by Jess Smith, Marketing Manager at Meltwater UK
The internet is filled with endless lists of Dos and Don’ts and myths regarding what to believe when it comes to the digital world. Many of these myths paint a picture that far from accurately describes the current state of digital developments. Using the 2023 Digital Report, the ten most common myths will be reviewed and debunked, explaining why they are what they are – myths.
- Myth: The Facebook Era is Over
Think Again! Despite popular belief, Facebook remains among the top three most used social media platforms, in the UK and worldwide. The share of internet users, in the age between 16 and 64, who use social media platforms actively, Facebook is the second most used social media platform in the UK with 70.7%, coming in only 3% below Instagram (73.4%). Seeing as it is the second most used, it doesn’t come as a surprise that it is the second favourite social media platform among active social media users, right after WhatsApp, with a share of 20.4% of all active users. In terms of how much time users spend on a daily average of 14H and 42M on facebook, coming in second place right after Youtube.
- Myth: Internet Users Spend Hours Aimlessly on Social Media
Not true! It is dangerously easy to fall down the rabbit hole of social media, engaging in content catered to individual preferences. However, contrary to what is often believed, the primary reason for internet users to be on social media platforms is for brand research, using the platforms to find information about specific brands and products. 55.8% of internet users use social media primarily as a source of information, or second most referred to reason is to stay in touch with friends and family.
- Myth: Media Users can’t stand Advertising and Marketing
Wrong! Social media users’ attitudes have changed towards advertising and marketing in recent years. Internet users have reported feeling more represented and seen in the advertising they are exposed to. This is a positive development, with a 9.3% increase in the year-on-year attitude towards how positive advertising is perceived by users. This positive development can be attributed to advertisements being catered more to the individual preferences of users, using certain social media tools.
- Myth: Online shopping is the ‘New Normal’
False! With the Covid-19 pandemic forcing the world into an upheaval, with restrictions forcing many transactions from the physical world into the digital sphere. Online shopping experienced a huge spike, however, this did not last. With the restrictions easing down and ultimately coming to an end, ecommerce purchases of all kinds of consumer goods have declined and there was a general decline in internet users that engaged in e-commerce activities, declining by 1.5% in comparison to the previous year. Online shopping also does not always include the completion of a purchase, the online shopping cart abandonment rate on mobile devices is 84%. This suggests that physical, ‘traditional’ shopping is still as valued, and could continue to rise in popularity as the world returns to pre-pandemic times.
- Myth: Brands are spending less on their social media marketing budgets
Disproven! A common misconception seems to be that social media marketing budgets have shrunken, when in reality, quite the opposite is the case. The total ad spend across all channels offline and online is 45.24 billion US-dollars. Of those roughly 45 billion, 37.42 billion US-dollars are spent on digital ads, which is 82.7% of the total ad spend. Not only is a generous amount of total spending on digital ads, but the year-on-year change in digital advertising spending is growing, with an increase of 12.8%, being 4.3 billion US-dollars.
- Myth: Marketers turn to TikTok over Instagram
No, they’re not! TikTok has risen to extreme popularity all over the world, with much marketing taking place on the platform. While TikTok’s ad reach covers an audience of roughly 19.6 million 18+ users, Instagram ad’s reach about 28.75 million internet users. That means that while TikTok reaches 29.7% of total internet users, instagram reaches nearly half of all internet users, with 43.5%. Instagram is thus, the most profitable and effective social media platform for marketers to date. Nevertheless, this may change though soon. The quarter-on-quarter change in reported instagram ad reach has declined by 3.5%, while the quarter-on-quarter change in reported TikTok Ad reach has increased by 10.9%. This trend suggests that Myth 6 may become truer sooner than we think.
- Myth: Cryptocurrencies are booming
Nope! Cryptocurrencies have been in and out of the public spotlight for nearly a decade now, with a recent boom in popularity last year, the hype has cooled down. While they remain an important development to keep an eye on, they are not as widespread as assumed, with only about 9.5% of all internet users owning a form of cryptocurrency.
- Myth: Social Media Users Don’t Trust Influencers
They do! Influencers play an important role in most social media activity, with users looking to influencers for inspiration, guidance, recommendations and warnings. It has been found that 9 out of 10 consumers are more likely to trust influencers, rather than traditional or celebrity advertisements and endorsements. Influencers are more able to provide personalised advice and insight, knowing exactly who their target audience is and what they want to hear and see. Recent research has shown that influencer marketing will become more important, as customers and brands will only collaborate more closely with influencers and companies abandon more traditional marketing efforts in favour of social media influencer marketing. Social media users don’t only turn to influencers for recommendations, but also when it comes to what to avoid. This trend is referred to as TikToks ‘De-Influencers’. This new trend aims at working against the over-saturated marketing environment and providing social media users with trust-worthy and personal advice spending decisions.
- Myth: People are spending more time on the internet
Wrong! Despite more and more people being connected to the internet, the average daily amount of time spent has decreased by 6.7%, roughly a half an hour less than in the past year. This could be the result of several different developments taking place, such as an increase in people working from home, however, generally, the trend does not suggest that we are moving away from the internet – on the contrary actually.
- Myth: The increasing awareness regarding social media and its influence on mental health leads to a decline in social media use
False! Despite an increased awareness surrounding the negative effects of social media use, the average time spent on social media has increased. Active social media users spend roughly 1H 56M on these platforms daily, which has increased by 7.4% from last year. While the increase in social media use is not limited to the UK, with a global increase of 3%, the UK’s is higher. Not only has the amount of time spent increased, but also the amount of people using social media. 84.4% of the UK’s entire population use social media, with 92.4% of the UK’s 18+ population.