By Adam Fraser
The annual Global Digital Trends report authored by Simon Kemp, delivered by We Are Social and Hootsuite, has become one of the must read reports into global digital activity.
And rightly so. It’s an incredibly comprehensive, professional, and well researched document – truly the go-to resource and reference point for research, blogs, business cases, sales decks and conference presentations for the year to come!
(If you are interested in the history of the report and how it is prepared, I chatted to Simon about the 2017 report on the podcast last year).
The 2018 report has just been released and as expected it’s another high quality, insight rich, document. The summary document alone is 153 slides, and there are country specific reports, with an overall total of an incredible 5,000 charts covering 239 countries. It really is an amazing resource.
The breadth of the research is what makes it so valuable, covering internet usage, mobile usage, messaging, social media, ecommerce and media consumption.
I highly recommend people browse the full slide deck. For those looking for the major headlines, here are 10 key trends:
- Global internet users have now surpassed 4 billion people (up 7% on the prior year) – over half of the world’s population is now online.
- People are spending more time online, with the average user spending 6 hours per day on the internet – this equates to a billion years spent online across the globe in 2018!
- An amazing 2/3 of the world’s population now have a smartphone – incredible penetration over a relatively short time span
- Social media usage has continued to grow over the past 12 months, with over 3 billion global users (3.2 billion, up 13% on prior year), most accessing via a mobile device (2.9bn). Growth in the USA was 7% and in Australia was 6%.
- Facebook’s data affirms this trend, with 95% of its global users accessing the platform via a mobile device.
- WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger both grew twice as fast as the core Facebook platform in the last year, with the number of people using each messenger app up by 30 percent year on year. Both now have 1.3bn monthly active users.
- Three of the top 10 most trafficked websites in the world are social networks, being YouTube (2nd), Facebook (3rd) and Reddit (6th). Many may be surprised to see Reddit featuring so high, but this is an increasingly important community.
- The ad blocking stats by country were highly notable and significant – the percentage of users accessing an adblocker exceeding 40% in countries such as China (54%), India (52%), USA (45%), NZ (42%) and UK (41%). Australia’s ratio was still a highly material 36%.
- As expected, organic reach and engagement have both dropped over the past year, with average reach down by more than 10 percent year-on-year. The country by country Facebook organic reach stats was fascinating – while the global average reach was 8% (a number still surprisingly high) the deviation was significant between countries (e.g Netherlands 22%, Australia 14%, USA 7%, Japan 1%).
- In terms of ecommerce, total annual spend in 2017 reached almost US$1.5 trillion for consumer goods, a growth of 16 percent over the past year. Fashion products represent the largest single category.
It was an incredibly hard task to only extract 10 key insights from such a data rich document! Bookmark this one for the year ahead…
By Adam Fraser
It’s been quite a year for fundraising in the enterprise social media software space.
I have discussed previously the deep, broad and complex marketing technology landscape. Almost 2,000 vendors across 43 categories. “Social media marketing” is just one of these categories but even it has its own living and breathing sub eco-system.
I often dissect the social media software market into verticals such as:
- social listening (think Brandwatch, Netbase, Radian6)
- social analytics (think Simply Measured, Social Bakers)
- social customer service (think Conversocial, SparkCentral)
- end to end social media management platforms (think Tracx, Sprinklr, Hootsuite)
There are of course many (many) other niche execution tools which help with listening or publishing on one or many social platforms (think Thunderclap, Tagboard and SocialBro to name just a few).
So as with the entire marketing technology landscape, the social media technology landscape is also deep and broad. There has been a massive investment of funds into marketing technology more broadly but the investment trends within the social media sector are interesting.
Venture capital and private equity investors expect growth, a return higher than the stock market and a path to an exit. Implicit in their investments is confidence in the enterprise social media space and obviously the specific business they are backing.
Some investors are betting that, increasingly, larger enterprises will seek one end-to-end platform to manage their social media activities, all the way from listening, through to publishing, analytics and customer service, rather than integrating a number of ‘best of breed’ verticals.
In the last couple of months, enterprise social platform Tracx raised $18m from Edison Partners and social marketing platform Spredfast raised $24m from Silver Lake Waterman. This comes less than a year after social management platform Sprinklr raised $40m from ICONIQ and social relationship platform Hootsuite raised $60m from a range of investors.
These are just a few examples but they highlight the key take-out – professional investors believe social media technology to be an ‘investment grade’ sector worthy of significant investment. It’s a sign of the maturation of the industry. We have come a long way from the “You should have a Facebook page” view of social media for enterprises.
Whether end to end platforms or best of breed verticals come to dominate within social technology will be an interesting topic to observe over the next 24-36 months. Mergers and acquisitions will also start to play a part in the landscape as some level of consolidation in a crowded market seems inevitable.
The battle lines have been drawn and people have made their bets. There will always be winners and losers, but the social media technology sector as a whole is healthy, growing and growing up.