How Aussies are using social media – latest Sensis report

Thanks to a tip off from John Sheridan at GovCamp yesterday, I’m happy to report that the latest Sensis figures on social media use by Australians are out – and the numbers have continued to increase.

Sensis reports that 62% of online Australians are using social media, with 97% using Facebook – roughly the same numbers they reported last year.

However use of LinkedIn (16%) and Twitter (14%) has surged – with some interesting state-by-state results, particularly in the ACT where we’re above average Twitter users (25%) but below average LinkedIn users (8%) – compared, for example to NSW where 19% used Twitter and 26% used LinkedIn.

There was also interesting information on the engagement and expenditure by business on social media channels – with 82% of large businesses having a Facebook page, 71% having a Twitter presence and 30% and 29% respectively using LinkedIn and YouTube (though a disappointingly 13% had a blog) and spending on average 4.5% of their marketing budget (or around $100,000) per year on the area.

If you consider the expenditure of the Commonwealth Government on advertising alone for 2010-11 was $116.9 million dollars (from the Parliamentary Library report, The administration of Commonwealth Government advertising), then the Commonwealth, to reflect the expenditure of large Australian companies, should be spending at least $5.2 million on social media.

59% of large businesses expected to spend more in social marketing over the next twelve months (an average 12% increase in spend), with only 2% planning on cutting their investment. The funds for increasing social marketingwas coming from print (38% – sorry newspapers!), TV advertising (10%), radio advertising (10%) – though 29% indicated nothing would be cut and 24% were unsure where the funds would come from.

Of course, as comms budgets are often reported by program rather than by agency, the amount spent on communication is generally much higher – as would need to be the social media spending to compare.

It was also interesting to see that 53% of Australians accessing social media were doing so on mobile phones – compared to 54% on desktop computers, indicating how quickly Australians are moving to mobile devices for their social interactions – no surprise considering that social is mobile, for all intents and purposes.

It was also good to see that social media engagement and activity was being controlled predominantly by marketing (64%) and communication (17%) areas, rather than IT (5%). Government still has a way to go in this space to find the most effective balance of control and management, reflecting the skills and the security required for effective online engagement.

Social media success is still largely being measured by likes/followers/subscribers (67% of large businesses), while positive social media conversation (17%), usage (11%) and brand sentiment (7%) remain quite low. Only 39% of large businesses reported measuring return on investment for social media and only 28% of large businesses were using third party statistics providers with another 11% using in-house statistics, indicating there’s still a great deal of ad-hoc or non measurement going on.

You can see the full report and statistics from the Sensis media release The Yellow Social Media Report 2012, and I have attached the infographic to the right (or view the larger version).

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