2010 Australian Social Media Compendium

Social Media Strategy

Social media exploded in Australia in 2009, and steep upward growth trends have continued ever since. In 2009, I compiled my first social media statistics compendium to assist marketers and agencies convince key stakeholders that social media is not a fad and needs to be considered as part of the wider online strategy.

Over the past year a lot has changed in the social space, and thus I have again compiled an updated social media statistics file for some of the major networks and social media sites in Australia, as well as provided some insight on what we should expect from some of the major platforms in 2010.

Overall Australian Statistics & Usage Trends

Australia’s Social Media Audience; A recent Nielsen study found Australia’s social media audience is estimated at 9.9 million.

Social Media vs Search; According to Hitwise social media and search traffic is now neck and neck. In the week ending the 16th of January, social media was just .4% behind search as an online category in Australia.

Brand Interaction; According to Nielsen nearly 40% of online Australians are now interacting with companies via social networking sites, reinforcing notions that Australians are open to engaging with brands and companies online.

Mobile Social Media Nielsen’s social media 2010 report found that 26% of social networkers participated in mobile social networking in the past year. Younger consumers are the most likely to participate in social networking via mobile as 66% of mobile social networkers are under 35 years of age.

What Australian’s Are Doing In The Social Media Space

Photo SharingPhoto Sharing; 78% of Australian internet users sent or shared a photo in the past year and 74% sent or shared a link.

Wiki Use; Close to three quarters of Australian internet users (73%) read a wiki in the past year compared to 61 percent in 2008 and just 37 percent in 2007.

Online Video Consumers; 41% of Australian internet users have streamed or downloaded videos and 21% are doing so on a regular basis.

Online Reviews & Opinions; 86% of Australian’s online are looking to fellow internet users for opinions and information about products, services and brands.

Individual Network Statistics

LinkedIn
Audience
LinkedIn’s unique audience was approximately 970,000 in January, giving it an audience reach of 6.55%.

Time Spent Onsite
LinkedIn’s members spend about eight minutes onsite each month.

2010 Verdict
In 2009 LinkedIn had approximately 670,000 members and thus this network audience has grown by approximately 45% in Australia. I anticipate this audience to continue to grow as more and more professionals begin to network online to;
– Prospect for business
– Improve their career prospects and
– Seek professional advice and share knowledge.

Facebook

Facebook LiveAudience
75% of Australian Internet users (75%) have visited Facebook, whilst 59% have a Facebook profile.
In January 2010, Facebook achieved 8.6 million unique visitors

Time Spent Onsite
The average time spent on Facebook in a given month is 8:19 hours – seven and a half hours more than its closest rival site, YouTube.

Other Important Statistics 20% of Australians aged 55 or older had reported using Facebook. This trend is being driven by grandparents wishing to keep in touch with their grand children.

2010 Outlook
Over the past year Facebook has experienced phenomenal growth in Australia. In May 2009 Facebook had approximately 5 million users in Australia and a reach of 38% of online Australians. Growth and duration is difficult to forecast for the year ahead as it is difficult to determine how far we are away from reaching the social network ceiling in Australia. Over the coming year I anticipate monthly time on site may continue to increase as more and more people access Facebook via their smartphones (statistics show 36% of mobile users access Facebook daily via their phone). However one factor which may stunt monthly time on site growth is what I term “social fatigue”. I feel social fatigue is starting to emerge with longer term Facebook users. A good portion of the Australian Facebook audience who have had profiles for 3 – 4 years seem to be logging on very sporadically and keeping these users engaged is going to be one of the main factors which will impact further growth in both users and monthly site duration.

Twitter
Twitter StrategyAudience
In September 2009, Twitter users in Australia peaked at 1.6 million unique users and in January 2010 this dropped back to 1.2 million users

Time Spent Onsite;
Twitter users spent an average of 19 minutes each month using the micro blogging site

Growth
Twitter’s audience levels grew by more than 400% in 2009

Other Important Information
23% of Australians online read ‘tweets’ in the past year whilst 14% ‘followed’ companies or organisations via Twitter (up from 5% in 2008)

2010 Outlook
Many experts believe Twitter has hit its peak and will plateau. It seems this could very much be the case in Australia with it stagnating user base in the past 4 – 5 months. Integration of Twitter results into SERPs may breathe some life / traffic into it, as may new innovation however new location based services such as Foursquare and Gowalla may drive users to these new social environments and result in abandonment of the micro-blogging site – particularly for those who access it for personal use.

