ECCO Everything you need to know about social
Germany media but were afraid to ask / Germany
Chapter 1: About ECCO Germany & ECCO 3
Chapter 2: Country Research 5
Chapter 3: Different Social Media Types 7
Chapter 4: Case Study Examples 10
Chapter 5: Online Social Media Tools, Tricks and Listening to the Online 12
Chapter 6: Popular Blog Tools and Blog Posts 15
Chapter 7: Other Useful Social Media Tools 17
About ECCO Germany and ECCO
ECCO International Public Relations is a company owned and operated by 35 of the best
independent, owner-managed public relations consultancies around the globe. Through
ECCO we lead and manage global and pan-European programmes for clients including
InterfaceFLOR, Regus, UPS and Toshiba Tec which are proven to reduce costs by an
average of 40% compared with large, multi-national consultancies.
Due to the federal and decentralized structure of the market ECCO International is
represented in Germany by the national ECCO Deutschland network, formed by four
agencies: ECCO Düsseldorf/EC Public Relations, ECCO Munich/relatio PR, ECCO
00 49 211 23 94 490 Berlin/PRGS, and ECCO Hamburg/Bellmann, Gröning & Partner. Each agency covers
email@example.com its respective region and a specific field of clients. ECCO Düsseldorf has a strong
foothold in technology based industries with clients like Toshiba Europe, ASML or
Content Management AG, leading German provider of Internet services. ECCO Munich
mainly works for clients offering financial as well as human resources services such as
goetzpartners, DAB Bank or HypoVereinsbank. ECCO Berlin specializes on corporate
affairs, security topics and crisis communication. ECCO Hamburg focuses on consumer
goods and tourism with clients like Bestfoods/Unilever, Sunsweet, Gauloises Blondes and
the island of Helgoland. The ECCO Deutschland network can be found among the top 30
German PR agencies.
+44 (0)20 7592 3102
In Germany 68% of the population use the Internet daily1. The percentage of users claiming
to have a social community profile grew from 12% in 2008 to 23% in 2009, a 51% increase
in one year2. As the popularity of social networks is rising, more and more people use the
Internet for their social life. In the target group of 14-29 years old 68% claim to stay in
contact daily with at least one friend just over the Internet, in the group of 30 to 39 years
old this are still 46%3.
97% of Internet users research information on products and services they like to buy.
Doing that, 49% of the users find that comments and ratings of other users are reliable
information on a product, 39% even claim that they decided several times to buy the
specific product or service because of comments and ratings by other users. Nevertheless
still 43% also refer to the manufacturer’s information as reliable.
Contrary to the rapid development of people participating in web 2.0 communities as
consumers, the percentage of Internet users contributing content is growing very slowly.
According to the ACTA 2009 research the percentage of Internet users actively contributing
content only rose by 1 to 2% in relation to the activity to an average
of 19% from 2008. The number of people operating a homepage
even fell from 14 to 13%. The only activity that could gain users
significantly is commenting blogs, the percentage rose by 4% from
14 to 18%.
Some other key facts about social media in Germany4:
> 55% of social community users in the age of 14 to 29 have at
least two profiles on different networks.
> The German leading social network VZGroup has currently 15
million users, generating 428 million visits per month and 12.6
billion page impressions.
> Facebook has currently only 4.3 million users in Germany, though
> In June 2009 Twitter had 1.8 Million unique audiences in Germany, though only 37.7%
stayed loyal and returned to the site in July5. There are 100,000 active tweets in
> 33% of the Internet users in Germany claim to read blogs, though only 4% do this
> 53% of the German Internet users watch clips on video portals.
AGOF Internet Facts 2009/III
ACTA 2009 by the Allensbach Institute for opinion surveys.
ACTA 2009 by the Allensbach Institute for opinion surveys.
All figures from ACTA 2009 by the Allensbach Institute for opinion surveys.
The Nielsen Company, Twitter report published Aug. 2009.
Different social media types
With regard to blogging and microblogging as well as content sharing the German market
does not significantly differ from the Anglo-American market, with it’s popular services such
as wordpress, flickr, delicious and so on.
With regard to social networks the situation is different. One can find a very diversified
market of social communities.
There is studiVZ.net for students, schuelerVZ.net for pupils, meinVZ.net for a general
audience, Xing.de for professionals, lokalisten.de especially for local contacts, wer-kennt-
wen.de aiming the lower educated classes. All these portals are quite successful within
their target group, while general communities like myspace or Facebook are less popular.
For example Facebook has only 4.3 million users in Germany and myspace only around
2.6 million users. Even linkedin has only 500,000 members in Germany, while its German
equivalent Xing.de counts 11 million unique users per month.
