Spending on social media in Australia will accelerate from its current level of 11 per cent of digital spend to 26pc over the next five years, according to new research from IPG Mediabrands Australia division, Magna Global.
The new report, called The New Era of Conversations, says that while social media will continue to expand and fragment alongside other digital channels, social will take on accelerated relevance to specific audiences as more and more of consumers’ conversations happen in the digital space.
For marketers, good social marketing will deliver brand experiences that are tailor-made to capitalise on each social network’s unique targeting capabilities and environment, therefore driving new and powerful marketing effectiveness opportunities.
“There is no doubt that social media, of all the digital channels, has emerged as the most complicated territory for brands to navigate as social networks are such an intimate private space for people,” said IPG Mediabrands Australia chief investment officer, Victor Corones (pictured).
“However it is very clear from our research that social media is already a significant path to purchase for people of all ages. We must think of this channel as simply a digital form of verbal conversations that have always been the most powerful form of recommendation for a brand, or a detraction to it.”
The New Era of Conversations report says that by 2019 the marketing industry will be spending $2.3 billion in social media, to represent 26pc of all Internet advertising. The research also details the increasing use of social media by all age groups including the 65-year-old plus bracket with 51% of those people interviewed saying they have used a social media site in the past four weeks.
“In the social space we are now thinking of brands in the same way we consider our own personal standing in society and the friends we keep,” said Corones.
“Being trustworthy and a confidant are major pillars in creating and maintaining friendships for ourselves. For brands it means that behaviour in the social space needs to demonstrate and reinforce these attributes to be invited into consumers’ friendship circles. In social you need to join the conversation, not be the conversation. Push communication found in traditional media will be shunned by consumers in this environment.”
The New Era of Conversations report also says there will be high levels of churn in the social media space as fad sites come and go in response to consumers shifting interests in topics ranging from world events through to fashion and social responsibility.
However even with this fragmentation the report says Facebook and YouTube will continue to dominate the social media space as they react and reinvent themselves in response to consumer behaviour changes over time. The report also indicates that commercial opportunities will continue to develop rapidly in this sector over the next 12 months.