Unveiling the popularity of chat and social networks in Vietnam

Unveiling the popularity of chat and social networks in Vietnam

The white paper ‘Digital Landscape 2023’ conducted by RMIT University in collaboration with Adtima, a leading ad-publisher in Vietnam, provides an insightful explanation of the drastic and unceasing growth in popularity and penetration of chat and social networks in Vietnam.

Lead author and senior lecturer, Dr Nguyen Van Thang Long from RMIT School of Communication & Design shares key findings from the white paper.

According to a report conducted by We Are Social, by this year, the internet penetration rate of Vietnam is ranked 39th globally with the latest peak at 79%, which equals to more than 77 million people online. It not only grows in the number of users but also increases in the frequency of usage. Ninety-seven percent of users go online multiple times per day, with an average of 6.4 hours, ranked 26th globally.

As a country with young population, no doubt that being present on online chat and social communities has emerged as one phenomenal lifestyle in Vietnam. The report provides businesses with insights on how chat and social networks are changing the game and how people interact with those platforms, to effectively shift their customers relation activities and business performance. 

Alt Text is not present for this image, Taking dc:title 'Digital landscape-1_ENG' Facebook and Zalo get the same level of popularity in Vietnam in terms of chat and social platforms.

Facebook and Zalo share the limelight

Social networks and chat platforms are the prominent parts of digital lifestyle, taking 83% and 74% of internet users in Vietnam, respectively. Both have become essential not only for personal usage but also for work or study purposes thanks to their convenience, speed, widespread adoption, and efficient file storage and sharing capabilities. 

Facebook and Zalo are reaching the same level of popularity in Vietnam as social network platforms even though Zalo is not formally classified as one of them. Users from Gen Y and Gen X spend significantly more time on Zalo, while Facebook is preferred among Gen Z users. Surprisingly, TikTok is still far behind in the battle of social network usage penetration (51%), followed by Instagram (26%).

Internet users rarely use one social network to keep interactions with the society or community. Multiple social networks usage enables them to take advantage of each network's features, or relevant personal, social, and business connections for their interests. They prefer functionality factors the most when selecting a social network. User-friendly interface is the most important driver (56%), followed by the ability to connect with friends and relatives (55%), useful information (53%), high security (52%), and suitability to everyone (50%). Some other emotional factors such as common, reliable, modern and trendy are less popular criteria that users consider when selecting social networks.

Zalo and Facebook have also competed for the most popular messaging platform among Vietnamese users, with Zalo taking the lead (74%) and closely followed by Facebook (73%). Almost three out of four Vietnamese people use Zalo and Facebook Messenger on a regular basis.

The common trend when choosing chat platforms is still the preference for functional slightly over emotional benefits, and it changes with ages - more mature users tend to prefer using Zalo to Facebook for chatting. 

Alt Text is not present for this image, Taking dc:title 'Digital landscape-2' 20:00-22:00 is the most ideal time in the day to advertise to Vietnamese users.

Best time for advertising

Although its popularity has passed its peak, advertising (ads) can still capture user’s attention through informative content [NH1] about brands or products, captivating storytelling, and good visual effects or catchy music.

The best occasions for brands to advertise to consumers are when they look for interesting content online (61%), learn new knowledge (60%) and search for information (55%). Resting mode, when consumers are watching entertainment content, relaxing, killing spare time or feeling bored, is also a suitable time to reach them.

Consumers are now increasingly demanding innovation and uniqueness towards branded content and they want to be part of the brand to express their lifestyle. There is a high demand to engage with brands, and these needs are different among generations.

Millennials are willing to digest lots of content in a reactive way as they want to know a brand well and thoroughly before making purchases.

On the other hand, Gen Z is more engaged with ads. They require brands, through ads, to catch up with their own active pace proactively and interactively – listening to their needs, responding to their content requirements, and offering them as many personalised choices as possible. They are more interested in branded content that gives them a platform to express themselves such as the ability to raise their opinions, or discuss about a campaign that a brand is running, or vote to bring a promise into reality, than Generation Y.

Social networks and chat platforms are more frequently used in specific time frames in a day. The time frames also align with the locations where they use these online platforms the most: relaxing at home after work or killing time during lunchtime at work or school.

Ads are more likely to be accepted when users finish their daily work and start the evening routine. Combining presence on social networks and chat platforms in terms of location and time frame, as well as ads receptivity time frame, 20:00-22:00 is the most ideal time in the day to advertise to Vietnamese users, followed by 18:00-20:00, 12:00-14:00, and 16:00-18:00.

The report also identified two types of motivations (functional and emotional) behind the needs of users when they connect online. Three dominant categories in functional needs include connecting and updating, free-time filling, and entertaining. Whereas emotional needs refer to the positive feeling users have about themselves and when engaging with others.

Read the full report for more findings.

Story: Ha Hoang

Masthead image: escapejaja - stock.adobe.com 

13 September 2023


  • Digital

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