Brazil: Social Media Capital Of The Universe

Guest Post:  Aaron Syed Jaffery (@aaronjaffery) is Managing Partner of global digital sport consultancyNineteenEightyFour.

Brazil is the most important social media market of the TIMBI series, recently named the social media capital of the universe by the Wall Street Journal, and now well and truly in the spotlight thanks to the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Olympic games.

A country of 199million people, 65million Facebook users and 33.3million Twitter users, Brazil is second only to the United States in terms of population size and social media market. Brazil is leading the world in terms of social media growth, owed to its dramatically expanding middle class population.

A 2013 comScore report found that social networking sites are the top online destination for Brazil’s internet users. 79% of Brazil’s internet users are on social networks, whilst internet penetration stands at just 50% and smartphone penetration a mere 23%, suggesting there are plenty more social media users to come.

Until very recently the biggest social network in Brazil was Google’s “Orkut”, but Facebook’s more communication focussed platform has let it steal the top spot. Facebook’s vice president of Latin America said in a Wall Street Journal interview, “Brazilians are inherently social people, it’s common for a stranger to start a conversation with you on the street, and that’s why social networks have, and are continuing to doing so well in Brazil.”


Sweet Tooth

Brazil’s got a taste for sweet things! Energy drink Guarana Antartica, global soft-drink giant Coca-Cola, and chocolate company Garto, dominate the top overall and brand Facebook pages. And granted it’s on the sour side, but Brazilian lager Skol also mingles in the top pages.

Guarana Antartica is a 2014 FIFA World Cup sponsor, Brazil’s second most popular soft drink, and 15th bestselling soft drink in the world. Number one brand, and overall number two page on Facebook, Guarana Antartica utilises Facebook exceptionally well. Themes of camaraderie and friendship are driven through rich Facebook content, echoing the values Brazil holds strong.  Current Facebook apps reflect Brazil’s push to make the World Cup as green as possible, with one giving fans the chance to win a bike from a Guarana Antartica can, and another informing the user of the drinks recyclable properties.

One of Guarana Antartica’s most notable social media campaigns was the Facebook powered carnival car. Facebook fans were given the chance to win a seat in a car that went to a V.I.P carnival, where they could party alongside famous Brazilian celebrities including Neymar. The winners needed 220,000 interactions on the accompanying Facebook app to power the car, with likes and comments translating directly into metres travelled. The campaign was hugely successful, and led to a lot of young Brazilian Facebook users getting on board with Guarana Antartica.

Coca-Cola also had a Facebook hit with their “happiness refill campaign” targeting teenage users. The “happiness refill machine” appeared to be a regular looking drinks machine, but instead of using a cup, the person’s phone was pressed against the tap to receive data credits. The data credits could then be used on an exclusive Coca-Cola mobile internet browser. In a country with virtually no free Wi-Fi it was a genius idea from Coca-Cola.

Brazil is one of Coca-Cola’s largest operations, and is sponsoring both the World Cup and 2016 Olympic games. And, it has already released a Coco-Cola World Cup song and Trophy Tour, as part of its intense sponsorship activation campaign to become the “icon of happiness” at the World Cup.

World Class Footballers

Brazil has churned out an unholy amount of football talent and the top Facebook and Twitter Stats reflect this.

Neymar, FC Barcelona‘s Brazilian striker, has been SportPro’s most marketable athlete for two consecutive years. And he is also the most liked Facebook sports page, second most followed Twitter sports page and fourth most followed page overall on Twitter. Neymar’s idol and AC Milan midfielder Kaka, beats him to the top overall Twitter profile and top sports profile, but loses out on Facebook, placing four ranks below Neymar.

Other players also enjoying the top Twitter and Facebook sports pages are: retired Brazilian footballer Ronaldo, nicknamed the “phenomenon”; one of the best footballers of our generation Ronaldinho; FC Barcelona player Anderson Silva; and despite being mentioned last, social media superhero Cristiano Ronaldo.

However, FIFA’s Official 2014 World Cup Facebook profile still has a long way to go in terms of fans. At under 1.5million total fans, it will take a concerted effort to get the page amongst the 25-40million local fan mark in Brazil’s top sports pages.


Unlike the previous emerging markets studied, Brazil features a charity and novelist in its top Twitter pages.

“Greenpeace Brasil” is Greenpeace’s largest Twitter account and second largest brand on Twitter of Brazilian origin. Their efforts to save the Brazilian rainforests have struck a chord with the Brazilian population. And, Greenpeace’s marketing director attributes its success to endeavouring to reply to everybody who tweets them, interacting and mobilising the Twitter community, instead of simply broadcasting.

Acclaimed novelist Paulo Coelho, author of ‘The Alchemist’ (one of the bestselling novels of all time) is the third most followed Twitter account of Brazilian origin. Interestingly, he also holds the Guinness World Record for being the living author of a book translated into the most number of languages.

…Not so unique

However, bringing Brazil back into more generic territory are TV presenter, Luciano Huck and TV programme, Panico.

There are said to be two loves in Brazil: Football and TV shows. And whilst this may be true in real life, Brazil’s social media figures tell a more football infatuated story. Home to arguably some of the greatest footballers of all time, this come as no surprise. There is however, little 2014 FIFA World Cup social media presence in the top pages, but it may still be a little early. Drink companies lead the social media way with a number of very creative, market suited, engaging campaigns. And, more unusual Twitter stars are found in Greenpeace and acclaimed Brazilian novelist, Paula Coelho.

About author

Daniel McLaren
Daniel McLaren 693 posts

Dan McLaren launched Digital Sport (formerly UK Sports Network) back in January 2010 and has worked in the digisport industry with adidas, We Are Social, Copa90 and Pulse amongst others. He's now a freelance social media guy living in the East Midlands and podcast host with the Digital Sport podcast on Audioboom, iTunes and Stitcher Radio.

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