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The Engaging, the Fast and the Bulky – how do Europeans interact with brands on Facebook?

Written by: Thomas Praus June 6, 2013  

As a network of European social media agencies we often sit and compare cultural differences in between our countries. Are there any significant differences in how Dutch, Spaniards or Brits interact online? Do they have different approaches to interact with brands? We asked our friends from Socialbakers for some numbers to find out explicitly. We wanted to know the average amount of liked Facebook fanpages, the average engagement rate and the post- and question response time in the different European countries. The results were quite interesting, most surprising was that we actually could see a significant diversity within Europe. Here, we’ll explore the results concerning average like numbers and average engagement rates. In the next post, we’ll take a look at the average response time comparing different European countries.

Results of the study: Differences in average likes and engagement between Europeans

Keeping an eye on the most important indicator of fanpage success, the engagement rate in the countries was the first thing we checked. Top engaging on Facebook are our camping-loving friends from the Netherlands. With a percentage of over 0,7%, their engagement rate on fanpages is nearly the double of the German result. Another interesting fact is that they have the lowest amount of liked Facebook fanpages in whole Europe.

Holding the trophy for the highest number of liked fanpages is the Czech Republic. They have 7 times more liked pages than the Dutch have. Also ranking high in the average number of liked pages are the UK and Italy.

Here are all the numbers at a single glance:
(Credit: PANORAMA3000, feel free to use and link back.)

Analysis and data are great and can give valuable insights, but sometimes a look at the cultural habits can help way better than pure data. We checked our favorite prejudices about all of these countries, which could plausibly explain the different behavior on Facebook. Don’t take it too serious, it’s just to start a conversation! :)

The open minded and tolerant Dutch

The Dutch are known for being informal, in every day life as well as business matters. They are also famous for their tolerance. So let’s say: They aren’t shy to talk to strangers at all. It’s quiet clear that the Dutch have a very high engagement with their brand pages on Facebook.

Those pure democrats from the Alps

In the Swiss democracy system everybody can participate and nearly everyone does. This must be the reason for their Facebook behavior – engagement is king! But what about your famous discretion guys?!

Italians keep digging for information

Knowing that the media in Italy is owned by only a few, the diversification of information isn’t very high. Maybe this is the reason why the Italians try to find useful information somewhere else and have such a large number of liked fanpages on Facebook.

The Spanish and their temperament

The Spanish are well known for talking a lot – fast, loud and always it seems. Therefore it isn’t a big surprise, that they have a short response time and a high engagement on Facebook.

Sudern like an Austrian

The Austrians do not only like skiing, dancing waltz and eating their Mozartkugeln. They are also quite famous for moaning a lot and even have a special word for that: They call it “sudern”. Hopefully this isn’t the only reason for their quick responses on Facebook fanpage posts!

What more conclusions (key findings) can we see from the data?

At first we checked the data we got and watched the top rankings. But also important is the clustering of the different results we found. For the engagement rate we saw that the five countries with the highest engagement rate are all small ones e. g. the Netherlands or Sweden. In those countries the users only like a little amount of fanpages. In countries, where users like a high amount of fanpages, the engagement rate is always low or average.

What are the reasons for those results?

All the small countries with a high engagement rate on Facebook are well known for their good internet infrastructure. So a reason for the engagement rate could be, that they are used to the web for a longer time than other countries and that more people actively participating. On the other hand, it makes sense that in countries, where users like a lot of Facebook fanpages, the engagement-rate is low because the awareness is split up to all liked pages. If users like only a few fanpages, they most likely interact more because the pages have a higher presence in their streams and the users only focus on pages they really want to interact with. That applies for the response time too. Here is also a correlation between the amount of fanpages and the speed of responding to posts, as already mentioned above.

What we finally see are different habits of using Facebook in different countries. The reasons for that can be cultural, technical, social or a mixture of them all. Really important is to know the differences and to integrate this knowledge in the daily work to keep all fans happy and satisfied.

Background: How did we get these numbers?

We asked Socialbakers to give us the following numbers based on their huge base of Facebook data. We wanted to know the average number of liked brand pages by a Facebook user in the following countries: United Kingdom, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Czech Republic. We also wanted to know the average engagement rate on brand pages. Finally we asked for the average response time on these pages. We only counted pages with more than 10 000 likes to reduce complexity. We know many European countries are missing still.