MySpace
Audience
2.1 million unique users in Australia in January 2010

Time Onsite
In October 2009, MySpace users spent a total of 39 minutes online

2010 Outlook
Over the past year MySpace user base has flattened in the Australian market and across the world. In March 2010 MySpace has announced that it plans to invest in a major redevelopment of its platform to rekindle user interest. With 120 million users worldwide – MySpace aims to grow its user base to 200 – 300 million users. Despite this after losing ground on Facebook globally MySpace has cut out a new niche for itself in the music space and it is this that will probably ensure it maintains a strong following however is not likely to gain marketshare over Facebook in Australia any time soon.

Here’s a video discussing why Australia leads in social media usage:

References

http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/when-connection-becomes-an-obsession-20100301-pdn5.html
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/expat/expatnews/7359341/Australia-is-social-networking-capital-of-the-world.html
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/australian-it/linkedin-pushes-local-growth-social-networking/story-e6frgakx-1225835816746
http://www.nielsen-online.com/pr/i&t_video-feb10.pdf
http://www.nielsen-online.com/pr/social_media_report-mar10.pdf

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Agencies Offering Social Media – Who Do I Turn To?

We all know that social media is increasingly becoming an important part of the marketing mix and harnessing the power of this channel to show a return is on top of many marketing managers agenda.

As a digital marketer however I have begun to ask myself, if I am to build myself a successful strategy which type of agency do I turn to? With search agencies, digital agencies, PR agencies and even media agencies all vying for a piece of the action just who should marketers choose to help formulate and execute a strategy?

We know that social media cuts across an organisation so does this mean you need all types of agencies to bring together a successful strategy? This article explores the value and shortfalls of choosing one type of agency over another.

The search agency

Social Media StrategySearch experts threw their hat into the ring early in the piece as it is a great way to build inbound links through viral distribution of content. What concerns me however about putting your social strategy in the hands of a search agency is that social media is more than building links to your site. As engagement, interaction and dialogue is essential, you need to ask yourself, is my search agency able to effectively engage and interact with the audience. Past behaviour of many SEOs have shown a disregard for the user experience in favour of rankings and this is where the core problem lies. In addition as content is becoming a core part of any digital strategy are SEOs the best people to be producing this? Of course SEO is a crucial consideration BUT I have never allowed my internal SEO team to solely manage social media because of their narrow focus on rankings.

PR agency

The PR industry has been slower out of the blocks but now many will claim that social media naturally fits within the PR remit. Are they equipped? Traditional PR has always been in a more controlled environment which web 2.0 is clearly not. Many practitioners are of course adapting their approach to suit the new flow of communication however is it enough? PR professionals have the skills to bring that great newsworthy story to the table, but what is newsworthy for the media is not necessarily what is popular amongst the masses. The other key ingredient PR agencies bring is the ability to effectively manage PR disasters which we know have been common in Australia with Toyota being one of the more recent examples. But is this enough? I believe there are some inherent problems with the ownership of social media by PR agencies, and this became apparent with the iSpy Levi campaign. A particular agency didn’t understand digital, and measurement enough to effectively execute the campaign effectively and demonstrate ROI for the investment. For years PR has struggled with demonstrating the link between actions and sales and under the bright digital lights there is nowhere to hide.

Digital Agencies

And then there is the digital/traditional marketing agency. Agencies know that their repertoire of offerings need to include social media thus it is an add on service but the question remains what success have they had in the space. In general Australia has seen many traditional agencies move into the digital space and offer social media campaigns in an effort to use the client campaign as a testing ground, and some have failed dismally. What these agencies lack is crisis management skills which are usually bought to the table by PR professionals.

So what does this mean for your planning and execution of a social campaign? Well that depends on your objectives and the expertise your current agency brings to the table. Maybe it is a matter of using a social media consultant or maybe a combination of experts across different agencies. I believe the next 12 months will enable us to see just which style / mix of agencies is having most success in the space and it will demonstrate just where we as client side marketers should turn to for expertise.

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