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When we think of Facebook most of us think of it as the domain of the English-speaking world. But the reality is that over 375-million of Facebook’s 585-million users are non-English speakers, which is more than half of all users. One of Facebook’s fastest growing regions is South America.
The region already has six countries that number in Facebook’s 25 biggest markets – Argentina, Columbia, Brazil, Chile, Venezuela and Peru — and it contributes more than 56-million users. What’s scary is that Brazil, with its 76 million internet users, has only just begun to take to Facebook. In November alone, Brazilians added 1.2 million new users — a 14% jump — much to Google’s chagrin.
And they aren’t the only ones growing. As a region, South America added 3.2-million new users to Facebook in November 2010 alone. With all this growth, South American marketers should taking to Facebook like piranhas to a wounded deer. But are they?
Here are the 10 biggest South American brands on Facebook right now:
1. Un mundo perfecto (Argentina) – 1.47-million fans
“A Perfect World” is a popular talk show hosted by comedian and musician Roberto Pettinato and distributed by América TV. A mix of interviews with celebs, muscial performances and comedic monologues, the show is straight out of the same mold as The Late Show with David Letterman.
2. Sin Codificar (Argentina) – 1.34-million fans
Roughly translated as “Uncoded” this comedy sketch show is a bit like Argentina’s answer to Saturday Night Live. The show is also distributed by América TV, which suggests that that company has some switched on Facebook marketing folks.
3. Mama Lucchetti (Argentina) – 1.1-million fans
This soup brand’s animated TV adverts have made it an instant hit on Facebook. But the really extraordinary thing is that the page hasn’t been updated in two years. A wasted opportunity, but also a great illustration of social media’s tendency to mirror the real world.
4. Perro Lipigas (Chile) – 942K fans
Literally “the Lipigas Dog”, this page celebrates Chile’s favourite corporate mascot – a cute hound named Spike. Which just goes to show that a cute animal can make even a big, mean gas company popular with the masses.
5. Metrogames (Argentina) – 750K
This casual gaming start-up has offices in both Buenos Aires and Silicon Valley. With over 7-million players and a new dose of funding, Metrogames is clearly on the way up. Three quarters of a million fans on Facebook certainly won’t hurt that cause.
6. Juan Valdez Café (Colombia) – 750K fans
This Colombian coffee shop chain has won the hearts of local caffeine addicts, successfully keeping Starbucks from getting a foothold in the country. Which is particularly ironic, considering that Colombian coffee is one of Starbucks’ best sellers.
7. Cindor (Argentina) – 716K fans
Ready-to-drink chocolate milk is a hit in any language, but Argentinians take their love for Cindor to new heights. Unlike many other South American confectionery brands (see below), Cindor’s marketers actually seem to care about Facebook, and keep the page fresh and friendly.
8. Pirulin (Venezuela) – 695K fans
These crunchy chocolate straws are so popular they actually have three separate pages dedicated to their yumminess, all of them with over 400,000 fans. Clearly Venezuelans are in need of comfort food.
9. CHOCLITOS (Venenzuela) – 450K fans
Is it just me or are Venezuelans obsessed with junk food? These lemon flavoured corn chips (I kid you not) are almost as popular as Pirulin’s crunchy chocolate straws. Since neither of them are actively marketed on Facebook that’s around 2-million totally “organic” fans between these two brands.
10. Havaianas (Brazil) – 440K fans
The world’s most celebrated flip-flop brand is Brazil’s only entry into our top 10. Expect this to change within the next year, if not the next six months.
Some disclaimers about this list: I’ve stuck as closely as possible to brands rather than general pages (such as “I love Colombia”), celebrities or sports teams. The biggest pages in South America are all much larger than the list above (Shakira on her own has over 16 million fans) but judging global celebs and beloved football clubs alongside consumer brands muddies the waters too much.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about this list is how low the numbers are. Some South African pages (like Nandos) already have half a million fans – and our Facebook user base is not even 10% as large as South America’s. Clearly there’s a lot of room left for growth on that continent.