Twitter remains a paradox in Australia – numbers down but usage explodes (research)

sensis social media report 2016

The annual Australian Sensis Social Media Report, released today, contains some very interesting statistics around Twitter in particular.

According to the Sensis data, Twitter’s Australian numbers overall indicate a social networking platform in decline (this is reflective of a broader global trend).

However, the 2016 research report shows there is more to Twitter than meets the eye. Here are two findings that challenge the commonly-held belief that Twitter is dying.

In terms of frequency of use, Twitter leads all comers, including social networking behemoth, Facebook.

Have I got your attention?

While Facebook remains the social media platform of choice with 95 per cent of Australian social media users compared to Twitter’s 19 per cent, it’s the latter that boasts the highest frequency of usage averaging 35 average times per week, followed by Facebook at 31.9 and Instagram at 29.4 times (see table below).

But the real surprise is Twitter’s mighty usage jump; last year its average usage languished around 12 times per week (see graph below: ‘Average Usage Occasions Per Week’).

As Sensis writes in its report: “Twitter use frequency had declined in recent surveys but this year average usage has almost tripled.”

social media usage in Australia

twitter statistics australia

But the Twitter story doesn’t end there.

According to Sensis, Twitter users appear to be following a lot more accounts now, with the average number increasing by nearly 200 to 315.

The report states: “Frequency of use has risen substantially too, with 47% tweeting most days compared to 22% last year and 16% in 2014. The proportion who never tweet has also fallen markedly to 8%, down from 31% in 2014 and 16% last year.”

twitter friends australia

Even the average time spent on Twitter has jumped more than 100 per cent, from 10 to almost 24 minutes.

Instagram also experienced a similar hefty increase in average time spent on the network, from from nine to 24 minutes.

time spent on twitter

With so much doom and gloom being written about Twitter, I must say I didn’t see this coming.

Whether it’s an aberration or not, clearly the data indicates that while Twitter’s not growing, it is still a popular and influential network (coincidentally, I wrote about my observations of Twitter recently – Twitter may be facing some challenges, but don’t under-estimate its power to influence). 

social media statistics australia

And the Twitter paradox continues.

Interestingly, while Twitter is only the fifth most popular social network in Australia after Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Snapchat, according to Sensis it continues to be the most common platform people have stopped using (34 per cent in the past year) followed by Facebook (15 per cent), Instagram (13 per cent) and LinkedIn (11 per cent).

Meanwhile, Instagram continues to grow steadily, while Snapchat has also risen from 15 per cent to 22 per cent.

So what’s the upshot of all this renewed Twitter activity?

Clearly the platform is not growing in terms of users, but those using it are way more deeply involved.

If connection, reach and influence are important for your brand, Twitter remains a viable platform in this country. Obviously it also continues to serve well those brands that require a direct-to-public customer service channel as well.

And while it feels like Twitter is becoming more of a one-way broadcast channel of late (communications strategist Simon Mossman recently wrote how Twitter has finally discovered itself as a news channel), there is a sensible contrarian view; according to one of my savvy social media friends, he is diving back in to Twitter because “amongst all the noise, the value stands out more”.

As I’ve written in the past:

Twitter is still potentially the most influential social network. Why?  Because tweets are published in real-time and, importantly, are streamed in front of the ‘public eye’ (unlike many individuals’ Facebook accounts). Twitter is inhabited by journalists, bloggers, podcasters, celebrities and media personalities, politicians and policy-makers as well as industry and community leaders and influencers. These are the people who make the world go round, who have the ability to influence the masses in one way or another and therefore potentially can impact the way in which we work and live.

Want to know more? Here are the 20 must-know stats from the 2016 Sensis Social Media Report.



Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *