More lesbians than straight women in Singapore and Malaysia, says Facebook?
March 19, 2012 by Terence LEE
They discovered that in Singapore and Malaysia, the number of “women interested in women” far outnumber those who are “interested in men”. In Singapore, that’s 14,800 to 6,100. The difference is even greater in Malaysia, at 65,160 to 8,480 (with several other parameters added in).
However, the figures in the United States seem pretty normal, with 1.6 million showing an interest in men, while a tenth of that indicating an interest in women:
While there’s not enough information to prove decisively why the figures are what they are, one possible reason is that Western and Eastern audiences perceive the phrase “interested in” differently.
While Americans might perceive it as a declaration of sexual orientation, Singaporeans and Malaysians might construe it differently.
This has obvious implications for how advertisers and companies conduct social media marketing, and how the lack of localization, taking into account cultural differences, may affect their ability to reach out to the right audience.
For example, if I run a dating agency and I want to target straight women on Facebook, the estimated reach I’d get would be far less than the actual number. I am therefore unnecessarily limiting myself to a specific group, missing out on people who might be interested in my services.
More generally, it raises the question of just how accurate Facebook’s profiling system is. For instance, I know of many under-18s who sign up on Facebook anyway, faking their age just so they could get onto the social network.
This is a topic marketers and researchers might want to explore further.
Special thanks to Zane Kripe for her input.
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About The Author
Terence LEE - Editor
Terence writes mainly about technology trends and startups in Asia. He believes in crafting smart content: Not just a regurgitation of text, but well thought-out pieces that serve the reader using a combination of data, design, narratives, analysis, and visual impact. His articles have been published on Venturebeat, Yahoo!, Straits Times, Today, and The Online Citizen. He also co-founded NewNation.sg, a satirical news site covering Singapore affairs. Engage him on LinkedIn and Twitter.Read other posts by Terence LEE