Yellow, part of the Sensis group, has recently undertaken a wide-reaching survey to find out how people use social media platforms to share, discuss and research the world around them and, in particular, the businesses they interact with every day. This far-reaching report has a number of potential implementations for both consumers and businesses alike, as companies can tailor how they present themselves online to stay ahead of the competition and get their message across.
In the first half of this report, we’ll look at how Australian households are using social media, what their perceptions of what the platforms are for and what they want out of it.
Standout social media findings from the Yellow study
- 23% are happy to check social media while eating with family or friends.
- 34% of social media users are checking their social media more than 5 times a day.
- 30% of people believe they spend too much time on social media
- Social media usage in the toilet is 20% and twice as high (39%) among 18-29 year olds.
- The number of people using social media to share photographs or videos fell slightly.
- 36% of people use social media sites to catch up on news and current affairs and 32% watch videos.
- The number of people meeting new friends is at 18%.
A world of social
The survey polled 1,516 people to find out their online habits and used that data to get an informed idea about how the average Australian spends their time online.
Almost two-thirds of the population are on the internet more than five times a day, across a myriad of devices. 87% of people use their iOS or Android smartphones, which is the most popular way of connecting. Laptop usage is common for 76% of online Australians, with tablets and desktop computers found in 59% and 52% of Australian homes, respectively. Internet-enabled televisions are found in almost half (45%) of our collective lounge rooms, while wearable Internet-connected devices like smartwatches found on over one in five people’s wrists. That’s a lot of people who are connecting in new and faster ways than ever before.
So, why are people using social media? There are four main answers:
- Catch up with family and friends (85%)
- Share photos or videos (46%)
- Stay up-to-date with news and current affairs (36%)
- Watch videos (32%)
This indicates that communication between people and sharing experiences is by far and large the most essential part of a positive social media engagement, with passively consuming content trailing a distant second as a concern.
15% have worried their social media footprint might one day come back to bite them, with 18-29 year olds and 30-39 year olds the most likely to feel this way (both 22%).
94% of people get their social media fix at home, with the main rooms being:
- Lounge / living room (78%)
- Bedroom (58%)
- Toilet (20%)
Nearly two in three people using social media at home are doing so while watching TV, and half of those people can be found discussing the program they are watching while online.
Outside home, however, and the locations vary wildly. The most popular away-from-home locations for social media use are:
- Work (35%)
- Public Transport (32%)
- Bars, restaurants and parties (25%)
- Car (23%)
Why is this important? As people get used to posting and viewing social media content on the move, the location of their desired goods or services becomes more important. For example, it’s not enough to provide the best pizza in town, you need to make that pizza available for anyone who is even remotely nearby.
So when we say social media, what do we mean? Well, for nine out of every ten of us that means Facebook. The social media juggernaut shows no sign of backing away from its dominance over the social media landscape, with sister products Facebook Messenger and Facebook Live being in the hearts and minds of 79% and 28% of Facebook users respectively.
The second most popular social media platform is Google’s video-sharing service YouTube. Home of a million adorable cat videos and the occasional live celebrity meltdown, YouTube is familiar to 53% of Australian social media users.
The biggest loser in the social media wars, besides the more-or-less abandoned Google+ (itself only garnering attention from 13% of the surveyed audience), is Twitter. While the platform is popular in news circles, it’s also the most abandoned platform, with 31% of the people who say they have dropped at least one social media site in the last year calling out Twitter specifically.
How much time are people spending on social media compared to a year ago?
- 29% More
- 17% Less
The negatives of social media continue to cause concern for many. Issues around user privacy and security are ever present as the platforms encourage users to share more and more sensitive information. The impact on people’s sleeping patterns, ability to concentrate, spelling and and overall patience top the list of concerns.
14% of people have expressed they have been the target of bullying via social media, and 25% say they have witnessed it being perpetrated on someone else.
However, social media is generally regarded as an overall societal benefit as it brings people together and is a great way to relax and enjoy some downtime. A third of respondents who post their own content online admit to becoming excited when something they made receives more likes than usual.
Commercial considerations factor into many people’s social media usage. 23% of people use their preferred social media platform to research a product or service they are interested in.
The most popular product categories of social media research:
- Movies or TV shows (66%)
- Holidays or travel (65%)
- Entertainment (63%)
- Clothing or fashion (60%)
Further, the survey has found that in 59% of the times online research was conducted the user proceeded to make a purchase, more often than not online. The biggest attraction people say they have to follow a brand is through an incentive such as a discount or a give-away prize.
In the next section of this article we will investigate how businesses can use social media to help consumers make their next purchasing decision. In the meantime, contact iFactory to see how we can help your business expand their reach online through social media and other digital platforms.
Still want more? Check out our fast stats on business and social media from the 2018 Yellow Social Media Report on Pinterest.