Social media survey gives pointers for RSOs

12.00 | 20 August 2014 | | 1 comment

A survey which monitors UK social media use suggests that Facebook continues to dominate while its major competitors are ‘standing still’ – but identifies newer platforms which are posing a ‘credible threat’ to Facebook’s dominance.

The survey, SocialLife, produced by Harris Interactive, comprises a regular tracker of UK social media use and attitudes. It investigates how online consumers are using social media, including a detailed review of which sites they are signed up to and how often they use them.

The survey provides clear pointers likely to prove useful to road safety professionals who use social media to help deliver road safety messages, or those who are contemplating doing so.

The latest survey, SocialLife4, covers 22 social media sites and looks at which sites are “gaining traction”, those that are losing ground and which market segments are driving these changes.

SocialLife4 is based on interviews with 5,500 online UK social media users aged 11-95yrs, carried out in May 2014. Data is weighted by age, sex and region to ensure national representation of the UK online population.

With 80% active users and 62% daily use (up 2% since Sept 2013), Facebook continues to dominate the UK social media scene. Active users spend approximately two hours per day on Facebook compared with around one hour on competitor platforms like Twitter. Facebook is the most important site for 61% of all social media users.

Facebook’s established competitors – YouTube, Twitter and Google+ – have “pretty much stood still” in the last eight months while newer platforms, particularly Snapchat and Instagram, are beginning to emerge as “credible threats” to Facebook’s dominance.

Snapchat has grown its active user base by 150% (4% to 10%), while Instagram’s active user base now stands at 12%, on a par with LinkedIn.

Social media users regularly use 2.6 platforms, on average. This has increased from 2.4 in Sept 2013, largely driven by 16-24 year olds’ increased use of a range of platforms.

The report says there are indications that some 16-24 year olds are tiring of the more established and mainstream sites, “but this is words rather than actions so far”.

Consumers are increasingly using mobile to access their favourite platforms, including Facebook which is accessed by mobile by 89% of its user base.

While users participate in a range of different activities on social media, it is still predominantly used for keeping in touch and to share content and opinions.

Social media is also now a very commercial environment; SocialLife4 estimates that £2.4bn is generated annually by products and services that are recommended on social media platforms, and social media ads generate approximately £1.9bn.

Other findings include:
• While social media users actively use 2.6 platforms on average, this increases to 4.2 platforms among those aged 16-24yrs
• 43% of social media users have heard of Snapchat (28% for Vine)
• Snapchat’s user base has doubled from 6-12% in the last eight months
• 25% of 11-15 year olds are active on Instagram
• 47% of 16-24 year olds are active Twitter users
• 18% of 35-44 year olds use LinkedIn actively
• 42% of men are “getting a bit bored” with social media
• 42% of 16-24 year olds don’t watch TV without checking social media
• 14% have bought something they came across on a social media site


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    Personally speaking the power of social media can be likened to a fast car. But sadly the LA I work for still only sees the need for me to ride a bicycle. By the time I catch up and regain my breath the 11-15 year olds will only be contactable on Linkendin or perhaps Facebook 202. Sad but true.

    Gareth, Surrey
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