More than half of the world’s population uses at least one social media platform, putting this invention alongside smartphones as the fastest spreading technological innovation in world history. This number is still growing at an extraordinary rate, as 490 million people (13.2% of all active users) started a social media account for the first time in 2020.
Yet the story of social media today is not simply one of growth. Surprising trends have emerged in recent months, which may affect your company’s ideal digital marketing strategy. In order to understand them, however, our creative agency in Bangkok once again dives into the Digital 2021 Report by Hootsuite and We Are Social.
Catching up with old friends
Although the majority of social media users remain within the 18-44 age group, the demographic that is currently growing most quickly is not within this age range – nor is it among teenagers. Perhaps surprisingly, social media user numbers are increasing most rapidly among adults aged 65+.
2020 was an unusual year, and there may be many reasons for social media use to grow among elderly populations. In a time of social distancing, platforms like Facebook have perhaps been the safest way for older citizens to catch up with friends and family. Yet having already learned to use these platforms, older people may decide to continue with them even after the current health crisis is resolved.
An engaged audience
Among users aged 16-64, the worldwide average for social media use is 2 hours and 25 minutes per person per day. These users can be found across a variety of platforms; the average person has 8.4 social media accounts in total. As with many digital statistics, Thailand’s social media numbers are higher than the world average. The average Thai person aged 16-64 is on social media for 2 hours and 48 minutes each day, and has 10 different accounts.
Worldwide, the three most popular reasons to use social media are: Staying up to date with news and current events, finding funny or entertaining content, and filling up spare time. Brands that publish content relating to these priorities are likely to experience higher levels of engagement.
Just as importantly, the Digital 2021 Report found that 55.5% of internet users in Thailand aged 16-64 visit social networks to search for information about brands. This interest, combined with increasing levels of social consciousness and activism, could point to new opportunities for companies to assertively promote their mission and values.
Behind the numbers
The meteoric rise of social media in this young century has been nothing short of stupendous. As the published summary of the Digital 2021 Report observes, we are indeed hooked on digital dopamine: “Added together, the world’s social media users will spend a total of 3.7 trillion hours on social media in 2021 – equivalent to more than 420 million years of combined human existence.”
But from the marketer’s perspective, the goal remains quality rather than quantity. Within the Report are these observations (slide 103):
Many brands miss the mark on social by jumping into conversations too soon. The smart ones will be those who sit back, listen, and then find creative ways of fitting into the social conversation instead of trying to lead it ….
Bold brands start in the boardroom, not the front lines of social. Strong CMOs will use intelligence gathered by social teams to help the organization adapt to new buyer beliefs while balancing the twin demands of building a better business and a better world.
The right creative agency in Bangkok can help your business take a sure-footed approach to social media, relying on solid market research and time-tested techniques to generate positive engagement.
After all, social media is all about connecting with people – and to do that, you need a strong combination of confidence and understanding. Mix those together with expert on-brand messaging, and you’ll be in an excellent position to benefit from the current social media boom.