Every couple of months or so I like to look at the available statistics for social media usage and develop some insights for my articles. As we are now into the second half of 2013 I thought I’d go through that exercise again. What became obvious, almost immediately, is that social media is rapidly becoming an established and important feature of global online activity and modern social behaviour. It is shaping the way we live. So let’s look at the evidence.
The digital analytics company Experian published a report in April this year that analysed internet usage in the US, UK and Australia. Across all of these regions 27% of all time spent online is spent on social networks, far and away the largest category.
Australian users are one of the highest users of social media world wide. For every hour an Australian spends online 14 minutes are spent on social sites, nine on entertainment and four minutes shopping online. Four minutes of online shopping may not seem much but the report also showed that time spent shopping online grew year-on-year for all regions, and that trend will continue.
Overall the actual proportion of time spent on social networking websites has dropped slightly. In Australia time dropped from 27% to 24%. However these numbers should not be misconstrued as waning interest. Instead it simply highlights the rise in access via smartphone and tablet apps as consumers become increasingly mobile device-orientated.
Figures have also been published by Hubspot based on a survey of over 3300 participants from 128 different countries, including CEOs, agencies, and marketers. They show that companies are realising the return on investment from social media activity. In fact social media lead conversion rates are 13% higher than the average lead conversion rate and are producing almost double the marketing leads of trade shows, telemarketing or direct mail.
The survey also found that 85% of fans of brands on Facebook recommend brands to others, compared to 60% of average users. But the figure I found to be the most telling was that approximately 46% of online users rely on social media when making a purchase decision. This clearly points to social media usage becoming firmly entrenched into customers’ buying journey.
Facebook is still the giant in Australia. In fact, there are now over 12 million Australian Facebook users. What is clear is that internet users are now becoming very comfortable with social media being embedded in their lives. They are using multiple platforms and using them often.
The numbers shown in these reports strongly suggest that every customer-facing brand would benefit from a well thought through and executed social media strategy and content plan.
So as the new financial year gets underway it is a good time to ask yourself if you are doing everything you can do to get the most out of your digital marketing efforts.