The eighth annual Digital 2019 Report, produced jointly by social media management platform Hootsuite and creative agency We Are Social, found that social media usage has increased markedly over the past year.
According to the report, 18 million Australians or around 72 per cent of the population as a whole are now actively using social media — a sizeable jump from the 66 per cent recorded just a year earlier.
The report found that Facebook remains the most popular social platform, with 16 million active users each month, despite controversies around privacy, at least one major data breach and a massive shake-up that effectively eliminated business and publisher posts from news feeds.
Meanwhile, Snapchat and Twitter saw usage declines of 14 per cent and 2.3 per cent, respectively, over the year, the report said.
And we are spending just over 90 minutes each day on social platforms. Yet Hootsuite’s CMO, Penny Wilson, said that this actually falls well short of the amount of time people are spending on social media globally.
“Although social media came under increased scrutiny and saw diminished trust among users in 2018, people around the world are spending more time on social — the global daily average is now two hours and 16 minutes, or one-seventh of their waking lives,” she said.
“But to capture the attention of customers, brands need to rethink how they engage on social. Businesses must be respectful of their customers’ privacy, while still creating personal 1:1 connections via content that’s important, interesting and timely to the audience while being genuine and authentic to their brands.”
Other insights include smartphones now rank as the dominant option for accessing social platforms compared to desktop computers, although both have a high rate of usage (87 per cent and 84 per cent, respectively).
Social media is also increasingly being used to make online purchases, with the report finding a 22 per cent surge in the value of goods bought online, hitting $25.89 billion.
A separate report last year found that some two-thirds of Millennials are now actively making purchases through Instagram.
Another finding was that the most commonly searched word on Google last year was “Australia”, potentially showing strong demand for local services and products (this compared with the UK’s most searched term, “BBC”, and the US where “you” was the most Googled word).
The second most commonly searched word in Australia was “weather”, followed by “Facebook”.