Apart from these, the majority of popular social communities in Germany are operated by
big publishing companies or television networks. Because of that, marketing activities on
theses platforms are strictly controlled by the media planning agencies that already market
other publications of these groups.
A short overview about the most popular social communities in Germany:
The VZGroup, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Holtzbrinck publishing group, operates
three social networking platforms which work and look like Facebook. VZ stands for the
German word “Verzeichnis” which means directory. The VZGroup operates communities
for every stage of life, starting with schuelerVZ for pupils to studiVZ for students and ending
with meinVZ for the “grown up”. The users can move their profile from one community to
another by the click of a button.
Facts about the three portals:
was the first German social community launched in 2005 and targeting at students in the
German speaking D-A-CH Region. Today studiVZ.net has 5.25 million unique users per
month generating 128 million. Visits and around 3.9 billion page impressions6.
was launched to extend the studiVZ.net network to non-students. Today meinVZ has
5.02 million unique users per month7 generating 103 million visits8 and 2.06 billion page
As users of studiVZ and meinVZ can interact freely between each other and move their
profile from one network to the other by the click of a button they can be seen as one
network with around 10.3 million unique users per month. This makes them the leading
German social community.
is targeted at pupils from age 12. Due to child welfare reasons it is not connected to the
other VZ’s. SchuelerVZ.net has 4.74 million unique users per month generating 159 million
visits and astonishing 6.9 billion page impressions. It is by far the most popular internet site
in the age group of 14 to 19 years old, it reaches 51% of all internet users in that group.
Due to the user guidelines of the VZ sites, it is not allowed to open a professional profile,
but so called “landing pages” can be booked. These are sites within the community to land
on from e.g. a banner on the site. The VZ Sites are marketed by iq digital media (www.iqm.
Wer-kennt-wen.de (who knows whom)
Wer-kennt-wen.de is another social networking site that allows users to connect, share
photos and comments. It is not allowed to register to wer-kennt-wen with a pseudonym,
following the user guidelines a real name has to be provided. Wer-kennt-wen.de offers only
very limited services, e.g. they don’t offer any apps like facebook or the VZ, this makes it
attractive to people not familiar with online platforms.
Founded already in 2006 by two students wer-kennt-wen.de is now entirely owned by
RTL Interactive, the new media subsidiary of RTL Television. During the last two years
wer-kennt-wen.de had an enormous success and is now with 6.5 million unique users per
month the number two among the social networks in Germany (If you consider studiVZ and
meinVZ as one network). Though wer-kennt-wen.de is not designed to attract a specific
group 40 % of the users are over 40 years and the majority of the user comes from rural
areas in the southern part of Germany9.
Lokalisten.de is a social community platform that emphasizes on local activities and tries
to bring people from the same area together. Therefore the network is designed around
so called “homebases”, these are about 100 different geographic areas where the users
belong to depending on their place of residence. For any homebase lokalisten.de offers a
local marketplace, an event calendar where users can publish events and a blog system.
Lokalisten.de offer an advertising self booking system on their site, where advertising clients
can choose a homebase to advertise on, upload a banner and define target keywords.
Lokalisten.de is a subsidary of seven one media, the new media daughter of ProSiebenSat
1 Television and has about 3 Million unique users per month.
Xing.de is the German equivalent to linkedin, it gives users the
opportunity to present themselves to potential business partners
and to keep in touch with professional contacts.
Today Xing.de has 11 million unique Users per month generating
around 30 million visits and 335 million page impressions per
month10 in Germany. In contrast linkedin Germany has only
Xing.de is marketed by the adconion media group (http://www.
AGOF Internet facts 2009/II
AGOF Internet facts 2009/III
Official mediadata xing.de
Case study examples
Last year, Vodafone was the first (and so far only) company in
Germany to launch a big consumer campaign for their mobile
Internet services targeting the web 2.0 community. They started
with a press conference broadcast live on the Internet and provided
users the possibility to discuss with Vodafone the products
presented via twitter and facebook. This was a success as it was
discussed on different blogs and despite the fear that people would
only use the press conference to express their criticism about
Vodafone this proved to be unfounded.
At the beginning the campaign worked well in terms of interest
and coveraqge genereated. It was immediately picked up by many
blogs and the tweets got many followers.
For long term marketing, Vodafone also launched a blog and
engaged two well known bloggers as testimonials. As the
bloggers started to blog about their new phone and the fact that
they liked to upload photos directly to Flickr, however, immediately the users started to
comment negatively because it was obvious the blogger had never uploaded a photo to
flickr. Moreover, a lot of people mentioned the restrictions in Vodafone mobile contracts
concerning Internet usage, highlighting the contradiction between the company’s behaviour
and their slogan “empowering the generation upload”. The comments and tweets
immediately spread over the Internet and were discussed in many blogs. From that time
on the blog was classified by a lot of people as a typical public relations stunt. As Vodafone
failed to react to the critics and went on publishing information on products through its
blog. Eventually the attention tailed-off.
