Wave 9: The Meaning of Moments represents the behavior of active internet users based on 60 billion user interactions, in a survey of 52.000 people in 78 countries around the world


Global agency network UM has announced the results of the ninth annual survey on the habits of users of social media – Wave 9. The study gave a clear message: consumer attention is becoming shorter and shorter, and it is vital for all who work in the communications industry and advertising to understand the life moments when a brand can be relevant to consumers and which are the emotional needs of consumers at that precise moment. Otherwise, they will not be able to achieve a deeper relationship with their customers.

Covering a sample of over 52,000 respondents in 78 countries worldwide, research Wave 9: The Meaning of Moments, is built on a ten-year global monitoring of social media users. Wave, which was launched in 2006, today is the largest and longest research of its kind. This year, the survey analyzed over 60 billion online consumer interactions. Wave 9 has identified hundreds of moments in people’s lives when brands from different categories have the opportunity to become relevant, from personal to business moments, from everyday to special occasions. Within each of these moments, data are used to investigate 20 emotional states of the consumer, providing unmatched breadth and depth of insight into the audience as well as a detailed overview for marketers on how to send messages and in which media and channels.

Glen Parker, head of UM insight, EMEA, and author of Wave 9, said: “The omnipresence of social channels and mobile devices provides advertisers today with countless opportunities for engagement, but it is meaningful moments that connect brands with their audience in an emotionally relevant way. In order to be in the right place at the right time, we need to go back to basics and understand the ‘Who’, the ‘How’ and; the all-important ‘Why’. This is what Wave 9 empowers us to do.”

Key insight that the survey has shown is that consumer expectations of brands are at an all-time high, with 85% of consumers using instant messaging to communicate with family and friends at any moment, which heightens an expectations for brands to respond quickly in turn. This urgency has led to the success of brands that help consumers live in the moment, such as Uber and Lyft, Deliveroo and JustEat food couriers; quick access to content through Netflix and Spotify platforms; and fast delivery with Amazon Prime. Exploring what kind of interactions consumers want to have with brands, Wave 9 showed that the desire for content that’s worth sharing increased by 15% globally, while the desire to access the latest news about products fell by 13%.

In the countries of Southeast Europe, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia and Serbia, key insights found that not all moments are the same in retail shopping. Wave 9 showed that the feelings and needs of consumers when purchasing products vary widely depending on the context.

For example, when researching new products online consumers have positive emotions, whereby the “expectation” is the primary feeling in Serbia (18%), while “interestingness” was the strongest feeling at that moment for consumers in Bulgaria (35%), Bosnia and Herzegovina (29%), Croatia (20%) and Macedonia (27%). In Bosnia and Herzegovina (21%), Bulgaria (22%), Macedonia (18%) and Serbia (17%) most people have the need to “learn something new” at that moment, while in Croatia, the need to “stay informed” (20 %) is the primary one when researching a new product.

When these same consumers go for a weekly shopping, their primary emotion is “boredom” in Bosnia and Herzegovina (24%) and “relaxation” in Bulgaria (15%), Croatia (20%), Macedonia (30%) and Serbia (27%) – which is distinctly different state of emotion that brands should take advantage of. Their greatest need at that moment is to “stay informed” (Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia) or “to have fun” (in Bulgaria and Macedonia). These needs are best met using social media channels, which almost 60% of consumers across the region see as the media that serve to “stay informed” or to “have fun”.

“With the maturing of social media, and their taking a central position among the media today, it is important that brands truly understand the right moments and platforms, when and how consumers want to be engaged,” said Biljana Kolaković, regional director of UM agencies, and added: “data from Wave 9 study provides a base that should be fuel for creativity in creating moments that are really important for people on social media, and thus we introduce our clients’ brands spontaneously and with success in the lives of consumers.”

All the results of global research Wave for the Southeast European countries: Bulgaria, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Serbia, will be announced in the coming period.