Social media usage soars as Australian consumers turn to social for brand research
Social media use is increasing in Australia despite an overall decline in daily internet use, according to We Are Social and Meltwater’s Digital 2023 Australia report.
While users between the ages of 16 and 64 spent an average of five hours and 51 minutes on the internet each day, down 5.9% from last year, social media use saw an almost identical rise of 6% to 2 hours and seen four minutes.
The continued growth in social media use reflects its changing use cases, with 61.5% of users aged 16 to 64 now seeing social media as a key source of information, up 5.9% from last year. The use of social media for pre-purchase research increased by 7.3%, with almost one third of internet users conducting brand and product research on their social media feeds and one quarter (by 24.8%) discovering new products and services through social discovered ads.
Despite the shifts, social media continued to fall behind more traditional players as a brand research tool, with search engines leading (55.6%), followed by brand websites (35.8%) and consumer reviews (33.4%).
Digital ad spend accounted for 75.8% of total ad spend in Australia last year, contributing USD 11.80 billion (A$17.04 billion), an increase of 10.4% from the previous year. Of this, social media accounted for 31.5% with USD 3.71 billion (A$5.36), an increase of 11.6%. The highest increases in ad spend were seen in digital video advertising, up 15% to USD 3.08 billion (A$4.45), influencer marketing, up 19.4% to USD 379.4 million +19.4%) and digital audio advertising (USD 106.5 million +19.9) %).
Of the social platforms, Facebook and Facebook Messenger remain the leaders, but are now followed by Instagram and TikTok, with the latter seeing a significant increase of 26.5% in usage. Australian TikTok users now spend an average of 29 hours and 36 minutes a month on the platform, taking out the highest monthly usage time in the world.
On Facebook, users spend 17 hours and 48 minutes, while YouTube users spend an average of 17 and 6 minutes per month.
In another indication of its growth trajectory, TikTok was the second most downloaded mobile app in Australia in 2022, behind the Australian Taxation Office’s myGovID, then BeReal. TikTok also ranked fourth among mobile apps driving the highest in-app consumer spending, behind Disney+, Tinder and YouTube.
Suzie Shaw, chief executive of We Are Social Australia, said: “There has been a shift in internet usage patterns over the past year: Australians are spending more time than ever on social media, despite the decline in time spent on the internet overall be spent. Social media is one of the best sources of brand discovery for consumers, making it a crucial channel for marketers to reach their target audience. As social media provides a more engaging and immersive experience, users are increasingly turning to social to make decisions about what to watch, where to travel and what to buy, with TikTok playing a particularly important role in influencing of consumer choices. Its unique algorithm and content captivates Australians for an hour a day, providing a great opportunity for marketers to reach a highly engaged audience. It is now more critical than ever for brands to have a strong social media presence, and to understand how to navigate the ever-evolving culture of the internet and influencers, to connect with people in a meaningful way. link.”
The Digital 2023 Australia report also showed that consumers regularly make purchases through the internet, with 19.46 million Australians spending a total of USD 39.57 billion (A$57.13 billion).
Fashion, food and drink grow, with fashion up 2.1% accounting for USD 9.8 billion (A$14.15 billion), food up 4.4%% to USD 3.81 billion (A$5 .5 billion), and beverages which rose 6.2% to USD 2.76 billion (A$8.95 billion). The online travel and tourism industry is not surprisingly experiencing growth, with a 123% increase in annual spending for flights to USD 7.34 billion, ($A10.6 billion), hotels up 32.4% to USD 4, 28 billion ($ A6.18 billion) ), Package holidays rose 21.8% to USD 2.02 billion ($2.92 billion) , Vacation rentals rose 63.6% to USD 924.8 million, (A$1 .34 billion), and cruises by 35.1% to USD 190.6 million, ($A275.29) ).
Ross Candido, VP ANZ and South East Asia at Meltwater, said: “Social media should be an important strategic focus for marketers as consumers spend more and more time on social platforms to discover and research new brands and products. As social intelligence can help brands capture important insights about consumer content preferences, it will play an important role for brands to optimize their campaigns and engagement with audiences. Tapping into this rich data set will be essential to capturing the attention, trust and loyalty of consumers.”