Public Relations, Social Media

How to make the most of 4 billion internet users

The 2018 Global Digital report, by Hootsuite and We Are Social, has revealed that the internet now has 4 billion users. That’s more than half of the population of the entire planet.

This presents a fascinating opportunity for communications professionals, with perhaps almost their entire target audience now online. So how can you make the most of this? I’ve rooted through the entire 153 slide report to tell you more.

Europe focus

It’s fair to say there’s a strong digital audience in Europe. 80% of the population are on the internet, 53% are active social media users and 14% use social on mobile. These figures are slowly but surely on the rise, meaning if current trends continue, the importance of effective digital communications will increase exponentially.

The median age in the United Kingdom is 40.5 – compared to 30.6 worldwide – a figure that’s roughly middle of the pack compared to the median’s for the rest of the world. This gives us an insight into exactly who we’re communicating to, allowing communicators to tailor messaging to suit not only their target audience, but to think about a wider demographic too.

Plus, UK audiences are spending an average of 5 hours 51 minutes on the internet each day, giving us plenty of time to reach them.

Social media

There are 3.196 billion active social media users worldwide. That’s 42% of people globally and a 13% increase in comparison to 2017. In the UK, these users are spending an average of 1 hour 54 minutes on social media each day.

With social media usage ever increasing, it’s becoming more and more important for communications professionals to find ways of demonstrating how social media is contributing to overall business goals. “It’s the end of the road for vanity metrics” (slide 10) and we need to find ways to demonstrate ROI effectively.

There has been a 13% annual growth of social media users worldwide, a 5% increase in the UK, and an increase in every single country in the report, meaning social isn’t going anywhere any time soon.

Social channels

Facebook and YouTube hands down boast the most active social media users, with what I would have expected to be some of the key players – like Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn – much further down the list.

Messenger and chat apps, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and WeChat, sit in third, fourth and fifth respectively, meaning channels like these should become part of a communicators toolkit if we are to continue to reach a wide audience.

Mobile friendly

The report shows two-thirds of people – 2.958 billion – now have a mobile device. So if you’re not thinking mobile first, you’re missing out on an enormous opportunity.

Mobile takes 38% of web traffic in the UK which, although comparatively low looking at other countries, it’s still a significant portion of the population. Optimising websites for mobile, thinking about how your content will be seen on a screen and making sure messaging is concise will ensure that you capture more of the mobile audience.

One in every three minutes spent on mobile is using a social app. Whether connecting with friends and family, browsing the news or researching businesses, social media has become an integral part of our mobile internet usage.

Thinking of making your own app?

On average, users have 80 apps installed per smartphone. But they use 40 of these each month.

Brands, businesses and organisations thinking of creating an app to complement their services must be creative and engaging – there’s only a 50% success rate of regular use! However, on the plus side, there is a 7:1 ratio of time spent using mobile apps compared to mobile web browsers. So if you do have a great app, you’re okay.

Of the apps used, Facebook tops the list of most monthly active users, followed by:

  • WhatsApp
  • WeChat
  • Facebook Messenger
  • QQ
  • Instagram

Games, entertainment and photo/video top the list for most IOS downloads, with games, entertainment and social networking topping the list for most revenue on IOS.

Other fun facts

Things that made me go, “wow, that’s pretty cool…”

  • Google is (quite unexpectedly) the world’s most visited website, followed by Facebook and YouTube. Surprisingly, Twitter and Instagram aren’t in the top 10.
  • The top Google search queries in 2017 included Facebook, YouTube, Google, You and News.

  • 75% of people in the UK use mobile, with 5.135 billion users worldwide.
  • 2017 saw 50.3% of global web traffic on mobile, expected to reach 52.2% in 2018 based on previous years’ trends.
  • 73.5% pf mobile web requests came from Android, 19.9% from Apple IOS and 6.6% from ‘other’.

So there you have it. My round up of the Hootsuite and We Are Social 2018 Global Digital report highlights. Check out the full report here. All data and slides used here are from Digital in 2018: World’s internet users pass the 4 billion mark.

Liked this blog? Why not read The minefield of social media – Influence Live or Public Relations in 2018.


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