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Australians spend more time on social media, TikTok leads the way
Wed, 21st Feb 2024

The latest annual report, Digital 2024 Australia, launched jointly by Meltwater, a global leader in social and media intelligence, and We Are Social, the creative agency, has revealed that Australians are spending more time on social media platforms, noticeably TikTok and digital advertising is maintaining a significant share of the total ad spend. The data has provided an intricate analysis of the country's social, digital, and e-commerce landscape.

The report exhibits a portrayal of the growing importance of digital usage in Australia, demonstrating an internet user base of 25.21 million, amounting to 95% of the population, alongside 20.8 million active social media identities, or 86.5% of the adult populace. Daily time spent on media encompasses an average of 6 hours, 14 minutes of internet usage, and 1 hour, 51 minutes on social media amongst Australians aged 16 to 64. In contrast, there is a significant decrease in the approach towards traditional media such as broadcast and streaming TV (-15%), reading online and press content (-44%), streaming music (-13%), listening to broadcast radio (-15%) and podcasts (-33%), and using game consoles (-30%).

Amongst all social apps, TikTok has surfaced as the most frequented platform by Android users, receiving attention for over 42 hours, 13 minutes per month, approximately one and a half hours daily. This is followed in second place by YouTube, where users spend over 21 hours and 36 minutes per month. Currently close to reaching an ad reach of 10 million, with considerable ad downloads and consumer spending, TikTok has firmly established its position in Australia's social media arena, previously dominated by Meta.

"The data from this year's report reaffirms how social media stands as the cornerstone of brand engagement and consumer interaction, with the growing investment in social media advertising further underscoring its pivotal role in a brand's overall marketing strategy," remarked David Hickey, Executive Director Asia-Pacific at Meltwater. He further noted the imperativeness of understanding and leveraging the key insights derived from these platforms for maximising the return on investment.

Facebook still reserves its place as the favourite choice for nearly one-fourth of Australians, who spend approximately 20 hours and 15 minutes per month on the platform. Nearly 20 years after its inception, Facebook leads as the number one social media platform in Australia, with a potential ad reach crossing 16.65 million users, which encompasses 66% of internet users. Instagram is close behind, with three out of five internet users engaging with the platform and spending around 11 hours and 46 minutes a month, with a potential ad reach of close to 14 million users.

Australian users top the charts amongst other economies by spending the majority of their time on Snapchat, with an average of 17 hours and 2 minutes and 619 sessions a month. The report further emphasises the consequential role of social media, being a chief source of information about brands and products for 58% of users aged 16 to 64.

As per the report, online shopping, particularly in domains like electronics, fashion, food, and beverages, has seen a substantial rise due to digital platforms reshaping the retail landscape. The travel and tourism sector has seen a surge in online spending, with a 44% increase in the annual online spending on flights, reaching over US$10 billion, and a 34% growth in spending on hotels, touching nearly US$6 billion.

Nearly 8 out of 10 Australian internet users aged 16 to 64 are found to play video games, with hand-held gaming devices showing the strongest growth, signalling a trend for on-the-go gaming. The report further unveiled a growth in Australian digital ad spending, touching US$13.5 billion in 2023, i.e., 72.4% of the total ad spend of US$18.6 billion. Social media advertising takes a major portion of the digital advertising market, with US$3.8 billion, whilst influencer marketing spend, though smaller, has increased by 15%, at US$460 million.

"The data in this year's report speaks volumes about how integral digital platforms have become in the daily lives of Australians. With almost all of the population active on social media, it's clear that these platforms are no longer just an option but a necessity for brands to connect and engage with their audience," stated Suzie Shaw, CEO at We Are Social. She further pointed out that the remarkable surge in TikTok usage is a testament to its evolution from an 'emerging platform' to a pivotal channel, thereby dwelling on its potential for marketing.