CMOs take note: Internet users surpass four billion globally

CMOs must look beyond traditional channels and harness online if they are not to be left behind by an increasingly connected and digitalised consumer

With 80 per cent of Australians spending more time on the Internet than they do watching television, CMOs must look beyond traditional channels and harness online if they are not to be left behind by an increasingly connected and digitalised consumer.

Following the release of Digital in 2018, a report on social media and digital trends around the world by Hootsuite and We Are Social, it seems seamless digital integration, audio visual content, and influencers are now key to meeting customers where they are in the digital age.

The report found nearly 90 per cent of Australians are online and spend more than five hours a day on the Internet, compared to only three hours watching TV. Ninety-three per cent use the Internet daily, and 36 per cent also use an ad-blocking tool.

In addition, six in 10 Australians watch online videos every day, and more than 12 million Australians purchased goods online, an increase of 4 per cent year-on-year. However, 28 per cent of Internet users identify TV as the channel to first introduce purchased products, followed by online at 16 per cent.

According to the report, the top four Australian websites are google.com.au, followed by YouTube, google.com, and Facebook.

Hootsuite also found two-thirds of the Australian population, or 17 million people, use social media each month, with Facebook the top social media platform, followed by YouTube. More than half a million people started using the Internet in the past 12 months, an increase of three per cent, and one million people started using social media for the first time in 2017, an increase of six per cent over 12 months. In addition, Australians spend almost 100 minutes using social media each day.

Globally, Internet user numbers increased seven per cent to more than four billion, or 53 per cent of the world’s population, who are estimated to spend more than one billion hours online this year alone. People are also spending more time using the Internet at around six hours each day. The report attributed this to more affordable smartphones and mobile data plans.

More than 200 million people got their first mobile device in 2017, and two-thirds of the world’s 7.6 billion inhabitants now have a mobile phone, with more than half of the handsets in use today ‘smart’ devices.

The Hootsuite report also looked into social media and found usage increased by 13 per cent to 3.2 billion users globally. Mobile social media usage rose by 14 per cent to 3 billion users, with 93 per cent of social media users accessing social from mobile. In fact, social media brings nearly 3.2 billion active users online, with Facebook leading the pack at 2.2 billion users, followed by You Tube at 1.5 billion users. Social media use increases by almost one million new users every day, or more than 11 new users every second.

Global growth of the Internet is also propelling ecommerce forward, with 1.77 billion Internet users purchasing consumer goods online in 2017, an increase of eight per cent year-on-year. Collectively, consumers spent a total of US$1.47 trillion on ecommerce platforms in the past 12 months, 16 per cent more than in 2016.

With Internet users projected to spend a combined total of one billion years online in 2018, of which 325 million years will be spent on social media, the customer journey, and the best way to connect with them, has forever been altered.

Hootsuite CMO, Penny Wilson, said the report highlights the continuing growth of the Internet and social media to individuals and businesses around the world.

“This dynamic has forever altered the customer journey as consumers and B2B professionals increasingly conduct research, make buying decisions, seek support, and recommend brands online. To achieve competitive advantage, all executives must dive deep into digital now, meeting their customers where they are to best market, sell and serve them,” she said. 

Global consultant of We Are Social, Simon Kemp, predicted the sheer amount of people online will see changes to digital over the coming months.

“Audio-visual content will take priority over text, especially in social media and messaging apps, while voice commands and cameras will replace keyboards as our primary means of input. Social relationships and online communities will evolve to accommodate these new ways for people to interact with each other. This will result in rich new experiences for all of us, but businesses need to start preparing for these changes today," he said. 

The seventh annual Digital in 2018 report covers 239 countries and territories.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu

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