By Adam Fraser
The University of Canberra News and Media Research Centre recently released the third in their series of Digital News Reports.
The Digital News Report: Australia 2017 provides insights into what Australians think about news brands, and how and why we consume news. The online survey was conducted in Australia in early 2017 based on a sample size of 2,004 adults who access news once a month or more.
Some of the key findings were:
- 56 per cent of adult Australians try to avoid the news occasionally or often. The main reasons provided by news avoiders were: that news can have a negative effect on mood; news can’t be relied upon to be true; and/or avoiders didn’t feel that there is anything they can do about news stories.
- Interest in news remains strong with about 63% of participants saying they were extremely or very interested in news (consistent with 2016).
- 39% of respondents use Facebook to get news, with 15% using YouTube. But 41% of respondents said they didn’t use any of the social media brands listed in our survey for news consumption.
- Australians tend to trust the news they consume (48%) more so than they trust news in general (42%). There are a large number of people who neither trust nor distrust the news they use (33%).
- More men are consuming online news while in the bathroom or toilet than women accessing news sites at work. Men prefer to share news articles via email, whereas women prefer social media or sharing face-to-face.
- TV news continues to be the main source of news for Australian audiences overall. But the preference for the main source varies across age groups:
- 38% of 18-24 year olds use social
- 32% of 25-34 year olds use online
- 45% of 55-64 year olds and 50% of 65+ year olds use TV.
As a benchmark, previous studies in the USA have indicated 40% of Americans access news via digital means.
This is an extremely comprehensive report, containing not just in depth analytics on a range of aspects related to the media sector, but also quality commentary from multiple industry experts (including some global contributors).
Highly recommended reading and a great source of reference data.
By Adam Fraser
The Sensis Social Media Report for 2017 has been released. It’s a report I look forward to as – as I have previously discussed in 2016 and 2015 – there are lots of stats about global social media usage, but limited stats specific to Australia.
Sensis surveys 800 consumers and 1100 businesses in Australia about their social media usage across a broad range of metrics; the final reports are comprehensive, this year split into separate reports for the findings on consumers and businesses.
There are stats and insights aplenty from the report, but here are 12 highlights for those without the time to read all 56 pages of the whole document:
- Almost eight out of ten of Australians are now on social media. Penetration is up 10% to 79% (from 69% in 2016) of Australians, an incredible growth rate when many would possibly assess social as having hit maturity.
- The age splits are fascinating, with social almost universal amongst 18-29 year olds (99% penetration) compared to 40-49 year olds (86%) and 65+ (47%).
- A new question this year showed the growing importance of messaging platforms, with 88% of social media users also using messaging; Facebook Messenger was the dominant platform of choice with 81% of users; surprisingly WhatsApp penetrated only 18%.
- Mobiles are the most popular device (81% own v 76% last year), having eclipsed laptops (59% own v 70% last year) – accordingly, social networks are most often accessed via a mobile device (81%) versus a laptop (30%) and tablet (25%).
- 59% of social media users check social networks daily (up from 50% last year), with 35% (up from 26% last year) checking in more than 5 times per day.
- Facebook is by far the most popular social network with 94% of users accessing it; by comparison penetration for Instagram is 46% (up from 31% last year), Snapchat 40% (up from 22%), Twitter 32% (up from 19%) and LinkedIn 18% (down from 24%) .The growth in Twitter and the decline in Linkedin were notable.
- Snapchat users are the most frequent users of any platform (41.7 times/week versus 25 times/week for Facebook); next ranked are Twitter (39.6 times/week) and Instagram (37.7 times/week)
- The average number of friends/contacts on each of the platforms is Facebook (234), Twitter (260), Instagram (258), LinkedIn (199), Google Plus (59) and Snapchat (53) – an average total of 469 across all 6 platforms (increase vs 409 last year).
- 68% of mobile users access social networks via an app only compared to only 9% using a website only (23% use both).
- 35% of users are on social media while watching TV, with the 40-49 year old demographic the most likely to do this and 18-29 year olds the least likely.
- The primary reason (by some distance) people are on social media is to “catch up with family and friends” (89%) – something brands always need to remember! – with sharing photos/videos (57%) and watching videos (43%) the next most common reasons.
