Digital Trends: UK consumers chose specialist social networks

A quarter (25 per cent) of UK consumers are communicating using more specialist social networks dedicated to their precise needs*.

Digital Trends: UK consumers chose specialist social networks
Digital Trends: UK consumers chose specialist social networks

According to the latest survey into Digital Trends by Microsoft, some consumers are feeling "overwhelmed" by large social networks.

In turn, they are looking towards more specialized, dedicated apps and niche networks to meet the needs of the different aspects of their online lives.

Microsoft’s survey reports: "Users are spending less time on major one-stop-shop platforms and are choosing the private, local, personal and in-depth such as WhatsApp, WeChat, and Instagram, which have all experiencing substantial growth in activity."

This trend for consumers to look for specialist forms of social media – Niche Networks - is one of eight key digital trends that Microsoft has identified as it maps changing and emerging consumer behaviour and attitudes globally toward brands and advertising.

Other insights for brands regarding the evolution of consumers’ social choices include:      

  • As consumer behaviour changes and some look for solutions outside the traditional social networks, brands will need to work harder to prove they can provide access to the niche communities and "walled villages". 
  • This presents a golden opportunity for brands looking to build closer and more rewarding relationships with consumers, and as the internet becomes even more structured around specialist uses, brands will have to demonstrate relevance and value to each individual.

* From around 1,000 respondents in the UK. 

Microsoft Advertising has joined forces with Brand Republic at to share the findings of its research insights into the future of digital behaviour and technology with brands and agencies. 

The first study is called Digital Trends and was conducted with IPG Mediabrands and The Future Laboratory. Visit to find out more on emerging digital consumer trends among early adopters as well as regular and heavy Internet users. The study examined awareness and engagement with trends, and evaluated behaviour and attitudes toward technology.            

Follow the debate about these findings on Twitter at @MSAdvertisingUK and use the hashtag #MSFTinsight to join in.