Social Media in Belgium – The Stats You Need To Know (2019 edition)
Social media has seen wide scale adoption from its inception back in the early 00s to 2019. By 2021 it’s projected that 3.2 billion of us will have at least one social media account worldwide and that’s a figure that’s not set to slow down. However, within this figure, each country has its own trends and stats. Moondust is a marketing agency in Belgium working with B2B and B2C brands to provide social media and content marketing. As such, we make it our mission to understand social media in Belgium so we can create actionable marketing that really works for your target audience. In this article, our team has pulled together the stats you need for social media in Belgium and what they mean for businesses and marketers.
An Overview of technology usage in Belgium
More than 50% of Belgians use social media networks at least once a day. Narrowing this down to the 16-24 age bracket, this stat rises to 80 %. This is what emerged from the latest results of the survey on ICT usage organised every year by Belgian statistical officeStatbel. Here are some more stats about technology usage in Belgium:
· 76% of Belgians use online banking and 40 % use online payment systems like PayPal
· 64% prefer information from online newspapers to paper print
· 46% stream music and 48% watch videos
· 60% of Belgians have ordered goods or services online during the last 12 months
· 73% of the resident population have used a smartphone in the past three months
· Smartphone usage is 32% for ages 65-74 and 92% for 16-24 year olds
Now, let’s dig into some social media stats for Belgium and look at the marketing takeaways for each.
#1 Hyper Connected Youth
The under 25s of Belgium could be referred to in marketing terms as hyper connected youth. That’s because 98% of the 16-24 range use the internet regularly with 80% visiting social media on a daily basis. Two thirds of these are using instant messaging to communicate, while 70% stream music and 62% say they learn exclusively from Wikipedia. Using cloud data is normal for them with 53% using online storing spaces compared to 38% of the total Internet users. In social media terms, the number one platform in Belgium is Facebook, followed by Facebook Messenger, Snapchat and Instagram.
This is the point where it’s important to know and understand the target demographic for your product or service. If you’re marketing to 16-24 range, you should:
ü Fully utlilise instant messaging on Facebook – this age range will not want to pick up the phone and call your company.
ü Ensure your website is mobile optimised and fast loading - In the millennial generation and below, impatience is a key characteristic.
ü Aim to optimise your content and rank for Google snippets to ensure you are picked up on search or voice search.
#2 Facebook Users Are Growing Up
It’s a universal truth that there has been a shift in the age demographic of Facebook users, and it make sense. Universally, 25 - 44 years old are staying on Facebook, 31.1 million of them in fact, according to figures provided by Mark Sweney, media business correspondent at the Guardian. Remember, this is the generation who greeted Facebook when it launched back in 2004 so they are sticking with the familiar. However, Gen Z – Gen Alpha, that’s 1995 onwards never had the same relationship with Facebook. And the stats in Belgium echo this sentiment. The lowest usage of Facebook in Belgium is among 13-17-year olds and those aged 65+. Which makes sense. These are age groups that were not using technology when the platform launched. However, look at the numbers for the 25-44 range. 912,000 males aged 25-35 use Facebook in Belgium. There’s another aspect to this issue too. 55-year olds are now the age group most likely to create a new Facebook account. That means the parents and grandparents of the 13-17-year olds are getting social and we know what that means. The kids will go somewhere else.
It’s very important for brands to know their target audience and market to the correct channel. Here are some marketing takeaways from Belgium:
ü If you’re targeting over 25’s in Belgium, then Facebook is still a good channel for you. You should aim to hone your content strategy to appeal to this age range
ü Instagram and Snapchat are preferred options for under 25s so be sure to nail your images and videos if you want to attract this age group
ü Don’t rule out Facebook marketing for the over 60s. As social media networks age so too do their users and the older age group is gaining in savviness.
