This year’s Sensis Social Media Report 2016 has recently been released and we always like to take a look at it to track the growth of the digital world. We hear about digital and are advised to be ready for its impact, there are multiple stories about building a digital presence and footprint – but when do you know that the time is right to ‘be digital’. Well folks the time has come. Not only are Australian consumers more engaged with social media more than ever, their frequency of social media use has increased.

Over 75 per cent of Australians are now on social media and spend 12.5 hours per week on Facebook alone. Over the past three years we have in all reality only experienced a 6 per cent increase in the number of Australians that use social media, however the frequency and how they use it has changed remarkably. More of us use it as a connection tool with half checking it daily, 25 per cent checking it more than five times a day. And just under half of us check it first thing each morning and this figure is rising.

And if you were wondering how to engage with consumers as a brand or a business then this next figure is interesting – nearly everyone uses social media at home and 28 per cent of users felt more connected to a television program when they discussed the program on social media.

According to Sensis: “This should be a wake-up call for businesses that aren’t yet on social media – this is where your customers are, and this is where you can engage with them. This is especially pertinent considering frequency of access is increasing, with most consumers accessing social media sites every day or multiple times per day.”

So let’s take a look at this year’s statistics:

  • 48 per cent of SMBs have social media presence compared with 31 percent in 2015 (Growth 17 per cent)
  • 79 per cent of large businesses have social media presence compared with 56 per cent in 2015 (Growth 23 per cent)
  • Australians own an average of three Internet-enabled devices – smartphone penetration is up 6 percentage points to 76 percentage points, overtaking the laptop to become the most commonly owned device.
  • There was little change in ownership of tablets (53%) and desktop computers (54%).
  • Internet-enabled TVs have increased their appeal by 4 percentage points to 29%.
  • Meanwhile, ownership of devices such as the iPod touch is down 5 percentage points to 17%. The above indicates an increasingly diverse nature of device ownership.
  • The smartphone continues to grow as the most likely device people use to access social media (72%). When on a smartphone, people prefer to access social media through an app as opposed to a website. In the 18-29 and 30-39 age groups smartphones are used for social media interaction by over 90% of people.

This year’s Sensis Social Media Report 2016 also provides guidance for business to better understand their target prior to entering or increasing their presence in social media. Smartphones now outrank online in engagement, so there is no point only focusing on an online presence when the statistics are giving you a free kick to make sure you have a ‘mobile first’ mentality.

This also goes for content. It needs to be relevant and have value for the audience for both organic and paid.

There is one thing that we can all agree on – digital has well and truly arrived.


Katherine Forrest

Head of Customer Advocacy and Assurance