Hootsuite, the leader in social media management, in collaboration with We Are Social, the global socially-led creative agency, today released Digital 2019. The eighth annual report, which examines digital trends and social media use across 230 countries and territories, uncovered that more than one million new people go online every day, and that 45 percent of the world— nearly 3.5 billion people annually—are logging in to their favourite social platforms. That’s a near 9 percent increase year-over-year despite growing concerns of fake news, fake followers and data privacy in 2018.
In Australia, social media use is on the rise with 18 million people or 72 percent of the population actively using Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or Twitter, up from 66 percent in 2017. Taking top spot is Facebook, which retains its position as the most popular social media network Down Under with a total advertising audience of 16 million monthly active users, which remains 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 2 hours and 16 minutes, or one seventh of their waking lives.” noted 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 percent versus 84 percent), 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 AU$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.”
Another potential reason that we may be seeing Australians take to their phones rather than computers and laptops is internet speed. Fixed connectivity is a continued issue for all Australians. The average speeds for fixed connectivity, when compared with mobile connectivity pale in comparison (fixed: 33.04mbps; mobile: 56.5mbps). However, the rollout of the nbn and other initiatives are helping to narrow the gap and we’re seeing higher growth, year on year, in fixed speeds than mobile speeds (fixed: +28%; mobile: +16%).
One Australian industry that had success in using social channels to connect with customers in new ways was ecommerce. Last year, Australians spent more money online, on consumer goods, than ever before (AU$25.89 billion, which was 22 percent more than the year prior). Fashion and beauty products took a lot of Australia’s hard-earned cash, with AU$9.163 billion spent online (26 percent 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 Aussie’s 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.
But what Australians are googling most sets us apart from the majority of the rest of the world.
Aussies are googling themselves
Down Under, 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.”