Engaging a Virtual Community

Brazilian consumers spend an average of 19.3 hours online for personal use versus 9.8 hours watching TV, according to a study released by Deloitte. According to Internet World Stats, sixty-seven million Brazilians now have internet access, which is approximately 34 percent of the population. A large number of Brazilians access the Internet from Internet Cafes and online gaming cafes, and they are also more likely to use Social Networks and Blogs than the average global Internet user.

Brazilians are also incredibly community oriented, so Social Networking caught on fairly quick in Brazil because of its relevance to their everyday life. Although Brazilians are some of the most outgoing people, they are quite cautious when meeting others and inviting them into their inner circle.

With an abundance of web activity on social networks in Brazil, it’s not hard to see the advertising potential for companies that know how to engage the audience successfully. It is not enough to simply target Brazilian consumers where they spend their time online. Because Brazilians are engagers who strongly believe in community, it is also important to create a platform that is interactive and encourages two-way asymmetrical communication, which ties into key elements of their culture. A simple display ad would not work, particularly in the realm of social media.

Amanaiê, the Brazilian leader in creating social ads — product-based apps that work inside social sites such as Orkut, seems to have found a formula that works.  The Sao-Paulo based startup has already worked with some major market players such as Yahoo! Brazil and Universe Online, the country’s top internet portal.

Amanaiê founder Gilberto Junior describes the concept:

Gilberto Junior

Gilberto Junior

“We address the problem of the lack of relevance in display advertising. We believe advertising can be more engaging and it can be where people already are, instead of trying to take them out of there and lead them to some kind of advertising website. “

The Orkut apps drive traffic for the portals.


Bolao BBB9, an application designed for fans of the  popular Big Brother Brazil reality television show, was created to run on Orkut, Brazil’s most popular social network. The application displays each week’s remaining contestants and engages the user by allowing them to guess the winner and loser in advance. They can then compare their answers with those of other players on Orkut. Users are ranked by their cumulative scores. The application also features photos and news about the contestants for fans.

This case was successful because it:

  • Understood the target audience’s motivation for using the tool.
  • Empowered the target audience through engagement.
  • Kept the target audience in their community, without prompting them to go to another site
  • Reached the target audience in a familiar environment (a community where they were surrounded by virtual  family and friends)

Gilberto continues:

“Digital advertising is changing. Digital display ads are working less and [becoming] less relevant over time. The new digital media is that one that engages the costumer —The advertising that is so relevant that the user wants to install it on their public personal profile on a social network.”

After all, Facebook apps summed are making more money than Facebook itself.


One Response to Engaging a Virtual Community

  1. Good job this week of taking an overall look at Brazil and social media from the point of view of how it helps to evolve display advertising, and then bringing your analysis to life by choosing a specific example to share and bringing out some lessons that you took away from the example that could work for other brands. The resulting post was a useful and interesting look at display advertising and how it is evolving. (4)

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