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Latest Issue: Nov/Dec 2018

It’s all about personal connections

Research released today reveals that social media platforms are still accessed multiple times a day, despite recent data privacy scandals.

Refer-a-friend marketing platform Mention Me, conducted the research in order to better understand the role social media and more traditional media channels play in our lives. With trust in both social and traditional media at an all time low, where do consumers turn for reliable recommendations, news or insight?

Social media platforms are still accessed frequently according to the research, with stats revealing the high percentage of users who access the following sites at least once a day: Facebook 70 per cent, WhatsApp 49 per cent, YouTube 55 per cent, Twitter 36 per cent, Instagram 32 per cent Snapchat 22 per cent and relative newcomer Vero trailing at only 9 per cent.

Of these respondents a high number are heavy users who access the apps over six times a day: Facebook 32 per cent, WhatsApp 24 per cent, Snapchat 15 per cent, YouTube 14 per cent, Twitter 14 per cent, Snapchat 10 per cent, Vero 5 per cent.

The research highlighted that whilst there is a trend for social media giants to add ecommerce capabilities, the truth is that their original purpose of enabling communications between friends remains their most compelling. Of respondents who use the channels 50 per cent of Facebook, 42 per cent of Snapchat and 31 per cent of Instagram users cited catching up with friends as their main purpose for using the channel.

Email however seems to be going through a change. It is still a heavily used channel with 91 per cent of respondents using it at least once a day, and of these 47 per cent more than six times a day. However its use seems to be diverging by demographic. Only 10 per cent of the under 34s use email primarily for catching up with friends (vs.24 per cent using Snapchat and 51 per cent using Facebook for the same purpose), compared with 55 per cent of the 34-54s.

And what about the death of TV news? According to the research television news is still very popular, with 65 per cent of respondents watching it at least once a day, and 10 per cent over six times a day. These results supporting Edelman’s recent Trust Barometer Report, in reference to their statement that ‘more established news media have enjoyed a very significant increase in public support’. Surprisingly, interest in TV news reduces with age with 46 per cent of respondents aged 18-34 watching at least once a day, 36per cent of those aged 35-44, 30 per cent aged 45-54 and 30 per cent of those aged 55 and over.

Despite recent ‘fake news’ concerns, the research also reveals that Twitter has become a prominent source of news with one in eight of all user respondents (13 per cent) stating that this is their main purpose for using the platform.

Other key findings that highlight the main purpose for these channels:

  • 48 per cent of the 18-25 year olds never watch the news, in contrast 15 per cent of this age group use Twitter as their main source of news
  • Facebook: Despite conflicting reports that it has fallen out of favour, the research reveals it is still the most popular social media platform. Usage peaks with the younger age group, with high numbers using it at least once every day: 80 per cent aged 18-24, 80 per cent aged 25-44, 70 per cent aged 45-54 and 58 per cent aged 55+
  • Snapchat: Strongly favoured by the younger age group with 66 per cent of respondents aged 18-24 using it at least once a day compared to 32 per cent aged 25-44 and 10 per cent of age 44+
  • Instagram: Also preferred by the younger age group with 69 per cent of respondents aged 18-24 using it at least once a day, 48 per cent of those aged 25-44 and 18 per cent of those aged 45+
  • Linkedin: Popularity drops off with age with 27 per cent of users aged 34 and under using it at least once a day, compared with 21 per cent aged 35-54, and only 9 per cent of those users aged over 55

“Sharing with friends via digital channels is really important for us as a referral platform and this research reflects what we are seeing day to day. Social media has an important role to play, but the power of channels such as email can’t be ignored either. The demographic nuances of this data highlights the importance for brands of choosing the right social channels for their refer-a-friend programmes and other marketing campaigns”, comments Courtney Wylie, VP of product and marketing at Mention Me.