Social Media Stats 2024

Updated: Apr 09, 2024 | |

We Are Social have released their annual ‘Digital Australia’ report and with it comes some interesting reading… 

Internet usage is increasing, with Australians, for the first time ever, spending over 6 hours on the internet per day (6hrs 14mins). Despite this increase in time online, media consumption has declined across most key categories, with TV viewing (both linear and steaming) down 15%, press consumption (includes online) down 44% and radio listening down 13% 

Social media also took a hit, down 10%, but this was the smallest shift amongst recorded categories. Nonetheless, Australians are spending on average 1 hour and 51 minutes on social media per day. There are currently 20.8 million Australians who are active social media users, with 92% of P16-64 using social media. 

We look at the key outtakes and offer our perspective of the Digital Australia report so you don’t have to.

Why are people using the internet?

If people are using the internet more, why hasn’t this correlated into an increase in media consumption? It’s a valid question, which we suspect macro factors are at play.

The most obvious and spoken about is the current economic landscape. This has led to a time crunch with reduced media consumption as a result. In other words, internet usage has possibly increased because people are working longer hours or on their side hustle, leaving less time to scroll social feeds or watch the latest HBO series.

This is somewhat reflected in the top two reasons identified for internet usage, with both being functional uses rather than for personal enjoyment and connectivity.

Have we hit saturation point on social media?

Let’s be clear: social media usage is steady in terms of total people, this has not declined. But the decrease in time spent using social media has. This raises the question: Have we hit saturation point in social media usage? 

We only have 24 hours in a day, so there was always going to be a ceiling here. With people generally being more mindful of how they spend their time, it appears the 2024 report has identified the limit of social media usage.

Our prediction here is we don’t expect social media usage to spike much higher than 2 hours per day in the future, rather we expect time spent on social media to remain steady.

The Social Media Landscape in 2024

Spending nearly two hours a day, and having about 6 social media accounts each, we still love our social media. Below are the key platforms in the Australian market and their active user base.

*note, only platforms with paid ad formats are included

With most social media users having multiple accounts across platforms, there is platform crossover and platform exclusivity. The below illustrates how scale can be increased or capped based on your mix of channels.

The Usual Suspects: Facebook and Instagram Still On Top

Meta, parent company of Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp continue to dominate the Australian market for social media usage, representing the four most used social media apps by users. Over 78% of Australians aged 16-64 are active Facebook users, steady on previous years and on par with YouTube usage. Messenger sits in second place, followed by Instagram and WhatsApp.

As well as being the most used, Facebook (24%) and Instagram (19%) are still rated the most popular apps but it is losing ground to TikTok (more on that in a moment). What would be interesting to know, and what isn’t provided with the data in the ‘Digital Australia report is the breakdown of favourite platforms by demo, as I suspect younger demos would overwhelmingly favour TikTok. 

While scale continues to be the drawcard to platforms like Facebook and Instagram, it is our view that this is driven by indoctrinated behaviour over preference for these platforms over other social media sites. Facebook turned 20 this year. For early adaptors, giving up 20 years of social connections, photos, comments and engagements is a big ask.

TikTok’s Continued Upward Trajectory

Arguably the darling of social media apps at the moment, TikTok continues building its momentum from the COVID years. Users have hit 9.7 million, making it the 5th most-used social media site in Australia (Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp). This represents a 17% growth year-on-year and means advertising on TikTok now has the potential to reach a third of all Australians.

But it’s not only the number of people using TikTok that has grown. Where it is dominating its competition is in how much time users are spending on the platform. TikTok users are spending over 42 hours on the platform per month, double the next platform, YouTube

Snapchat’s Audience Is Dedicated

While not considered a primary player, Snapchat continues to have its place and its audience within the Australian social media landscape. There are still 7.8 million active users of Snapchat in Australia, with a significant proportion of its audience being 13-34 years old.

Snapchat users are dedicated to their platform, with users recording over 600 app sessions a month, opening the app on average 20 times a day. Their dedication to the platform is also reflected in their exclusive use of the platform. A GWI study from 2023 found that 39% of Snapchatters do not use Facebook on a daily basis – so they are active on other social platforms, but not engaged.

The Discovery Journey on Pinterest 

Pinterest is by no means the biggest platform in Australia, but one could argue it is one of the most important for brands to take note of. Pinterest reaches 1 in 5, or 5.3 million Australians each month, but it’s who these users are and how they use Pinterest that is paramount.

While it doesn’t get the love or recognition it deserves from most attribution models (looking at you, last-click), very often Pinterest is the starting point for discovery and view-through attribution is very high. This is because 97% of pin searches on Pinterest are unbranded: they aren’t looking for Gucci, they’re looking for a designer purse. 

In addition to this, consumers who are on Pinterest are less likely to be influenced by price. They are 10% more likely to be earning $200k or more a year, so they are less susceptible to the economic challenges we currently face, and are also willing to spend more to ensure quality.

Seperate to paid media, Pinterest is a platform we strongly recommend brands use organically, as Pins are indexed across Google. This will have a positive impact on your organic and SEO ranking, and is why if you search for something on Google Images, a lot of your results are likely going to be from Pinterest. 

The Anomaly of X, formerly known as Twitter

According to We Are Social’s report, reported ad reach in Australia has increased by 847,000 users to 6 million users. Of the main social platforms used, Twitter is the one with the strongest male skew with 67% of users on-platform identifying as male. For comparison, Snapchat, which is relative in scale has a male skew of 46%

With all the changes and press associated with X since Elon Musks’ buyout of the platform, 

The increase in usage is surprising. Have these changes work? Are people subscribing to it’s Netflix-style model? Is the freedom of publishing without censorship a greater pull than the content being factual or correct? 

You can still advertise and be brand-safe on X. In fact, there are some brands that lean into X as it effectively reaches its target audience, but we do acknowledge that there are anomalies in the data available (as acknowledged by We Are Social) to make informed advertising decisions. 

 

Why Are You Considering a Paid Social Media Strategy?

How Are Audiences Discovering You?

It’s no secret that media has been fragmenting over the past decade. TV viewing is no longer linear, radio listening is more broadly defined as audio streaming and print circulation continues to decline in favour of its digital counterparts. Along with this fragmentation comes a shift in how audiences discover brands. No longer can you run a national TVC and expect 4 million people to see it. Social media ads are increasingly becoming a source of brand discovery for consumers, with 29% of people new products from social media ads. This is quickly catching up to TV and is now double the brand discovery achieved by radio ads

Audiences Are Doing Their Due Diligence

Like a questionable date from Tinder, audiences are more considered and wary of how they engage and purchase from brands. This includes more brand research before making a purchase decision. While the usual suspects of search engines, reviews and brand websites hold the top 3, social media is a source many are turning to to gauge authenticity. Is the brand real? Are they posting regularly? Is the content spammy? Are their social accounts littered with complaints and dissatisfied customers? While a paid social strategy doesn’t necessarily address these concerns, investing in social advertising will show that you are legitimate in trying to engage with your audience. 

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