- 16% of users use social media to research a product prior to purchase – the most popular products researched were electrical goods, furniture and clothing/fashion.
A hugely comprehensive piece of research on the Australian social media landscape, and having prepared the research since 2012, a good indicator of trends over time. Well worth a read and a great reference doc.
Kurt Sanders enjoyed the recent episode with Mark Ritson. Thank you for the listen and share, Kurt!
By Adam Fraser
Google’s business model is built on advertising revenue. Lots of it. Almost $80bn in 2016. It dominates, along with Facebook, to the point it is accused regularly of being in a digital duopoly in the online advertising sector.
Stats vary, but $14bn of the $19bn spent on digital advertising in Q1 2017 in the USA went to Google and Facebook, and the two companies alone account for 80+% of the growth in the digital media sector.
So weaned as it is on advertising revenue, a headline reader may be somewhat confused as to why Google would introduce its own ad blocker into its very popular web browser Chrome.
In the ad blocking game, the cat and mouse, cops and robbers battle between publishers trying to show you ads on every inch of digital real estate, and the ad blockers trying to stop them, is an arms race in which it can sometimes be hard to decipher the good guys from the bad. One thing is for sure – consumers are “voting with their feet” and ad blocking is growing at an incredible rate.
Google’s motives could be argued to be pure – insert your own description of “enhancing the customer experience”, “removing annoying and intrusive ads” or “encouraging good quality ads which users want to see”. But there is a small elephant in the room – Google will let its own ads through. Some describe the “Coalition for better ads” which Google has joined (along with Facebook) as a “cartel orchestrated by Google”
Protecting the consumer from bad media experiences or holding other publishers and advertising brands to ransom? Meet the standards that we Google deem acceptable – if not, take your chances on our ad blocker filtering them out. In George Orwell ‘Animal Farm’ terms, all ads are equal, some are just more equal than others.
As the owner of both the most popular access point to the web (Chrome browser) and the largest recipient of digital ad dollars on the web, Google (along with Facebook) wields an enormous amount of power. The jury is out on this move, but a world in which two companies control pretty much everything we see on the web seems to be looming large.
You can listen to the podcast here.
By Adam Fraser
I am a big fan of the research produced by Edison Research and have previously written on their regular Infinite Dial report into media and podcasting trends.
Edison recently released a very interesting piece of research into social media usage on mobile in a new stand-alone report “Social Sharing in the Mobile World”.
The study of 1571 US smartphone owners aged 18-54 revealed some key insights into the mobile use of social media, including:
- 80% of American smartphone owners use social media apps every day
- The average smartphone owner uses 14 types of apps
- 70% of smartphone owners who use social media say they use Facebook every day
- More than six in ten Facebook users say they belong to local Facebook groups or other online local groups
- Nearly a quarter (23%) of Facebook users say they have broadcast a Facebook live video
Some other interesting insights include:
- Android users (59%) eclipsed Apple users (45%)
- 87% use text messaging daily
- 92% of respondents used Facebook on their smartphone, versus 57% Instagram, 43% Twitter and 40% Snapchat
- 80% of users share photos at least once per month, while 54% of users take at least one selfie per month
- The top messenger apps used were (in order of popularity) Facebook Messenger, Skype, WhatsApp and (surprisingly) Google Hangouts
An interesting set of data points, and a useful, credible source for research references. Worth checking out.
(Looking forward to having Tom Webster from Edison on a future EchoJunction podcast)
The team and I are big fans of EchoJunction. Keep up the great work! 👏🏽
— Lee Michael (@leescratchdisco) June 12, 2017
By Adam Fraser
It’s that time of the year again. LinkedIn and Twitter shares come at every angle as one of the tech industry’s most eagerly awaited powerpoint decks – the 2017 Internet trends report from Mary Meeker – is released.
At 355 slides (no typo – three hundred and fifty-five…) it is a deep dive into a number of uber internet trends. It’s not for the faint hearted looking for a quick sound bite and headline – think more encyclopedia than break through analysis – but it truly is a fantastic (free) resource for anyone performing analysis in the tech sector.
