WhatsApp seems to be almost as popular as soccer in Spain; the use of the application in the nation has risen to incredible levels. More interestingly, Spaniards appear to be among the world’s biggest consumers of messenger solutions of all kinds.
Statista found that around 70% of the Internet users in Spain also utilize WhatsApp. Interestingly enough, Spaniards are Europe’s largest users of WhatsApp, and their use of the app exceeds that of many developing countries.
The rate of WhatsApp usage in Spain is actually higher than in India, Brazil, and Mexico. The success of WhatsApp in Spain seems to contradict the argument that the application is primarily a solution for developing nations because Spain is a highly advanced country and a member of the European Union. Therefore it would be a good idea to ask why WhatsApp is so popular in Spain and if those conditions exist in other countries.
Why Is WhatsApp So Successful in Spain?
A good way to begin would be to identify those factors that make WhatsApp so popular in Spain. This could help marketers and entrepreneurs trying to utilize the application market to Spaniards and people in other countries. It could also help ecommerce professionals identify other nations that have similar characteristics to Spain.
One reason why WhatsApp is so successful in Spain is that it is a very advanced country with extensive wireless coverage and many Wi-Fi hotspots. That makes it very easy to stay in touch using messaging solutions.
Phones also seem to lend themselves to Spanish culture because the Spaniards are a highly talkative people. They like to communicate verbally, unlike some of the Northern Europeans, who prefer written or verbal communications.
Economics also plays a role. Spain’s lousy economy and the high cost of cell phone service make WhatsApp, which can be used for free by utilizing Wi-Fi, very attractive. A person that takes it to a Wi-Fi hotspot can send unlimited amounts of data.
WhatsApp is also designed to facilitate communication among groups such as coworkers and families. That is very appealing in a country with strong family ties.
People in Latin cultures such as Spain prefer direct communication without commercial interference, Lisbon University sociologist Gustavo Leitao Cardaso told El Pais. Latins seem to prefer written communication that is more like a face-to-face conversation than the quick messaging on sites like Twitter and Facebook, which is more of a bulletin board.
Part of the reason for this is that Facebook and Twitter seem to be designed for North Americans, who prefer some degree of anonymity and speed in conversation. English-speaking people are also more tolerant of advertising than people in Spain seem to be.
Advertising and other features that Americans or Englishmen might ignore are very offensive to Spaniards. The Spanish seem to look to the Internet as an intimate means of communication.
How to Use WhatsApp to Reach People in Spain
Marketers need to keep this in mind when they are trying to use WhatsApp to reach people in Spain. Spanish people are interested in conversation, not advertising. They want to hear real people speaking about a product or service, not a pitch from a salesperson.
This means the best way to market on WhatsApp in Spain would be to create content that will spread virally. Spaniards will ignore advertising, but they will pay attention to messages from friends and family. Pictures of products or descriptions of low prices might spread quickly in that fashion, particularly if they can reach members of WhatsApp groups.
People that want to reach Spanish customers where they live will need to utilize social media, and WhatsApp appears to be the most popular social media there. More importantly, it offers a tool for reaching consumers in the form of WhatsApp Broadcast Lists.
How WhatsApp in Spain Could Help You Reach People in Other Nations
Spain could also serve as a testing ground for WhatsApp marketing designed to reach people in other Spanish-speaking countries. WhatsApp is very popular in some other nations that use the Spanish language, including Mexico and Argentina. Around 75% of Argentine Internet users and 67% of Mexicans take advantage of WhatsApp.
This indicates that some of the same cultural factors that drive WhatsApp usage in Spain could be present in those nations. WhatsApp is also very successful in at least two other nations with Latin cultures; around 62% of Internet users in Italy and 57% in Brazil also use WhatsApp for messaging.
High usage of WhatsApp is also becoming a problem in Spain. Psychologist Jose Antonio Molina told El Pais that social media addiction is a growing problem in Spain, particularly among young people.
Poor social skills, delusions and compulsive behavior, and sleeping problems are among the symptoms associated with such addictions, according to Molina. If such addictions become widespread, it could create a backlash against WhatsApp and inspire efforts to curtail social media usage.
Another insight that Molina offered is that WhatsApp is very popular with young people in Spain. Data uncovered by El Pais indicates that seven out of 10 people between the ages of 16 and 34 in Spain have Internet connections on their phones. That number is higher than the average in the European Union, which indicates some differences in Spanish culture.
A major difference could be that traditional computers are less pervasive in Spain. That makes phones the more popular means of accessing the Internet in the nation. Another is that younger Spaniards, who have one of the highest unemployment rates in the world, around 49.2% according to Statista, simply cannot afford computers. Phones are the only means that they have of accessing the Internet and popular entertainment.
That means social media like WhatsApp could now be a primary means of entertainment for many in Spain. Therefore persons that want to expand entertainment enterprises to Spain might want to take advantage of solutions like WhatsApp.
The high levels of WhatsApp usage in Spain should serve as a reminder of this application’s potential. Those that can understand it might be able to leverage its power for other purposes.