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WhatsApp, Xing and LinkedIn: Social Media Marketing for Germany

Posted 20 May 2021

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Social Media has evolved to become a primary channel in the marketer’s toolbox for promoting either b2b or b2c products and services. An active social presence can go a long way towards building trust around a previously unheard of brand in a new market, and few (if any) other marketing channels provide the same opportunity to resonate with your target audience and promote your offering.

While social media use features in almost everybody’s day to day activities, understanding which platforms and content type your audience favours are critical for successfully leveraging this channel in your target market.

Traditionally, social media has been less popular in Germany than elsewhere in Europe. In 2020, 45% of German people were active on social media compared to 67% in the UK and 70% in the US. This has largely been attributed to Germany’s ageing population with 37.8% of individuals over the age of 55, a demographic that is universally less likely to use social media.

Culturally, Germans also value their privacy and are less likely to share personal information than other nations, evident in the country’s very strict data protection laws.

In spite of these drawbacks, social media use is increasing year on year, and with 80% of German Millennials logging into social media accounts several times a week, this trend does not look to be stopping any time soon.

We explore the latest trends to look at how Germans consume social media differently to UK & US markets to enable you to plan your digital strategy accordingly.


WhatsApp takes the crown as Germany’s most used social media platform, with approximately 87% of internet users regularly messaging on the app. This is significantly higher than UK usage, which is estimated to be around 58%. Currently the most popular instant messaging app which has largely made SMS redundant in the country, it is considered essential contact information to display on your website.


Having seen exponential growth in this market over the last 3 years, YouTube is a mainstay of German social use, with over 69% of internet users viewing videos regularly on the platform. Consumption is similar to that of the UK, and thanks to faster mobile internet speeds and constantly improving mobile technology, YouTube will remain a primary social channel for the foreseeable future. Germans prefer dubbed content over subtitles – bear this in mind when producing videos for this market.

Xing & LinkedIn

Xing is a popular business-orientated platform similar to LinkedIn and is primarily used for recruitment purposes. With a greater market share than LinkedIn in Germany (19% vs 17% in 2020) and an ever-growing user base in the DACH region, Xing provides an additional B2B advertising channel that simply does not exist in the UK.

LinkedIn still commands a strong following in this market however, and with a more developed advertising ecosystem than Xing, paid ads on LinkedIn can be more effective for reaching a wider B2B audience.

Facebook & Instagram

With over 45 million users in the UK alone, Facebook is the world’s largest social media platform. Following its acquisition of Instagram in 2012 for $1 billion, the global colossus has exceeded original growth expectations and continues to do so in 2021. In contrast, uptake of the platform has been more modest, with a current user base of approximately 28 million.

In spite of this, it is still one of the most popular social platforms in Germany, and with advanced audience targeting options and cross-platform functionality, it provides an excellent opportunity to advertise to large consumer audiences in this market.

Building your audience

As with other international markets, deciding how to prioritise your use of social media spend for the German market will primarily depend on your target audience, and the choice of platform will depend on your target demographic as much as on your goals. While Germany has been more reluctant to adopt social media than many other parts of Europe, there are still plenty of opportunities to reach your b2b and b2c audiences in this powerful market.

If you are considering expanding your social media reach in Germany and would like support creating engaging content targeted specifically at German customers, running paid campaigns or community management, please get in touch today.


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