#3 The Top Apps in Belgium Might Surprise You
In 2017, consumers worldwide downloaded 178.1 billion mobile apps to their connected devices. However, by 2022, this figure is projected to grow to 258.2 billion app downloads. That’s huge. There’s only 7.53 billion people in the world so you can see how many apps we like to have on our phones. This is significant for marketers because it shows a rising trend towards user friendly apps and instant access to information. Millennials and younger now want information at their fingertips and easy apps for banking, dating, social media and lifestyle are considered essential. In Belgium the leading paid iPhone app is Badoo, a popular dating app. This is closely followed by Linkedin, Grindr and Twoo. Whilst Linkedin stands out as being the “professional” app of the four, they do all have something in common. Users in Belgium are predominantly using paid apps to connect with other people. Meanwhile on the organic app side, the app leaders are Facebook, Facebook Messenger, email, Whatsapp, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Skype and dating apps.
Apps are on the rise and therefore if your brand can create a useful and fully functional app for your product then you should.
ü Your brand should be active on Linkedin regardless of the age group you are targeting. With so many Linkedin app downloads in Belgium, this is an active network you should tap into.
ü 44% of users in Belgium have Facebook Messenger installed and use it every day. It’s therefore growing increasingly important for businesses to utilise chatbots to respond promptly to page enquiries.
ü 64% of all smartphone users in Belgium have their email app on their phone. This validates the continued rise in email marketing but be sure your messaging is spot on. App users receive a ton of notifications and will soon block you if you content is not valuable, relevant or interesting.
#4 Video Is On The Rise
38% of social media users in Belgium are sharing pictures, videos and movies on a daily basis. Meanwhile, 41% watch online videos every day and music streaming, downloads and podcasts continue to rise in popularity. And these stats represent a global trend. That’s because video marketing is on the rise and by the end of this year (2019), online content will consist of 80% video marketing. Globally, 95% of consumers retain communicated information through video, while only 10% percent retain information from reading.
Social media stats in Belgium, particularly in reference to video marketing illustrate the need for a more visual and audio marketing approach. In fact, globally, video marketing offers the best return on investment.
Video marketing doesn’t mean that you need a videographer, studio, expensive equipment and a huge budget. Brands have been successful using free tools like Facebook live and in app video editing software.
Consider the target age of your ideal client and then choose the appropriate video platform to reach them. If you do not yet have a YouTube channel then consider creating one to host your podcasts, webinars, company videos and much more.
Remember that today your users have a short attention span. Videos that are 60 seconds and under are most watched however 1-2 minutes is also fine.
85% of Facebook feed videos are played with the sound off! So, take lessons from the pros at Buzzfeed and annotate your social media videos.
#5 Top Social Media Brands in Belgium
We’re having so much fun delving into social media stats from Belgium that we thought we would share some more. Do you know who the top social media brands in Belgium are right now? The answers may surprise you. On YouTube, the top brands based on video views are ENGIE Electrabel, Volkswagen Belgium and Scarlet. Of course, this doesn’t necessarily indicate that users love these brands, but they are the most watched!
Meanwhile on Twitter, the most followed brands in Belgium are as follows:
· STIB-MIVB (@STIBMIVB)
· Telenet (@Telenet)
· De Lijn (@delijn)
· Play Sports (@playsports)
· NMBS (@NMBS)
· Brussels Airlines (@FlyingBrussels)
· Mobile Vikings BE (@mobilevikingsBE)
· Proximus (@proximus)
· Monster Energy BE (@MonsterEnergyBE)
· i.materialise (@imaterialise
Belgium occupies an important position on the economic chessboard. And this is significant when it comes to understanding the stats from the region. Belgium is ranked 12th country in the world for the export of merchandise and it’s a favourite with investors, B2B businesses and international meetings. Let’s look at some takeaways:
We shouldn’t forget the most important elements of social media marketing in Belgium- what language you’re using. Note that @STIBMIVB the top Twitter account is in Dutch not English. While Engie Electrabel on YouTube uses French and English. If you want to play safe you can create playlists for your different languages or offer a caption option.
If you check out the top brands in Belgium and their use of social media, you can see that they are fully utilising trending hashtags, videos and short status updates.
Internet users will follow “serious” brands if they know how to engage properly on social media.