Global Social Media Trends

We explored the Global Web Index (GWI) Social Media research report for the 3rd quarter of 2017. Here are some of the key insights gained from global research into the world of social media and what key social trends we can expect in 2018.

How they do it

GWI interviews over 350 000 internet users between the ages of 16-64. Respondents complete an online questionnaire that asks them a wide range of questions about their lives, lifestyles and digital behaviours. From the beginning of 2017, GWI offered the survey on mobile for those internet users who prefer using a mobile or are mobile-only.

Internet Penetration

South Africa has an internet penetration of 54.0%. The highest levels of internet penetration exist in Japan (92.0%), followed by Canada (89.8%) and then Germany (89.6%). The report mentions that “where a market has a high internet penetration rate, its online population will be relatively similar to its total population and hence we will see good representation across all age, gender and education breaks. This is typically the case across North America, Western Europe and parts of Asia Pacific such as Japan.”

On the flip side as is the case in South Africa and other countries like India, Egypt and Ghana the market has a medium to low internet penetration. This means its online population can be very different to its total population. “Broadly speaking, the lower the country’s overall internet penetration rate, the more likely it is that its internet users will be young, urban, affluent and educated. This is the case throughout much of Latin America, MEA and Asia Pacific.”

Internet Users are Social Networkers

A staggering 98% of digital consumers are social media users. Figures are surprisingly high even in the 55-64 age bracket (94%). These users are spending an average of 2 hours and 15 minutes per day on social networks and messaging. This figure continues to increase across the markets they track.

Mobile Devices are Number 1

More people are accessing social platforms via mobile devices equating to a 13% lead over computers. With the advent of smartphones users can engage socially while being ‘on the go’. Many users dip into multiple platforms across one day.

social media trends for 2018

Number of social networks

Digital consumers have an average of 8 social media accounts, using each one for different networking behaviours. GWI maintains that we may reach peak multi-networking. This year was the first time they observed no appreciable growth in the average number of social media accounts per internet user. This is still astounding as an average.

What information are social media users accessing?

It appears that news and entertainment are the main reasons behind social media usage. Keeping up with friends could also be viewed as ‘entertainment.’ Interestingly, filling up spare time is an important reason too, especially among 16-24s.

Social media and purchasing

Social is playing an important role in purchase journeys. Over 50% of digital consumers follow brands and social networks and use them as their top research channel. This is most predominant in the 16-24s. However, there’s still a disconnect between research and purchase: even among 16-24s just 13% say a ‘buy’ button would encourage them to buy.

Video watching on social media is mainstream

Video watching is commonplace now. Virtually all social networkers have watched a video clip online in the last month. Most of this is happening on social. 56% of Facebookers have watched one on their network, as have about 4 in 10 Snapchatters and Instagrammers.

Facebook remains king of social media

Facebook dominates the social landscape. 90% of social networkers are a member of at least one of its four main services. Facebook itself still has the most members. YouTube takes top position for visitation/ usage, while Instagram is now ahead of Twitter among 16-44s. 97% of users in Africa and the Middle East use Facebook services.

Top messaging services

Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are the top messaging services. Both are being used by over 50% of internet users. Snapchat usage is modest for all internet users but posts much higher figures among Gen Z (36%) – especially among those in North America where it’s the top messaging service.

With the constant evolution of social media and the penetration showing signs of growth in developing countries as internet access improves, its platforms remain a pivotal part of our private and business landscape alike. Let Creative Imagineering partner your business on amplifying your brand and building an engaged and loyal brand community. This is what we do best.

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