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The Changing Behaviours on Social Media

In a recent Social Trends Survey* conducted by Hootsuite, some interesting trends are emerging to support what has been predicted for many years. Social media, especially on mobile is gaining traction, in almost all demographics. The implications of their findings outlined below will help your business shape its social media and digital strategies.

 Almost every internet user can now be reached via social media.
According to GlobalWebIndex’s study of 50,000 internet users aged 16-64, almost every internet user can now be reached via social media. Ninety-eight percent of internet users say they’re visiting or using social networks each month. And 78 percent of the internet population aged 16-64 are networking with a mobile device.

Passive social networkers continue to climb.
42 percent of digital consumers use social networks to stay in touch with friends. But we’re also seeing an increasing number of passive behaviors on social networks. For example, 39 percent use social networks to access the news. Similarly, 39 percent use social networks to fill their spare time (which is why social networks are racing to fill feeds with monetisable video content).

 All eyes turn to mobile-first social videos.The explosion of video consumption is driven by five forces: smartphones, shorter attention spans, binge-watching, the importance of context, and the thrill of novelty.

In the battle for mobile video attention, Facebook has climbed to the top, gaining 48 percent of total video views in Q1 2017, according to a study by the research firm L2. As Mark Zuckerberg stated in Facebook’s Q2 2017 earnings report, there’s no sign of this slowing. “Over the next few years, the much bigger driver of the business and determinant of how we do is going to be video, not Messenger.”

Brands, of course, have moved with the social video tide. According to L2, video made up of 21 percent of brand posts in Q1 2017, an increase of 6 percentage points from Q1 of 2016.

Social media’s role in the purchase journey expands.
Social continues to gain ground as a source of information for brands and products. In a study of 178,421 global internet users aged 16-64, GlobalWebIndex found that 28 percent of users turned to social networks during their online product research, a number that we’ve seen jump every year. They also found that 46 percent of all global internet users are following brands on social media.

As we move into 2018, we’ll see more consumers researching new products on social and making social a key part of their buying journey.

One in every three minutes online is spent on social networking.
According to comScore, Daily time spent on social increases every year across all markets and all major demographics. One in every three minutes online is spent on social networks or messaging apps.

Social overtakes search for 16-24 year-olds.
For online product research, search still leads the way. But social is catching up. 41 percent of global internet users say they use social to research new brands or products. And among 16-24s, social has overtaken search engines as a brand discovery and research channel.

As more consumers research potential purchases on social networks, it’s a short leap to buying directly on Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram. Chatbots will help consumers transition to social commerce, making it easy and seamless to discover products, ask questions, process digital payments, and see automatic updates on your order’s delivery date.

Social networks serve more ads, while consumers block them.
While social networks rush to offer more advertising features, consumers battle back with ad blockers. Research from the publishing analytics company Pagefair found that 11 percent of the global internet population now blocks ads on the web. And eMarketer estimated that 41 percent of millennials will use ad blockers by the end of 2017.

The rise of ad blocking is a loud warning to brands that consumers still resist and resent broadcast- style marketing tactics. From Snapchat’s self-serve advertising tools to Facebook’s Messenger ads, social networks will offer a stream of new social advertising features in 2018. But brands risk alienating customers if they only serve social ads without building genuine audience engagement and customer relationships on social channels.

The future of online product research: visuals and voice.
The rise of voice searches fueled by technology like Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa has been well documented. But visual searches are also on the rise. Products like Pinterest Lens use machine learning to aid in branch and product discovery.

Social analytics companies are also expanding their brand monitoring tools to include visual searches, helping brands listen for more than keywords and textual chatter, the future of search will also include search for pictures functionalities.

Some interesting statistics for people aged 16 to 64

Hootsuite are a great source of information re social and online trends that supports their social media management platform. If your business needs help with both its online and offline communications or engagment, contact Hall of Fame Marketing Bendigo and Geelong.


*The report from Hoosuite is based on a survey of 308 social marketing practitioners; qualitative interviews with 38 industry specialists; global data on the evolution of social ROI from Altimeter and Hootsuite; and analyst reports from Edelman, Gartner, GlobalWebIndex, L2, Forrester, Econsultancy, Kleiner Perkins, Deloitte, and McKinsey & Company.
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