The social media landscape has changed significantly in recent years with the arrival of Snapchat and the meteoric rise of Instagram. So much so, there’s a strong need for businesses and professionals working in Communications, Advertising and PR to follow the very latest research on Social Media usage rates.
Mintel Ireland has just released its 2019 research on Social Media Networking in Ireland providing detailed statistics on the behaviours, preferences and habits of consumer in RoI and NI towards social media.
Below, I’ve reviewed the research and provided my own analysis on the popularity of social media networks here, Irish people’s preferred activity on social media and their attitudes towards brands on social media. It’s a great resource full of the most up-to-date facts and figures on social media in Ireland!
Popularity of social media by Network
The 2019 Social Media Networking in Ireland Report clearly shows Facebook as the king of the major social networks with an average of 75% of Irish adults logging on regularly. No other social media network comes close to matching the reach among a wide range of demographics than Facebook. From a marketing point of view – for most organisations and businesses if they want to be successful, then they have to get Facebook right.
Social Media Republic of Ireland 2019 – Network Use Summary
Social Media Northern Ireland 2019 – Network Use Summary
Perhaps the most revealing finding is the extent of popularity of Instagram. Research by Toluna / Mintel positions the network as the second most popular in Ireland with an average of 39% people in Ireland using it (40% in RoI; 38% in NI)
Twitter use across Ireland is an impressive 29% amid mounting evidence of a steep long-term decline in its users globally. According to Forbes.com Twitter has experienced an overall drop of 100 million tweeting users in the last six years to just 250 million while its total tweet volume has dropped 40% to just 300 million Tweets.
Snapchat usage in Ireland has skyrocketed in the past two years with 28% and 26% of over 16s using the app in Rep of Ireland and Northern Ireland respectively. The rapid rise in Snapchat usage also highlights a more complex usage of social media by millennials who heavily rely on Snapchat (and indeed Instagram) for social media use. It’s worth noting however that most younger people I talk to at seminars and workshops are adamant that Snapchat is fast falling out of favour as they spend greater time on Instagram.
Another noteworthy statistic is the current usage of Pinterest, an image-based social media network used for research, discovery and collation of visual images – from travel to food and décor. Mintel latest report shows an average of 20.5% of adults across Ireland using the network. More generally, Pinterest report impressive worldwide growth – 291 million users in Q1 in 2019 with a total of 700,000 users in Ireland.
The Mintel report highlights a mixed picture of Linkedin across Ireland with significantly more people in the Republic of Ireland using the site compared to people in NI. Part of the reason for the disparity could be down to the much higher private sector employment in RoI and a greater sophistication of business leaders and professionals using social media for business.
Social Media Content Liked by People
One of the most interesting areas examined by the Mintel report is the type of social media content that consumers actually like and engage with. A common problem for businesses using social media is the quality and appeal of their content on social media – with too many brands posting content that is of little interest to their followers. Indeed the focus on self-promotion and product news by many brands who tend to broadcast self-congratulatory corporate content via social media, suggests a major mismatch between them and their audiences.
So it’s always valuable to look at what people actually respond well to on social media and for businesses to try to reflect popular types of content in your marketing activity were appropriate.
Irish consumers have a strong preference for humorous and vanity related content. Comedy / humorous content was the most popular (47%), with personal media and status update content accounting for 42% and 27% in the Republic of Ireland respectively.
Despite ongoing concerns about the reliability of news on social media, it’s clear that people heavily rely on social networks for news, current affairs and political content. And according to Mintel Ireland, a quarter of people here like this type of content.
Hospitality businesses, from restaurants to hotels and tourism attractions, should note the continued popularity of content and reviews relating to food, drink and venues in Ireland. The data shows an average of 16% of people across Ireland liking this type of content. In my experience it’s certainly an area that hospitality businesses should take more seriously and also work to encourage positive content and reviews which still act as a highly valuable content online.
Work-related status updates are still relatively popular in Ireland covering the posting of content on job updates and (presumably) their work life and experiences too. Businesses, and particularly HR units, need to be more aware of the blurred line between worklife and and pubic commentary on social media.
Consumer Interaction With Brands on Social Media
The Mintel Ireland research also looked at how Irish consumers interact with brands. The study found that consumers “continue to use social networking sites to interact with brands. Companies’ social networking profiles are considered a better source of brand information and raising issues with companies on these platforms is more effective than contacting them directly.”
The research supports the importance of Irish brands having a strong capability to deal professionally with customer interaction and relations via social media, ensuring they continue investing in resourcing their performance on social to respond quickly and resolve issues that consumers raise with them.
Consumer views on social media advertising were also tested with Irish people believing that social media advertising is one of the most effective ways of reaching them online. Three in 10 NI and 35% of RoI consumers consider advertising on social network feeds to be effective in gaining their attention reaching them.
Changing Attitudes Towards Social Media in Ireland
The past two years have witnessed multiple concerns about the effect of major social networks on people’s privacy, news, democracy and their addictive qualities.
The survey also looked at consumer attitudes towards the impact of social media on society and their own lives. Overall, “Consumers remain concerned about the level of negative behaviour and harmful content on social networking sites” according to the research. Over 86% of Irish consumers believed it was important to take time away from social and media networks each day, and the vast majority of consumers are worried about the impact and influence of social networks on their children’s development. Finally, 80% of Irish consumers think that social media act as a distraction from ‘real life’ (Toluna, March 2019).
Social Media Demographics: Young People
Social Media use among different demographics varies considerably, particularly in regard to age groups and their primary networks of choice. There’s been a lot of debate about young people’s usage and attitudes towards Facebook in the media this year, with mounting evidence of young people deserting Facebook in terms of their actual time on site with a huge preference for Instagram.
The Mintel research examined the extent to which different demographics and genders log into Facebook regularly (i.e: At least one per week). The report shows:
- Very high levels of Facebook logins across most demographics, with the 24 – 35 demographic being the most likely to login regularly.
- 16-24 year olds in Rep of Ireland are much less likely to use Facebook regularly compared to their NI counterparts.
- Considerably more females use Facebook regularly than males
Mintel’s data on Facebook’s usage by demographic only tells us so much about Millennials and Generation Z (people born between 1981 – 1996) use of Facebook. There’s strong evidence that many of them have a Facebook account, but have moved away from using it on a regular basis. In short, Facebook is a network that may be useful to have downloaded on their smart phones but not one that they use for their main social activity. For a deeper insight into young people’s use of Facebook check out:
However it’s important to stress the overall continued success and dominance of Facebook as a media network among the plus 35s to late 50s demographics. And as the 2019 Mintel Ireland Report shows, its average use in Ireland stands at 75% of adults logging on regularly.
Linkedin: Dispelling the Myths
“People only use Linkedin to find a job!” It’s a very common quote heard when I ask business people about their use of Linkedin.
However the research from Mintel clearly dispels the myth highlighting that “Consumers who are working full-time are more likely to log on to the platform regularly while unemployed consumers are the least likely”. This suggests that, as well as seeking out career opportunities, employed consumers are using the platform to connect with key people to keep informed about new developments and the latest trends taking place within their industry.