I would encourage everyone to take the time to review the detailed deck, but if you don’t have the time here are 10 key takeaways:
- Global internet users continue to grow (now 3.4bn), with the rate of growth flat on prior year at 10%; global internet users have more than doubled since 2009
- Growth in global smartphone shipments slowed significantly to 3%, from 28% growth in 2014 and 10% growth in 2015; this suggests smartphone penetration is approaching maturity (2.8bn users)
- The time spent with digital media per adult in the USA continued its steady consistent growth over recent years, up 4% to 5.6 hours/day (as comparison this was 4.3 hours/day in 2012 and 3.0 hours/day in 2009) with the majority of this time now spent on a mobile device
- Voice was identified as an increasingly important means of communicating with devices, with 20% of mobile searches on Google now made via Voice and Google’s machine learning voice accuracy now exceeding 95%; in addition, the Amazon Echo install base in the USA now exceeds 10m.
- Social customer service (“easier access to online support channels”) was identified by 60% of survey respondents to be an area brands could most improve their customer service offering
- Internet advertising in the USA grew to $73bn in 2016 from $60bn in 2015 and $50bn in 2014, driven by mobile and largely Facebook and Google (these two companies comprised 85% of internet advertising growth); mobile advertising now exceeds desktop advertising
- Print spend is overweight and mobile advertising spend underweight vs proportion of consumer time spent on media platforms; Print (4% time spent, 12% ad spend), Radio (9% time spent, 9% ad spend), TV (38% time spent, 38% ad spend), Internet (20% time spent, 20% ad spend), Mobile (28% time spent, 21% ad spend); based on current trends digital advertising spend will exceed TV ad spend in 2017
- Ad blocking is growing at an exponential rate, with almost 250m desktop ad blocking users, and approaching 400m mobile ad blocking users.
- Online retail sales in the USA hit almost $400bn, growing 15% on the prior year. Walmart – the world’s largest retailer – is aggressively growing its online channel and Amazon is now becoming a force in own brand products for basic categories such as batteries (market leading 31% share of market) and baby wipes (16% share of the market)
- The market cap of the top 20 tech companies globally is 3.8 trillion dollars; tech companies represent 40% of the world’s top 20 most valuable companies, and 100% of the top 5 (Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook)
Other sections of the report covered healthcare, gaming, the Cloud, China, and India in some detail.
There are many more fascinating insights in the report; well worth the time for a full review, and an excellent reference point for reliable and trustworthy data points that may be useful in a range of other content analytics use cases.
By Adam Fraser
Instagram is truly motoring. In stock markets they often say “the trend is your friend” and the momentum is absolutely with Instagram at the moment.
The platform recently announced it had exceeded 700m users. It has almost doubled its user base in only 2 years, and its rate of growth is actually increasing when looking at the time taken to add each incremental 100m users:
- October 6, 2010 – Launch
- February 26, 2013 – 100 million; 28 months
- March 25, 2014 – 200 million; 13 months
- December 10, 2014 – 300 million; 9 months
- September 22, 2015 – 400 million; 9 months
- June 21, 2016 – 500 million; 9 months
- December 15, 2016 – 600 million; 6 months
- April 26, 2017 – 700 million; 4 months
Its importance as a social network continues to grow as it evolves, regularly adds new features and further encroaches on Snapchat’s territory, whilst maintaining its original value proposition as an easy to use and creative, thoughtful, visual environment. Users of Instagram stories alone have surpassed 200m thus exceeding the total user base of Snapchat, whilst its direct messaging platform Instagram Direct has over 375m monthly users.
The growing interest and focus on influencer marketing is closely tied to the world of Instagram. Commercially the benefits are flowing through to Facebook, with Instagram having more than 1m active advertisers.
As a marketer, this is a platform not to be ignored. Always mobile first at its core, it seems to have balanced the focus on its core value proposition, whilst innovating enough to remain fresh and interesting. In the hurly-burly of the fast moving digital world, it has somehow remained a calmer, and higher quality, content environment in stark contrast to the ‘buy now’, neon flashing lights characterised by so many other digital properties,
Whether thinking about social listening, social customer service, building brand equity or executing paid campaigns, Instagram deserves active consideration.