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Study: Users shift from search to social with rising desire for purposeful use of Internet

Study: Users shift from search to social with rising desire for purposeful use of Internet

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Social media is dominating search with social platforms claiming a greater share of the world’s search activity. More 16- to 34-year-olds are now more likely to visit a social network when looking for information about brands compared to search engines (48% vs 45%), found a latest report by global firm in social and media intelligence, Meltwater, and socially-led creative agency, We Are Social.

The growing importance of social media is reflected in global advertising spend, with investment in social media ads more than doubling since the outbreak of COVID-19, to reach an estimated US$226 billion in 2022.

Meanwhile, half of the world’s social media users say that they actively visit social platforms to learn more about brands and see their content. Time spent on social platforms has increased to more than two and a half hours per day — 40 minutes more than time spent watching broadcast and cable TV.  

daily time spent using the internet 1

When it comes to using the internet, users are looking for more purpose use of the world wide web focusing on quality over quantity. In fact, the daily usage rate is a return to 2019 levels, before the COVID-19 pandemic had a profound impact on the world’s digital behaviour. The typical internet user globally has reduced their average daily internet use by 20 minutes over the past 12 months to six hours and 37 minutes, equating to a year-on-year reduction of almost five percent despite the increase time spent on social media.

Currently Singapore is ranked fourth globally in average daily time (five hours and 18 minutes) spent on mobile devices. However, the average internet user, aged 16 to 64, in Singapore spends two hours and 13 minutes on social media each day, which is lower than the global average of two hours and 31 minutes.

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Alexandra Saab Bjertnæs, chief strategy officer at Meltwater said that brands that want to be competitive need to stay ahead of trends, searching for and identifying them, in order to understand their impact on any given industry.

“Consumers continue to spend more and more time on social media, and it’s clear that social will play an even more important role in the customer journey as users turn to platforms such as TikTok and Instagram to guide their decision-making process,” Bjertnæs added.

“With more than 5 billion internet users today, it’s becoming more crucial than ever that brands deliver relevant, impactful, and purposeful content to capture attention and create value across digital channels,” he added.

The findings correspond to another report published by MARKETING-INTERACTIVE recently which noted that more internet users are turning to TikTok to make searches instead of traditional platforms such as Google.

Additionally, 61% of Singaporean internet users buy something online each week. Compared to the global average, Internet users in Singapore tends to consume more TV content via streaming but not as much video games or podcasts. Around 91.7% watch TV content via streaming services each month compared to the global benchmark of 90.9%.

When it comes to podcasts, only 16.4% listen to podcasts each week, below the global benchmark of 21.2%. Internet users in Singapore spend an average of 52 minutes on a game console each day, lower than the global average of one hour and 14 minutes.

Malaysian consumers and their love for social 

Consumers in Malaysia use more than seven social media platforms on average – and they are using it to learn more about brands (58.7%). Currently, Malaysia ranks 8th amongst countries with the highest reach of TikTok ads amongst adults.

In Malaysia, the average internet user is aged 16 to 64, and spends two hours and 47 minutes on social media each day, higher than the global average of two hours and 31 minutes, said a latest report by global firm in social and media intelligence, Meltwater, and socially-led creative agency, We Are Social.

Nathan McDonald, group CEO and co-founder at We Are Social said today, from shopping to connecting, entertaining to searching, social media is “inextricably linked to our habits both on and offline”.

“It's interesting to see internet use becoming more discerning - while being online is still incredibly important in our everyday lives, people rightly want to make sure it's time well spent,” said Mcdonald.

This means that marketers and creators will have to work even harder to attract and retain people’s attention in 2023 - it’s never been more important to understand online culture in order to reach people in a relevant way, McDonald added.

When it comes to internet users in Malaysia, around 94.7% of users in Malaysia aged 16 to 64 watch TV content via streaming services each month compared to the global benchmark of 90.9%. Meanwhile, 87.4% of internet users in Malaysia aged 16 to 64, play video games on any device, significantly higher than the global benchmark of 81.9%.

Related articles: 

Study: Is TikTok going to be the next king of search in SEA?
5 social media trends that brands have to cope with in 2023
SG govt passes law requiring social media platforms to block harmful content 'within hours'
Level up your social game with these top 5 agencies in Malaysia

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