Social media continues to increasingly embed itself in our lives. Are you interested in using social media to grow your audience and generate a positive ROI on social media marketing?
If so, only by understanding the scope and breadth of social media use can we be in a position to harness its potential. And in doing so be better prepared as businesses and marketers to meet our audiences where they are at.
So let’s look at some social media facts and emerging trends.
Social media emerging trends
There is no doubt that social media is changing our world and has turned traditional business models on its head. Consider the following trends:
- The sharing economy that creates new sources of supply for underused assets (like bedrooms, cars) or labor.
- Social networks have played an important role in elections in the USA, Iran and India by empowering people and fuelling ideas
- The Apple Watch brings wearable technology mainstream as does products like Nest into our homes. The Internet of Social Things will likely see us share everyday objects socially through smartphones.
- Big Social Data will take on prominence as brands mine conversations on social to provide an opportunity to create reactive products and services that serve their audience needs
- A greater understanding of the “anti-social” – the negative consumer backlash to the pressure of being always on.
- Privacy is important to us even though we are social beings. Private platforms like Snapchat and Whats App continue to grow. Whisper claims to have doubled its membership over a six-month period. In other words, businesses need to adapt to reach consumers where they are.
- Community commerce has seen communities rally around common causes for good with positive financial outcomes for all involved. PaystobeSocial is an example of an app that pairs you with people making the same train journey so you can get a group discount.
- Social currency or the ability to send and receive payments via social is another trend that is making waves for businesses.
What does the social web look like in 2016?
According to Wearesocial, the continuing growth in mobile social users seems to stand out. With a worldwide population of about 7.3 billion people, it worth noting some of the numbers below.
- There are just over 3.4 billion active internet users worldwide
- 2.3 billion people have social media accounts
- Nearly 3.8 billion people have access to the internet via mobile devices
- Close to 2 billion people are active mobile social media users
What is interesting to note is that more than a quarter of the world’s mobile social media users live in East Asia and Southeast Asia.
Mobile social media facts and implications
Consider these mobile social media facts and trends:
- 85% of Facebooks audience connects via mobile phones of which 83% access it via smartphones.
- Increased smartphone adoption and better mobile broadband connectivity have allowed for mobile phones to be most people’s primary day to day device. It is fair to say that a mobile phone is now the main way people access connected services including the internet. What this means is that there is a shift in way people access and consume information and content.
- Platforms such as WhatsApp, LINE, KakaoTalk and Facebook Messenger are largely ‘private’ experiences, with little (if any) information visible to strangers.
- Instagram ‘private’ accounts have increased in number – especially amongst Millennial users
- Fewer ‘personal’ stories are being shared on public channels like Facebook and Twitter
This change in user behaviour requires a fundamental change in mindset for marketers as they think about ways to connect with these audiences.
‘Snackable content’ will continue to be a valuable component of brands’ social mix. However, people still trust personal recommendations more than any other source of discovery. So businesses and marketers need to focus their efforts on finding ways to inspire social conversations in these more private channels.
Facebook continues to be a force to be reckoned with. In its efforts to continue its do
Consider these statistics:
- Worldwide, there are over 1.59 billion monthly active Facebook users (MAUs) which is a 14% increase year over year.
- There are 1.39 billion mobile active users (MAU)
- Facebook users are 80% female and 73% male.
- The average American spends 40 minutes on Facebook
- Facebook video viewership has grown rapidly and now sees 8 billion average daily video views from 500 million users.
- Not only does Facebook generate most of its revenue from those on mobile devices but the company owns three of the world’s most popular apps. See graphic below
Twitter isn’t a new social network but with concerns about its ability to attract new users, there is a degree of uncertainty about its future.
- Twitter has 320 million monthly active users
- 6000 tweets are sent every second
- 80% of users access Twitter via mobile devices
LinkedIn continues to dominate the professional social networking scene despite being one of the oldest social networks.
Consider these stats:
- LinkedIn has 400 million users with two new members signing up every second
- 50% of LinkedIn users access it via mobile devices
- 40% of LinkedIn Users use the mobile app to look for a new job
- The average number of LinkedIn mobile profile views is 15 million
- LinkedIn has 3 million active job listings
- LinkedIn has 33,271 corporate customers, and Q3 2015 revenue was $780 million
- LinkedIn also has 70 million SlideShare users that share 18 million pieces of content
- 80% of LinkedIn members want to connect to companies because those connections provide them with opportunities to enhance their professional decision making.
