Each minute, a huge amount of social media activity occurs. Every minute, there are 452,000 new tweets, 156 million emails are opened, 15,000 gifs are sent over Messenger, 1.8 million Snapchats are sent, 751,522 dollars are spent online, 46,200 Instagram posts are added, and 4.1 million YouTube videos are watched, and more (Byothe).
Social media has become an essential point of contact for reaching consumers. For brands to optimally interact with their consumers, it’s imperative to define parameters for monitoring consumer behavior across social media platforms. Specified monitoring strategies enable brands to capture relevant and meaningful customer insights for developing well-targeted promotional messages. An insight-driven marketing strategy requires informed collection, segmentation, and analysis of consumer insights. Such strategy leads to improved knowledge of consumer needs, opinions regarding market trends or products, their emotional reaction to a brand, and of the social platforms where targeted consumers are most active.
To delve deeper into this topic, we looked into a study released by UM, a division of IPG Mediabrands entitled “Wave 9: The Meaning of Moments,” the ninth edition of their annual global study on the habits of social media users. The data collection aspect of this study took place on quite a large scale: 52,000 individuals from 78 different studies were surveyed for the study, and over 60 billion online interactions were analyzed to map different moments in the lives of consumers. On the topic, Cédric Tytgat, strategic director of UM said the following: “the pervasive nature of social media and smartphones in the lifestyles of consumers offer countless opportunities for advertisers to create strong commitment among their consumers.”
Trends in Social Media Usage
Social media users are increasingly reporting preference of smartphone use over computers. In the eighth edition of UM’s study, 55% reporting a preference for smartphone use, while the ninth edition saw a 3% increase to 58%.
The primary uses of smartphones are diverse. In Wave 9, 70% of the sample reported using their smartphone primarily for instant messaging, roughly 55% for watching videos, and 50% for managing social media profiles.
When measuring top activities across all devices, the percentage of individuals reporting instant messaging as their primary use for these devices increase from 69% to 85% from Wave 8 to Wave 9.
These annual reports have seen consistent increases in the number of surveyed individuals reporting that they have a social media profile. The following graphic demonstrates a 25% increase from Wave 3 to Wave 9 (60% to 85%).
The use of social media to express one’s personality has become increasingly popular, up 30% from Wave 8 to Wave 9. Meanwhile, the number of individuals reporting that they social media primarily for entertainment decreased by 40%. Sharing photos on social media has become incredibly popular, with 70% of the surveyed sample reporting that they have used social media to post personal photos. What’s more is that more than half of the sample (52%) reported that they’ve shared photos over an impermanent photo sharing app like Snapchat – a 15% increase from Wave 8. Finally, 47.7 of the sample reported that they feel overwhelmed by the amount of information that is available to the public online.
Internet Users and Brands
83% of the surveyed sample reported that they want brands to be available to interact with them via social media. The top three services users reported that they expect brands to offer on social media are:
- Latest information on new products
- Customer service
- Offer customers the ability to share their thoughts, experiences, and feedback
Note: within the graphic, “escape” is a mistranslation for #3 above.
Capturing Key Consumer Moments
Social media is by far one of the most important developments in the media landscape in recent history. Social media platforms have become a part of daily life for a majority of internet users, and have become essential marketing tools for brands. UM’s study is helpful in understanding how brands can develop a pathos-oriented approach to more successfully appeal to consumers. With social media, brands can build this emotional connection and leverage it to gain new customers and strengthen existing customer relationships.
The study highlighted 120 key life moments during which social media users were more inclined to express themselves emotionally, including events like family celebrations, weddings, speaking to friends online, and so on. A relevant example included research on the times consumers were shopping online. Two categories stood out among consumers who tended to shop online during the research period:
- Those who were shopping online at work commonly expressed feelings of pleasure, relaxation, or boredom.
- Those who were shopping for new products commonly expressed feelings of intrigue, anticipation, and joy.
The online shopping experience differs among individual groups and their emotional states. Brands must therefore adapt their content marketing and communications strategies according to key moments in the individual lives of consumers. For this reason, the study defines five common consumer states, and the needs and goals associated with a potential customer in each category.