Social media less about fun as users become 'more like brands'

Social media is considered by consumers as being less about fun than business as users become savvier about managing their online profiles.

Social media less about fun as users become 'more like brands'

UM’s ninth annual Wave study has found that advertisers must understand the emotional needs of their customers in order to make a meaningful connection online.

The global Wave 9: The Meaning of Moments study, which surveyed over 52,000 people in 78 countries, analysed over 60 billion online consumer interactions.

This year’s study shows that 85% of worldwide social media users spend time actively managing their network profile, with 40% of people less likely to see social networks as places for fun and entertainment compared to seven years ago.

Meanwhile, 30% of people are now more likely to see social networks as places to promote themselves, much in the same way that brands do.

In the UK, 46% of social media users agree they are influenced by opinions shared online, which increases to 57% among 25- to 34-year-olds.

Facebook is considered to be the most influential platform that gets talked about by a consumers’ group of friends (60% globally), while Twitter is best known as a platform that influences world opinion (45%).

The survey shows consumer expectations of brands are at an all-time high, with 85% of consumers using instant messaging to communicate with family and friends, which heightens an expectations for brands to respond quickly in turn. 

The desire for content worth sharing has grown by 15% globally, while desire for access about the latest news about products and developments has dropped by 13%.

Glen Parker, head of UM insight, EMEA, and author of Wave 9, said: "The omnipresence of social channels and mobile devices provides advertisers today with countless opportunities for engagement, but it is meaningful moments that connect brands with their audience in an emotionally relevant way.

"In order to be in the right place at the right time, we need to go back to basics and understand the ‘Who’, the ‘How’ and; the all-important ‘Why’. This is what Wave 9 empowers us to do."

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