouTube Isn’t Everything: Surprising Findings From Unruly’s Latest White Paper

The social web connects disparate people through globalised content sharing, but the world still isn’t as small as we might think it is. What turns one social video into a viral phenomenon in Brazil, while it barely leaves a mark in the UK? Why do certain emotional triggers work gangbusters in some countries but leave others nonplussed?

Our latest report delves deep into these questions, tracing out the invisible borders of the social web. The Geography of Sharing, produced from data provided by Unruly ShareRank, Unruly Analytics, Unruly Activate and the Unruly Viral Video Chart, reveals vital differences between the world’s social media landscapes, and how brands can understand their target markets even better.

More importantly, the report also underlines the characteristics that unite nations across the world, and how the most globally successful social campaigns are tapping into that commonality. With that in mind, here are just a few of the things we’ve learned on our travels.

1. ‘Super Sharers’ Are The New Super Heroes

Unruly’s report identifies that 17.9% of internet users share videos more than once a week. Incredibly, these users account for 82.4% of all video shares online, introducing a new breed of masked hero: the ‘super sharer’. Like social connectors in Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, super sharers “link us up with the world”, and thus brands should be focusing on these influencers to maximise sharing.

2. 24 Hours In Korea

South Koreans are far by the world’s fastest sharers, with 20% of total shares registered within 24 hours of release. Compare this to Norway, where a whopping 57% of shares are accrued between days 1 and 3, and you can see quite how seriously South Korea takes social sharing. On top of this, South Korea is also more likely to click, replay or share an ad than any territory worldwide.

3. There’s More To Life Than YouTube

Like the content of social videos themselves, the sharing ecosystem is unsurprisingly diverse. While the majority of worldwide shares take place on Facebook (59.4%), this varies wildly between countries. While the United States are notably Zuckerberg-happy, Facebook accounting for 61.2% of shares, Sweden’s sharing landscape has more equitable shares between competitors like Tumblr, Google+ and StumbleUpon.

Most fascinating of all, the report reveals that three-quarters of video views take place outside of YouTube, meaning brands should activate the Open Web to reach the largest audience possible.

4. Happiness Is A Global Trigger

Cultural difference obviously plays a central role in content’s varying success between countries. Motivation for sharing is divisive; for example, Unruly finds that Germans tend to share videos as a way of starting conversation, whereas Americans use it as a tool for sharing passions. Obviously, humour and hilarity is a no-go area when it comes to international sharing, as it’s rare that the same sense of humour will cross borders.

However, ‘The Geography of Sharing’ does reveal one common factor for internationally-successful videos: happiness. While it’s not surprising that joy might be a universal language, brands which tried to produce feelings of warmth have tended to do well on the global stage. So at the next Olympic Games or World Cup, be on the lookout for ads that are as jubilant as Pharrell on Free Hat Day.

To read more about Unruly’s findings, download the full report here.