Insights into Australian Social Media usage and trends are often hard to come by. So when Sensis publishes their annual Social Media Report into how Australian consumers and businesses are using social media we’re always quick to download and absorb the findings.

The 5th annual report has just been released (May 2015) with some intriguing insights that will be important in shaping your digital and social media marketing plans for the year to come. If you don’t want to wade your way through the 65 pages of the report, here are some of the key findings to consider.

Key Consumer Insights

  • There’s been an increase in the amount of time Australian internet users are spending on social media – almost 50% of consumers now access social media every day (and up to 79% for the 18-29 age group)
  • Facebook users now spend almost a full working day a month on facebook each WEEK, averaging 8.5 hours on the site.
  • Whilst facebook is still the main platform used, there’s growth in Instagram, Snapchat and Linked in. There was a small decline in Twitter usage.
    • LinkedIn usage is higher amongst males, those working full time and higher income earners. The more visual social platforms like Instagram and Snapchat appeal to younger demographics. 4

  • Consumers are mostly using social media outside work hours – 45% first thing in the morning, 40% after work and in the evening and 41% last thing before go to bed.
  • On average, Australians own three internet enabled devices with laptops and smartphones the most popular.
  • Social media is not just for the younger generation and specific platform usage varies depending on age and gender. Females and those under 40 are the most prolific users, but users are prevalent across different age brackets. Those in city areas are more active, than regional areas, but this could just be a reflection of coverage and broadband penetration. 3

  • There has been a steady increase of social media use while in the bathroom or toilet with 14% of people confessing to this location being used in the home (see p29 – we’re not making this up!)
  • About a third of social media users follow businesses or brands via social media – those under 30 are now clearly the most avid brand followers
  • Attitudes to advertising on social media are mixed. Some don’t mind seeing ads and quite a few click on them occasionally to find out more.

Implications for Business

  • The use of social media is not as prevalent for businesses as it is for consumers and there are still opportunities for businesses (especially smaller organisations)
  • Many businesses still are finding their way on social media, particularly smaller organisations where only 30% of those surveyed noting they had a presence.
  • The personal services and hospitality sectors remain the most active on social media followed by health services and retail trade.
  • The most common use of social media for businesses is to have a two way communication system.
  • There has been a marked decline in consumers wanting discounts or benefits from brands on social media, but some value exchange needs to be provided for consumers to remain loyal or at least allow them to find information about products that they are seeking out.
  • Larger businesses tend to update their social media status more frequently than smaller organisations.
  • Many businesses utilizing social media are doing so with the absence of a strategic plan so don’t measure the return on investment. A strategic social media plan is more common as business size increases

  • The March 2015 Sensis findings showed that “those SME’s who have embraced social media were more confident about their business prospects and reported better sales, profitability and employment performance than those without a presence.” Importantly, a significantly greater proportion of SMEs using social media are actively seeking business growth in the future and their social media strategy is most likely an important component of this desired growth.
  • Engaging in conversations with consumers via social media is now imperative – 62% of people were open to changing their opinion of a business if it responds to negative feedback on social media
  • Half the consumers who use social media to research products and services said they made a purchase and two thirds of them purchase online. Blogs and reviews are still important mediums to influence the buying decisions with over half those surveyed noting they read reviews before making a purchase.
  • Whilst consumers are active on social media, businesses need to remember that 92% of users cite that they are on these platforms to catch up with family and friends. Only a small proportion (24%) use it to follow or find out about particular businesses or brand. The following table gives an indication of what consumers want from businesses or brands they follow. 2

  • Social media content needs to be timed effectively – if you’re only posting during business hours when consumers are not online, you’re not maximizing the reach of your messages.
  • Consumers are increasingly accessing social media from mobile devices with 70% of respondents using a smartphone to access social media platforms– it’s imperative to be thinking about your mobile presence and how your content displays on mobile.
  • Whilst consumers have mixed responses to seeing brand advertising on social media, if the ads are relevant and content is appropriate, there remains an opportunity here.
  • With the average number of business ratings growing (especially hotels, restaurants and holiday destinations) it’s imperative for businesses to be listening and responding to consumer feedback so that any negative feedback can be quickly addressed. 5

To read the full report visit the Sensis website

Need some help with your social media marketing? See how the Mastermind Consulting team can assist.