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Customer social media buying habits and trends

Advertising spend on media platforms ballooned out to $15.25 billion in 2016, Roy Morgan Research revealed.

In the last State of the Nation: Media Report from Roy Morgan in 2017, it was revealed this spend had risen $1.1 billion (9.3 per cent) on 2015 and 17.9 per cent over the last two years.

A significant reason behind this increased spend is the rising number of media platforms becoming available, and the ever-growing popularity of social media.

The report showed that Facebook (16.6 million users) and YouTube (15.4 million users) were major media players in the modern world, and they are joined by rising social media platforms like Instagram.

We explore how people are embracing the advertising content being fed through these social media platforms, and if they are actually buying things based on what they saw in their feeds.

The cross-media effect

A modern world advent has been the use of multiple devices at home, which can be advantageous for advertisers.

The Roy Morgan report revealed that 43 per cent of Australians surf the net while watching television. That is up from 27 per cent in 2011.

Are people buying using social media as in influence?

The general consensus from young people in Sydney's Newtown, polled by The Media Precinct, was that blatant advertising was not effective on social media.

"When people shove it [in your face] saying: 'buy my product'—no one wants that," one young man said.

"When it's more like word of mouth, when you are talking to your friends, then it can be effective."

Instagram is one platform enjoying great success through this method, with 'Instamodels' able to influence purchasers purely with what they are wearing in their images.

"Unfortunately I do [buy things], through Instagram. Maybe once a month I will go on Instagram and actually follow through with a purchase," one young woman said.

"I have no idea [why], but it's magic. It does work and I guess Instagram is an image platform, so you can make something look so visually appealing."

Another woman said that direct advertising was hard to believe, but she enjoyed emulating the styles of models on Instagram. "I don't believe a lot of the time when they say this teeth whitening thing really works. It's more like their general styles, their fashion, the trends and styles that they are wearing," she said. "I would then go and look for a similar style. But not necessarily the exact same product."

For a young man polled, social media had become his primary source of advertising content.

"I don't watch TV anymore and apart from billboards hanging around ... [I only see] sponsors on Facebook or even on Google. Definitely I would say social media has a big impact on shopping and purchases," he said.

Trust and invasion of privacy

The Roy Morgan report showed that just four per cent of people trusted news on social media, but that's not the only thing they are sceptical of.

Social Media users of all demographics feel uneasy about targeted advertising which uses their browsing history to market products towards them. "They are really tailored to what you [search], if you have been looking at a top online and then it comes up on Facebook, it's kind of creepy. They know what you are looking at," one young woman said.

A mother of two said these targeted ads were a major breach of trust.

"I find it's an invasion of privacy, it's targeted to what you post and everything, so I dislike it," she said.

And others wonder if this style of advertising is permissible now, what could we see in the future? "You've got to think about how far that's going," one young woman noted.

About the Media Precinct

The Media Precinct is a leading Australian owned media agency known for our research and insights led by Glenda Wynyard. If you are looking for a media agency that understands how people connect with media then email today.

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