Global Web Index launches its flagship report on the latest trends in social media.
Audience targeting company, Global Web Index (GWI), releases their flagship report that highlights the latest trends on social media. The study was done with a particular focus on how COVID-19 has influenced crucial trends. Here are the key insights -
Now let's dive deeper into these insights and also get an overview on what's the trends in Middle East social media market.
According to the study, while social media continues to face heated debates against Governments with regards to its morality, 95% of the online population continue to use social websites or apps. Among other things, consumers have come to depend on them for connecting, entertainment, and news updates; so the study believes that the discussion should really center around how platforms can earn back the trust of their steady user base.
The study recorded that the majority of the world's most hopeful social networkers are based in the Middle East region (45%).
Up until the end of 2019, data from GWI showed social media becoming less about connecting than consuming content. But the pandemic has revived the social aspects of social media- with people relying on these platforms to replace the physical interactions they’d lost, and this trends continues to grow even today. This is even the case among the Gen Z generation, who consume content on these platforms in much larger doses.
Despite the return of more “traditional” incentives for using social media, marketeers and brands should be aware of how it continues to evolve – which is well-demonstrated by Gen Z. A good example is livestreaming, with around one in four consumers now listing them as a leading motivation, even with China excluded; such figures were unheard of pre-pandemic.
The time spent on social media gained new ground in 2020- climbing in 32 of our 47 tracked markets. The average time spent on social media in the UAE has increased from three hours and three minutes in 2019 to three hours and six minutes in 2020. In KSA, average time spent increased from three hours and eight minutes in 2019 to three hours and eleven minutes in 2020.
What are the leading platforms?
Despite reports of Facebook deleters growing in ranks, it remains the world’s most popular social network. Breaking down platform engagement by generation also reveals more nuance. While a high proportion of Gen Zs still use Facebook on a weekly basis, it falls significantly behind Instagram in popularity. Social media users of all ages are paying more attention to whether platforms tackle the threat of misinformation and work to promote social justice.
Every market has their favorite platform. In the UAE and Saudi Arabia, Whatsapp ranks as the most popular platform with 35% and 26% respectively.
The rise of social shopping and commerce
Image sharing site Pinterest has been around for a long time but now with the rise in social shopping, Pinterest might garner more traffic than ever before. Currently, around four in 10 Pinterest users log onto the site to research brands and products, making discovery a lot more likely. What’s more, the majority seek purchase and lifestyle inspiration, which has been in high demand during the pandemic.
Home decor, food, and fashion are the top categories among Pinners. Men take the lead when it comes to seeking fitness, travel, and family inspiration. And even more Gen Zs are monthly users, which puts them above other generations.Compared to other 16-23 year olds, this group over-indexes most for being interested in DIY and environmental issues. Pins that appeal to their dreams of a wholesome home and planet are therefore primed for success.
Ecommerce-driven brands in the above-mentioned industries ultimately stand to benefit from investing in Pinterest, particularly as it continues to introduce features that facilitate buying and selling.
The pandemic created a gap for virtual live events to fill, as many began craving human connection. A report GWI published in July on virtual interactions showed its long-term potential, with 51% in the U.S. and UK saying they planned to communicate online to the same extent once restrictions were lifted.
Companies should be thinking along these lines, and aim to create online communities centered around the themes or interests most relevant to them. Creating enclosed spaces will encourage people to open up and share experiences, enhancing brand loyalty in the process. Selecting appropriate influencers to host livestreams builds trust, while finding ways for viewers to participate before, during, and after an event through activities like chal-enges and Q&As will drive social interaction and sentiments of belonging.
How the tide has changed for influencers
Influencers, despite all the backlash, continue to have a strong hold on consumers, particularly younger generations – with Gen Zs being almost as likely to follow influencers as brands. They are now viewed as a valuable tool to help brands engage with customers in a more human, empathetic, and personal way.
Influencer followers also have a varied list of passions beyond travel and beauty.
Followers now want more raw, unfiltered content, which they currently relate to better than glitzy backdrops. Influencers that offer lifestyle tips and encourage people to open up and express their frustrations, while voicing their own, are best-placed to engage their followers in a meaningful way.