Now in its 5th year, the Sensis Social Media Report, is a snapshot of how consumers and businesses are using social media channels and is the only one of its kind in Australia.
This year’s report found that 79% of Australians use the internet daily and the average Australian owns three such devices with laptops (75%), smartphones (70%) and tablets (55%) most prevalent.
In terms of consumers using social media, nearly 50% use it daily with 79% in the 18-29 age group using these platforms daily.
Facebook continues to stand out as the predominant platform with 93% of social media users with a profile followed by LinkedIn (28%), Instagram (26%), Google+ (23%), Pinterest (17%), and Twitter (17%).
Facebook users now spend the equivalent of a full working day on Facebook each week, averaging 8.5 hours on the site which is an important insight for businesses seeking the best return for their online advertising spend.
From a business perspective, a solid minority of Australians who use social media follow brands and businesses (32%), access offers/promotions (20%) or conduct research about products/services they want to buy (19%) which means they are willing to engage.
In fact, half of those who are using social media to research products/services said they made a purchase and two thirds of them made that purchase online.
Attitudes towards businesses advertising on social media remain mixed but there are still quite a few who like sponsored posts from businesses they follow (32%) or don’t mind seeing ads (38%) which they click on occasionally to find out more (42%). This suggests paid advertising or sponsorship is reasonably effective for targeting consumers of interest although it’s also likely to be ignored by many.
Blogs and reviews continue to influence buying decisions, with over half of social media users (55%) reading reviews before making a purchase, which is less prevalent than the past few years. Most who read reviews look at up to five before making a decision. However, there remains just over a quarter of online users who post blogs or reviews (27%) and their shared experiences can influence potential buyer’s decisions.
These statistics are a powerful marketing tool for small businesses given only 31% of SME businesses have a social media engagement strategy. In the year ahead, 13% of small business and 15% of medium sized business have said that they intend to establish a social media presence.
Given more and more consumer attention is absorbed across social compared to other media, it’s now more vital than ever that businesses understand these social media opportunities.
This year’s report continues show more social media activity away from the home in places such as at work, in transit and even at restaurants and cafes. This highlights the even greater opportunities for businesses to engage through social media at critical buying moments.
In addition to this, quite a few businesses using social media still lack knowledge and direction about how to use it and its effectiveness for the business:
- 49% of SMEs and 45% of large businesses say they have invested money in social media but don’t know how much.
- Only 16% of SMEs and 29% of large businesses measure their return on investment in social media.
- 80% of SMEs and 37% of large businesses have not developed a strategic plan for their social media.