In recent years, a big shift has taken place with regards to how today’s buyers are consuming media; going from sitting planted in front of the TV at 8PM on Friday nights, most of us now prefer being able to choose when we want to engage with content. And media consumption often takes place on social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Youtube, instead of through the traditional channels.

In this blog post, we will map out what the media consumption trends looks like these days in order to give a clearer picture of where to find your specific target group. We will also take a closer look at the digital shift that is currently taking place on a global scale.

Social media use is increasing

Nowadays, social media gives people an opportunity to meet online and exchange information, inspiration and insights. As our society becomes increasingly digitalised, much of our social interaction has also moved online, and our ‘regular’ social circle is being extended to include people we follow on social media platforms. It could be people we know or people who have built up a loyal group of followers and share tips, inspiration and content connected about a specific topic that we are interested in. These people are also known as ‘influencers’, as in influencing the people that follow them, who can relate to their lives.

Recent studies show that more than 4.5 billion people are using the internet today and at the beginning of 2020, active social media users passed the 3.8 billion mark. This number increased by more than 9% since 2019. Since the social media usage rose significantly due to Covid-19, we know for certain that this number has increased even more now when we’re half past 2020.

According to Statista, 66% of the UK population are active social media users and in the U.S., more than 70% of the population holds a social media account. For the younger generations, such as millennials and Generation Z, the figures are even higher. Think about it: which platforms does your target group spend the most time on and what does their media consumption look like?

Media consumption trends 2020 - Gender distribution on social platforms

On a global level, more women (71%) use social media than men (62%). This means, no matter if you’re targeting men or women, you will be able to reach the majority of them via social media platforms.  As the graph above shows, women use the two major social networks Instagram and Snapchat to a greater extent than men, while men are more likely to use platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn.

Psst! Check out this blog post to learn more about the different social platforms and how they work!

Traditional channels are being outcompeted by digital alternatives

In recent years, consumers are shifting their preferences towards ‘new’ digital media channels as compared to more traditional forms of media such as TV, print, and radio. This digital shift became even more evident in the spring of 2020 as the use of streaming services further increased as a result of social distancing and more time at home. One example is that 3 out of 4 people in the U.S. increased their use of streaming services after the corona pandemic broke out, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Another example of the digital shift currently taking place in the media landscape is a recent study from the Swedish Press, Radio and Television Authority which shows that the younger generations are leaving the more traditional platforms, such as TV, newspapers and radio  – something that may not come as a surprise. The same study also shows that even the elderly are moving towards a more digital consumption pattern, as their time spent on social media has increased significantly too in recent years.

Ad-weary consumers expect relevant, value-creating marketing – preferably from people they trust

A recent study by Ogury shows that 90% of consumers perceive irrelevant mobile advertising as annoying – and this is something most of us can agree on. In today’s media landscape, the various messages come thick and fast and it takes a lot of time as a company to break through the noise and reach your target audience.

No matter what your offer looks like, marketing today is all about being relevant and being able to demonstrate clear value to the consumer. This is also reinforced by a Novus research, which shows that almost every second consumer likes to engage with advertising as long as it contains relevant offers. In other words, it’s important to keep a close eye on your target group; what’s relevant to them, what does their media consumption look like, and how can you make your communication blend into their lives in such a natural way that it is not perceived as disturbing or distracting? To build a loyal customer base, you also need to build strong relationships with your buyers, which requires continuity and a long-term vision.

Another important aspect to keep in mind for creating value, and thereby building loyalty among today’s consumers, is that these people are often influenced by friends and people they follow on social media. Whether you are looking for recipes for this weekend’s dinner party, inspiration for summer outfits, or tips on the most efficient lawn mower, influential people on social platforms (influencers) are a standard source of information today. An example: in one study 72% of consumers indicated that they have more trust in a company that they have heard about from an influencer that they follow. So, if your target audience is on social media then chances are they are following one or more influencers, which means this is an invaluable place for your brand to get noticed.

More and more people shop online – both on the internet and on social platforms

In recent years we have seen a clear shift from physical stores to e-commerce. This shift has, as expected, accelerated due to the coronavirus. A recent study by Global Web Index  found that around one-third of consumers in the U.S. and UK said they were going to shop online more frequently after the corona outbreak – due to both increased safety and convenience.

One clear observation is that it is not only e-commerce which is increasing, but also commerce on social platforms. In May 2020, Facebook announced that they are launching Facebook Shops this year, which is a major investment in e-commerce on both Facebook and Instagram, their photo-sharing social platform. This investment means that companies can post their products directly on their Facebook and/or Instagram pages for potential customers to engage with. The companies themselves can choose whether the products should be sold directly via Facebook’s e-commerce function or if the purchase should take place on an external e-commerce site.

Given that half of the world’s population are using social media today, this move may not be so surprising – after all, it will be a natural transition to be able to shop in the same virtual place where we like to hang out with our friends, get inspired and get new knowledge and insights. Whether you already offer e-commerce today or not, you should definitely ask yourself: Where is your target group and how would they prefer to buy from you? In the physical store, on your website, or maybe on your social channels?

Consumer behaviour is changing at a steady pace, and you as a marketeer always need to keep your ear to the ground and keep track of where your target group is. We are currently in the middle of a digital shift which has accelerated faster than we could have imagined, and no one knows for sure what the future looks like. What we know with certainty is that creating value and being relevant is critical, so remember to always communicate from your target group’s perspective – no matter the media channel.