Google + facts
Google+ since being launched has not had the best chance to live in the way that other social networks like Facebook or Twitter have. Eric Enge’s study “Hard Numbers for Public Posting Activity on Google Plus” would lead us to agree with those who say Google+ is dead. However, in reality, it is probably because that Google+ is not being used in the way that Google had hoped. Over the years, Google+ has had to face some internal challenges, and some features that set it apart have slowly been removed. Despite a recent facelift, Google+ still faces a number of challenges, that being said it cannot be easily dismissed.
Jennifer Breese, however, argues that while Google+ may not be a large platform there are factors that make it important for brands to be active on the network such as:
- Better discovery and SEO value
- Helps with putting your business on the map
- Assist people via Hangouts and Helpouts
- Google+ has over 300 million monthly active users
- It has 20 million unique mobile monthly users
- 17% of B2B marketers use Google+ in new product launches
- 3% of total global e-commerce social sharing occurs on Google+
- 3% of total consumer brand social sharing occurs on Google+
- 26.3% of Google+ users are female
- 73.7% of Google+ users are male
- 40% of marketers use Google+
- 70% of brands have a presence on Google+
- The top countries using Google+ include: United States, India, Brazil, United Kingdom and Canada
Some would not consider YouTube to be social media network, but there are many reasons to classify it as one. In fact, it could be argued that it is one of the biggest social media networks available.
Consider these statistics:
- It has over a billion users.
- Every day people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views.
- The number of hours people spend watching videos (aka watch time) on YouTube is up 60% y/y.
- 80% of YouTube’s views are from outside of the U.S
- More than half of YouTube views come from mobile devices.
- On mobile, the average viewing session is now more than 40 minutes, up more than 50% y/y.
- The number of hours people spent watching videos on mobile is up 100% y/y.
- YouTube’s mobile revenue is up 2x y/y.
- Partner revenue is up 50% y/y — and YouTube has seen this level of partner revenue growth for three straight years.
Pinterest continues to be a force to reckon with in that it is predominately female-centric and visual but continues to engage users. If there is a social network that has demonstrated the power of visual media to influence people, it would be Pinterest.
Robert Moore of RJ Metrics provides insight into the storytelling that visual media on Pinterest communicates –
Pinning is aspirational, which means that data on pins is data on people’s aspirations.
Consider these statistics:
- Pinterest has 100 million active users
- 85% of Pinterest users are female
- 80% of pins are repins
- The half-life of a pin is 3.5 months. In other words, it takes 3.5 months to get 50% of its engagement
- 75% of Pinterest traffic comes from mobile apps
- The most pinned categories include: Food & Drink, DIY & Crafts, Home Décor, Holidays & Events
- The most browsed categories include: Food & Drink, DIY & Crafts, Home Décor, Their home feed
- Shopify users referred by Pinterest; for example, spend an average of $80 compared to Facebook referral of $40.
This photo sharing app is no longer the primary domain of staged food and sunsets. Now, part of the Facebook enterprise it is a powerful social network.
- It has 400 million monthly active users
- Users share on average 70 million photos a day
- Instagram posts, generated a per-follower engagement rate of 4.21 percent. How does this compare to other social networks? For brands, it delivered 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook and 120 times more engagement per follower than Twitter.
Snapchat has had a fast rise to prominence from what started off as a fairly obscure mobile network a few years ago. It has gone mainstream in a big way and is one the radar of some large digital firms including Facebook that reportedly offered $3 billion in 2013 for it.
Why? Consider these statistics:
- It has 100 million daily active users
- 65% of Snapchat users contribute content
- 8796 photos are shared every second on Snapchat
- Snapchat has 6 billion daily video views
While Facebook may still be the biggest social media network in use, many other social media networks cannot be discounted. Many of these are both niche and non-English speaking. Take for example Blab which off late has set social media marketers abuzz. It is essentially a live streaming video platform that streams via any mobile device or desktop. The platform has won over fans of Google Hangouts making it a platform to keep an eye out for.
What does this mean for you?
While the social media facts provide some idea of the extent of social media use and the role of mobile in empowering people and their social media usage, the game is changing.
So how can you use visual media, mobile and social media content to get your message across to your audience?
To help get you thinking about your social media strategy, consider the following:
- Consider comparing the benefits and return on investment (ROI). In other words, weigh up how important social media will be in achieving your goals and whether it will provide an ROI.
- There are a number of social networks so consider thinking beyond major platforms and use ones that work best for your audience
- Invest in content that is shareable to increase the engagement on social media
Are there other ways and considerations in your social media strategy and investments, let us know in the comments below.