The Drivers of Digital Media Consumption: Social Media and Video Sharing

The global giants Facebook and Google have become significant contributors to the growth of digital advertising spending in Central and Eastern Europe. This is partly due to the fact that – as the central topic of the current issue of CANnual Report hints – one of the most popular channels of the rapidly developing content marketing is social media and one of the most beloved formats is online video.

Social media markets of the region have not changed radically compared to last year. The triumvirate of Facebook, YouTube and Instagram continue to rule the scene in most countries, except for Russia and Ukraine, where VKontakte was the king in 2016, and Latvia, where Draugiem made it to the podium.

While the popularity of big, foreign social media platforms grows constantly in each CEE country, the popularity of local networks is in decline. The number of users on Pokec, the “Slovak Facebook”, decreased by 4%, and the Slovak community platform, Modrykonik – created for parents with small children –, also decreased by 2% compared to 2015. Vbox7, the “Bulgarian YouTube”, became less popular by 1%, while the number of users of, the Latvian social media platform, decreased by 12% compared to last year.

Among the non-Western social media channels, VKontakte – popular in the ex-Soviet countries – suffered the greatest loss as it was blocked in Ukraine from one day to another by Petro Poroshenko, the President of Ukraine, for national security reasons. Before that, VKontakte had been the most visited social media channel in the country – 13 million people used it on PC only –, so after the sanction was passed, an actual exodus started to other social media channels by individual users and brands alike. Their primary destination was Facebook: in the two weeks after the blocking of VKontakte, 1.5 million people registered to the platform (Note: you can read about the blocking of VKontakte in the article A Network Buried Underground in details).

Out of the three big Western social mediums, YouTube’s user base grew the most rapidly last year. While the number of new Facebook users grew by 3-5% and that of Instagram grew by 5-10%, YouTube managed to end up with a 10% growth in almost every country. Hence it can be concluded that video consumption in the CEE region strengthens not only in terms of intensity but the number of video consumers as well.

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