Social networking is the top online activity in Malaysia, underscoring the growing importance of social media marketing, according to a new report by ComScore, which adds that online video viewing is also continuing its upward run.
The digital research firm found that social networking accounted for 32.1 percent, one third of total time by users spent online during the month of August. Social networking led in the "most engaging content" category, demonstrating its increasing importance and the relevance of digital marketing strategies.
Released Monday, the ComScore study looked at Internet usage in the country, and included insights on the top site destinations, content categories and video viewing behavior.
"Social networking has become the central activity in Malaysians' digital lives, accounting for 1 in every 3 minutes spent online," Joe Nguyen, ComScore's vice president for Southeast Asia said in a statement.
He added that with its rising importance in today's world, brands and marketers need to ensure that social media is addressed in their digital strategies, regardless of whether it means having a dedicated social media plan or monitoring consumer sentiment toward the brand.
Leveraging Facebook fanpages to reach "fans and friends of fans" is a critical component of a company's social media marketing strategies, the research firm added. AirAsia and My.McDonalds, for instance, were able to double their Facebook brand impressions by reaching out to friends of fans. This highlighted the importance of leveraging fan bases to extend the reach of business brands and deliver impressions at scale and without additional marketing expense, ComScore said.
Apart from social networks, Malaysia's online community spent 11.5 percent of their time on entertainment sites, 11 percent on Web portals, while 5.3 percent and 4.2 percent of their time were spent on instant messaging and e-mail, respectively.
According to ComScore, over 11 million people aged 15 and above accessed the Internet from a home or work in Malaysia for the month of August. Of these, 92.4 percent visited Google sites, ranking the Internet giant as the top property for the market with 10.4 million visitors.
Facebook ranked as the second most-visited property with nearly 9.9 million visitors, up 15 percent in the last year.
Among local properties, classified destination Mudah.my was the most visited with 2.5 million visitors in August. Media Prima Group which includes Hmetro.com.my (Harian Metro), Bharian.com.my (Berita Harian), Tonton.com.my and others reached 2.2 million visitors.
MayBank Group drew more than 1.9 million visitors, growing 20 percent over the same month in the previous year, as Malaysians continued to adopt online banking, ComScore said.
Rise in online video viewing
Online video viewing continued to grow in Malaysia with the number of audience increasing to almost 9.3 million viewers in August 2011, up 8 percent from the previous year. Growth in online video engagement was more pronounced, as average minutes per viewer increased 19 percent to 6.2 hours.
Google sites ranked as the top video property in Malaysia at 8.8 million viewers and 457 million videos viewed. This was driven largely by YouTube.com which accounted for 99 percent of viewers and videos under Google.
Coming in second place was Facebook, with 4.1 million viewers watching a total of 30.5 million videos during the month. VEVO ranked as the third-largest online video property in Malaysia, with nearly 3 million viewers watching 26.5 million videos.