There are so many social media statistics out there that most marketers probably ignore them for fear of being blinded by numbers.
However, some stats are genuinely useful – and can even influence your entire strategy.
Here we present, in no particular order, 11 social media statistics that you may want to take with you into that 2018 planning meeting…
1. WeChat rising
If Facebook could glance its future in a crystal ball, it might look something like WeChat. The Chinese messaging behemoth has made itself indispensable to its users, and according to Gartner is used by a frankly staggering 95 per cent of Chinese people aged 16+.
Behind its startling success is its capacity to be all things to all people. You can use it to check your bank account, order a cab, buy food or even chat with colleagues in the workplace. That’s four separate apps it has replaced right there, and we’ve barely scratched the surface of what it can do.
Most significantly for the bottom line is that having such a multi-layered offering gives WeChat more potential revenue streams.
Facebook is attempting to copy that lucrative business model, and pushing Messenger more aggressively onto its users and buying Whatsapp were the first steps in that process. Whether people are ready to accept Facebook as a WeChat-style ‘super app’ is questionable, but it’ll be interesting to see if we get any closer to that inevitable end game in 2018.
2. Facebook’s ad inventory
Facebook has more pressing issues to contend with right now, such as a diminishing ad inventory. Quite simply, it’s running out of space to display ads. The company confirmed early in 2017 that it had maxed out ads in new feeds, instead choosing to prioritise longer videos in timelines to improve the experience.
Facebook went on to introduce mid-roll ads into those videos – giving it a whole new source of revenue. It also started selling Messenger ads, while also opening up its Marketplace platform to advertisers.
The company’s Q3 ad revenue slowed year-on-year from 59 per cent in 2016 to 47 per cent this year, which may have been part of a controlled strategy but will still inevitably lead to attempts to accelerate growth in 2018. Marketers should keep a close eye on further updates coming out of Menlo Park.
READ MORE: Facebook videos to feature ‘mid-roll’ ads
3. YouTube’s adpocalypse
In March this year, YouTube became mired in controversy when it was revealed that a number of advertisements were appearing on videos that promoted extremist, hateful and inappropriate content. A number of advertisers withdrew their business, and YouTube was left scrambling to reclassify videos in an attempt to appease them.
They got a little carried away in tightening up their policies, however, and many content creators ended up losing ad revenue as a result.
YouTube has since pushed out an update to correct their heavy-handed approach. They expect 30 per cent fewer videos will have to make do with limited ads on their way to becoming fully monetised, which should lead to “millions” more videos raking in full income going into 2018.
READ MORE: 5 of the most imaginative YouTube campaigns
4. B2B social measurement
B2B marketers were at the centre of a disturbing revelation this year, with almost two thirds (58 per cent) of those who responded to a survey rating their ability to measure social media activity as between ‘average’ and ‘very poor’.
According to the Immediate Future survey, only seven per cent of respondents rated their ability to measure their social media activity as ‘very strong’, with just over a third describing it as ‘strong’. Happily, 67 per cent were confident that their ability to measure social will improve in the next two years.
5. GDPR is coming
Unless you’ve been living in a cave with no WiFi, you’ll know that the EU’s new data protection laws – known as GDPR – are set to land in May 2018. The GDPR regulations will impact any brand that does business in the EU, and entails proper planning for how personal data is to be safely and securely managed as it passes through an organisation.
Worryingly, research has shown that 15 per cent of companies still have no plan in place to be ready for the new GDPR laws by May 2018. While 77 per cent of marketers now rate their awareness as ‘good’, and 74 per cent describe themselves as feeling ‘somewhat’ or ‘extremely prepared’ for the changes, 65 per cent of those surveyed agree that GDPR will be a hindrance to their marketing.
6. Instagram Stories steals the show
Poor old Snapchat. No longer seen as the cool new kid on the block, Instagram rubbed it in by stealing its lunch money. Instagram Stories can kindly be described as a ‘tribute’ to Snapchat’s own incarnation (even Instagram itself admits it’s a “duplication”), with the major difference between the two being the rate of growth enjoyed by the former.
Instagram Stories raced to 100 million daily active users within two months of launch, and as of November this year that figure had soared to 300 million. That’s almost 150 million more than Snapchat’s entire daily userbase.
What’s more, brands seem to prefer Instagram’s version. Research involving 89 companies found that marketers posted 1,347 Instagram Stories compared to 614 Snapchat Stories in July this year. During one week in particular, 41 per cent of marketers used Instagram Stories compared to 9 per cent who posted to Snapchat.
7. Influencer payments
Looking to up your influencer game in 2018? Then you’d better put aside a big chunk of change to pay for it.
Research by Rakuten Marketing revealed that UK marketers are willing to pay influencers more than £75,000 for a single Facebook post mentioning their brand. This figure varies depending on the sector, with some premium fashion marketers willing to pay an eye-watering £160,000 per post.
Despite these exorbitant numbers, 86 per cent of those surveyed admit they aren’t sure how those fees are calculated. Are marketers making influencer marketing up as they go?
8. Live stream engagement on the rise
Live streaming has been a slow burner, but it looks like it’s finally taking off. Almost a third of internet users (28 per cent to be precise) had watched a live stream according to GlobalWebIndex data released in August. That was a hefty increase of 20 per cent on Q3 2016.
Just as importantly for brands, the amount of users engaging with live streams on social media had increased by nearly 10 per cent over the same period. If things continue at the same rate then 2018 is going to be a big year for live streaming, and your brand needs to make it a major part of its social media strategy.
9. Admin woes
Do you get frustrated switching between social platforms to manage your campaigns? It seems you aren’t alone. Research by 4C suggests that social media professionals are wasting the equivalent of two days per week performing admin, instead of focusing on creative and strategic tasks.
In a survey of over 200 professionals, 36 per cent of respondents admitted that switching between platforms to manage campaigns is the biggest annoyance of their job. Some reportedly spend 17 hours per week doing this. As many as 63 per cent said they believe the amount of time spent working on social campaigns will only increase over the next few years.
10. Snapchat and Instagram ad spend
It won’t be a surprise to most marketers that social media ad spend continues to rise. Data from 4C Insights revealed that spend was up significantly for both Snapchat and Instagram in Q3 2017, rising 73 per cent and 55 per cent respectively.
Facebook (27 per cent) and Twitter (26 per cent) also enjoyed increases, with travel sector spend on Twitter generating 220 per cent year-on-year growth.
But it was Instagram Stories that posted the biggest increase, enjoying a 220 per cent upturn in year-on-year ad spend.
11. Twitter character count
Twitter’s new 280-character limit was one of the biggest social media news stories of 2017. That said, only a select few were able to use it initially. Twitter declared themselves happy with that limited test and the extended limit has been rolled out globally.
But how does the Twittersphere feel about the controversial update? Well, research by Morning Consult found that people are largely positive. In the survey of 2,201 US adults, just 13 per cent opposed the move, with 30 per cent supportive (the rest had no opinion).
What’s more, 17 per cent said the increased character limit made them more likely to tweet, while 20 per cent agreed that they would be more likely to check Twitter as a result of the change.
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