It’s no surprise that the 2017 Sensis Social Media Report has found that our growing obsession with smartphones has driven more people onto social platforms than ever before. 79% of all people are using social media and amongst people 18-29 that stat jumps to a staggering 99%. The biggest increase in usage compared to last year is amongst those 30-39 (up 14 points to 96% usage) and those aged 40-49 (up 16 points to 86% usage).

What makes social media so addictive? One main reason could be the burst of dopamine we all feel when one of our posts gets lots of likes and comments. The report found that 63% of 18-29 year olds were excited when their post received more likes on social media than they expected and 37% felt anxiety when they were away from their phones and weren’t able to monitor their social media accounts.

With smartphones comes access, anywhere, all of the time. The Sensis report pulled some pretty embarrassing stats, like that 33% of 30-39 year olds admitted to checking social media while eating with their family and friends and that 14% of people use social media while on the toilet (no real surprise there).

social media usage Australia

Our love for visual content grows stronger

Everyone loves to feel inspired, and that’s what visual content is able to do really well. The report found that platforms that appeal to our love of visual content were preferred this year. Although Facebook remains to be the dominant platform with 94% of social media users on the platform, visual heavy platforms such as Instagram (from 31% to 46%) and Snapchat (22% to 40%) have seen the biggest increase in usage amongst Aussies.

Interestingly, despite commentary around the decline of Twitter, the report says the platform has also seen an uplift in users this year from 19% to 32%. As more people are accessing social media from their smartphones, it’s important for all content to be designed not only for the platform, but with the device in mind as well.

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat Usage Australia

First impressions count

People are more likely to inspect a brand’s social media presence before making an online purchase if they have not purchased from their website before. Therefore, it is critical that your social media pages give users the information they require immediately, as you only have their attention for a very limited amount of time. Customer service must also be exceptional and there is an expectation that brands respond to customers immediately.

Quality over quantity

Eighty-nine percent of people use social media to connect to friends, whereas the report found that only 18% of people use social media to connect to a brand. This presents a challenge for brands vying for consumers’ attention in the Newsfeed. However, as we know, with every challenge comes an opportunity and brands must be smart and innovative in their content approach to cut through the noise.

The factors that are most likely to deter people from following a company or brand include irrelevant or unappealing content, excessive content and too many ads, so always stick to the rule of quality over quantity. The good news is people are becoming more trusting of ads and 52% of people who researched a product said they went on to purchase. This means there is a huge opportunity to turn social media audiences into paying customers, you just need the right approach and great content.

Other key takeaways from the report include:

  • 57% of people use social first thing in the morning vs. 71% of people use social media in the evening
  • 35% of people use social networking sites more than 5 times a day
  • The most common items researched are clothing and fashion
  • The content most shared is food and selfies
  • 9% of people engage with brands (rather than emailing or phoning) for customer service issues
  • 25% of people have used Facebook Live to watch video content
  • A significant number of people are using the new Story functions – Facebook 44%, Snapchat 37% and Instagram 36%

See the full report.