This case shows that to get into an honest dialogue is crucial. Social media cannot be
used as just another way of publishing information. To interact with the customer directly
and deal with criticism publicly is the oppotunity but also runs the risk of opening a
company up to the social community. If a company does not react properly – like Vodafone
– the community will not be interested in taking further notice of these activities.
Online social media
tools, tricks and
listening to the
Online social media tools, tricks and listening to
the online conversation
Due to tight data security regulations there are no specific search engines for German
social media. Most of the social networks block scanning by search engines. Only Xing.de
allows search engines to display their users.
In Germany, the big social networks are members to the IVW e.V. (www.ivw.de) or/and
AGOF e.V. (www.AGOF.de). These two associations analyze the sites of their members
in regard to media data and offer professional monitoring services, as well as publishing
regular statistics about the media data and rankings of their members. Further some
classic media monitoring agencies like landau media (www.landaumedia.de), Nielsen
media research (www.nielsen-media.de) or Webreputation (www.webreputation.de) offer
professional paid monitoring services for web 2.0.
For Blogs there is also the localized version of Google Alerts and www.blog-sucher.de. Not
a search engine but also a very useful site for the Blogosphere is www.deutscheblogcharts.
de, it lists the most popular blogs.
Apart from that, the services provided below also work with German keywords, so that
they might be helpful as well.
/ General Tools we recommend you look at are:
can help you track what is being said and receive streaming or batched reports. Set a
comprehensive alert to monitor across various media – news, blogs, web, videos and
enables you to scan up to 20 different search engines at any one time
tracks conversations across multiple sources
Social Mention (and Social Mention Alerts)
pulls content from across 80+ social media properties directly. You can also set up daily
Social Mention Alerts to track what is being said about your brand on a daily basis
is similar to Social Mention and enables you to track over 60 of the Internet’s most popular
social media platforms
As well as monitoring what is being said about your brand, you should also track what is
being said about key competitors and topics specific to your business.
/ Platform-specific Tools include:
is a search engine, message-tracking and instant alerts tool for forums
helps you keep track of where your blog is mentioned not only within Google but also
within Yahoo, MSN, delicious and Technorati. It keeps a historical track of your ranking too
so that you can track changes over a period of time
is a conversation tracker for Friendfeed
Google Blog Search (and Google Blog Alerts)
Google’s index of blog posts, allows you to see who is blogging
about your brand and what they’re saying. With Google Blog Alerts
you can set up daily, weekly or as-it-happens alerts for any time
someone mentions your brand online
allows you to search the blogosphere. You should search for your
brand on Technorati and subscribe to RSS alerts so that when
someone blogs about you, you find out
provides real-time monitoring of the Twittersphere
TweetScan (and Twitter Email Alerts)
enables you to see what is being said about your brand on Twitter.
It includes the option to set up Twitter Email Alerts
is a kind of Google Alerts for Twitter that will show you who is tweeting about your brand and
related topics. The key is to make your search as specific as you can, you can even narrow it
down to a specific place, otherwise you may get more alerts than you bargained for
allows you to see the tone of voice of what is being said about you – and how much of it is
positive, negative, neutral
allows you to see what people are saying about your brand or on a particular topic
Popular blog tools and blog posts
Wordpress is the tool of choice in Germany for blogging. Another popular service is
www.blog.de as a blogging tool with the ability to connect like in social communities.
To get into the German blogosphere www.deutscheblogcharts.de is very useful. The site
gives a good overview about the blogs read in the German blogosphere and ranks them
on the basis of RSS subscriptions and linking.
If you look at the ranking on blogcharts you will find in the top 10 blogs covering a wide
variety of topics. Nevertheless, blogs concerning the media industry and technology/
Internet form the majority.
> Some blogs with the highest ranking in their field:
A blog that deals with politics concerning the digital lifestyle like
data security and copyright conflicts.
A blog about design and clothing trends
A “behind the scenes” blog about the media industry written by a
A technology blog that discusses new technologies.
Other useful social media tools
> Google Analytics www.google.com/analytics/
The webstatistic tool of choice.
The most popular link sharing service supported by most sites in Germany.
Linksharing is a way of saving bookmarks and allows users to manage their bookmarks
online and share them with friends. Searching for your brand, product or event in this
way can be a real eye-opener – it is a good way to see how and in what relation others
are talking about you
Bit.ly is a link shortening and tracking tool that is commonly used in Germany.