Facebook tops Australian social media use

Thursday, 31 January, 2019

Facebook tops Australian social media use

Facebook is still the most popular social media platform amongst Australians, according to new research by Hootsuite and We Are Social.

The Digital 2019 report, which examines digital trends and social media use across 230 countries and territories, showed that social media use is on the rise in Australia, with 18 million people or 72% of the population actively using Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or Twitter — up from 66% in 2017.

Taking the top spot is Facebook, which retains its position as the most popular social media network with a total advertising audience of 16 million monthly active users. This has remained unchanged despite the social network’s issue-laden year. Twitter and Snapchat, however, are falling behind in the social media race, seeing their active advertising audiences decline by 2.3% and 14% respectively. All up, however, Australians spend just over 90 minutes per day scrolling through their social feeds.

“Although social media came under increased scrutiny and saw diminished trust among users in 2018, people around the world are spending more time on social — the global daily average is now two hours and 16 minutes, or one-seventh of their waking lives,” said Penny Wilson, CMO of Hootsuite.

“But to capture the attention of customers, brands need to rethink how they engage on social. Businesses must be respectful of their customers’ privacy, while still creating personal 1:1 connections via content that’s important, interesting and timely to the audience while being genuine and authentic to their brands.”

More Australians use smartphones than laptops or desktop computers (87% versus 84%), with mobile social media usage seeing the largest growth in 2018 (+6.7%). One reason for the increased usage of mobile devices is due to the immense amount of apps available.

In 2018, Australians downloaded almost 750 million apps, and spent $1.776 billion in the process (Tinder brought in the highest app revenue). Facebook develops the top four most used mobile apps (Facebook Messenger, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp).

“Australians are branching out and using their mobiles for more than just social media or streaming,” said Heather Cook, ANZ Managing Director of Hootsuite.

“The Digital 2019 report found that more Australians have CommBank’s app downloaded than Netflix or Uber. This signals a shift to make more of our daily lives digitised. Our world is getting more digital by the day, and consumers want to be able to do more with their smartphones.”

One Australian industry that had success in using social channels to connect with customers in new ways was e-commerce. Last year, Australians spent more money online, on consumer goods, than ever before ($25.89 billion, which was 22% more than the year prior). Fashion and beauty products took a lot of Australia’s hard-earned cash, with $9.163 billion spent online (26% more than the year prior) — that’s double the growth seen in the US over the same period.

“Australians are prepared to spend online across desktop, mobile and, increasingly, social — and marketers should not overlook the huge revenue opportunity that comes from social commerce,” said Suzie Shaw, We Are Social’s local Managing Director.

“Brands need to develop creative, socially led strategies to make the most of the ever-changing users’ habits, to ensure they engage their target audience in a way that seamlessly aligns to their behaviour, adds value to their lives and drives positive business impact.”

The popularity of online shopping is also demonstrated through Aussies’ most popular websites and their search history. eBay (7th), Gumtree (12th) and Amazon (18th) all feature in the most visited websites, while Australians googled a lot of retail brands in 2018, including Bunnings (7th), Kmart (8th), Gumtree (10th), Coles (12th), Ebay (13th) and Woolies (17th) featuring in the list of top search queries.

However, among Australians, the most searched word in Google was Australia — the UK’s most searched term was BBC, while the US was googling you more than anything else. After Australia, Australians have been googling weather and Facebook.

“It’s an interesting quirk that we’re only seeing in a couple of countries,” Cook said.

“While it may seem like we’re being somewhat self-absorbed and googling ourselves, the reality is that a lot of our major organisations have the word Australia within them and it’s in fact just part of a broader search.”

For more in-depth data, view the Australian report here. The full global report is available here.

Image credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Courtney Keating

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