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February, 2024

Digital Australia 2024 report: Social media dominates as TikTok engagement and advertising surges, TV and streaming TV viewing declines

A new report from Meltwater and We are Social shows hefty growth in social engagement on TikTok, ongoing loyalty to Facebook and significant advertising dollars in both, against declining broadcast and streaming TV viewing across national consumers.

The ‘Digital 2024 Australia’ report highlights the growing importance of digital in Australia for consumers, showing average digital use is now 6 hours 14 minutes per day, including nearly two hours on social media. In the aged 16 to 64 bracket, there are 25.21 million internet users, representing 95% of the population, and 20.8 million social media identities, equating to 86.5% of the adult population.

Conversely, the report showed a notable decline in time spent watching broadcast and streaming TV (-15%), reading online and press content (-44%), streaming music (-13%), listening to broadcast radio (-15%) and podcasts (-33%), and using game consoles (-30%).

TikTok has the highest average time per Android user of any social app, with over 42 hours and 13 minutes per month. YouTube is in second place, with the average user spending over 21 hours and 36 minutes per month on its Android app. TikTok’s ad reach is close to 10 million (+17%), indicating its rising prominence in the Australian social media landscape.

Yet despite this, Facebook remains the favourite platform for nearly one in four Australians, who spend an average of 20 hours and 15 minutes per month. It has a potential ad reach of over 16.65 million users, or 66% of internet users.

Instagram is used by three in five internet users, who spend an average of 11 hours and 46 minutes per month. Its total potential ad reach has grown by almost 20% in the past year, now close to 14 million. Australians also stand out amongst top economies as the users spending the most time on Snapchat, with 17 hours and 2 minutes and 619 sessions per month.

The report also underscores the pivotal role of social media as a key source of information about brands and products, with 58% of users aged 16 to 64 turning to social networks for this purpose. Furthermore, digital platforms continue to reshape the retail landscape, with a surge in online shopping activities, particularly in categories like electronics, fashion, food, and beverages. More than half (58%) of users aged 16 to 64 turn to social networks for information about brands and products.

“The data from this year’s report reaffirms how social media stands as the cornerstone of brand engagement and consumer interaction, with the growing investment in social media advertising further underscoring its pivotal role in a brand’s overall marketing strategy,” said Meltwater Asia-Pacific Executive Director David Hickey.

“As social media continues to shape consumer behaviour, it has become imperative for marketers to understand and capitalise on key insights from these platforms. These insights not only inform the refinement and effectiveness of future campaigns, but also serve as the bedrock for maximising returns on their investment.”

Outside of social, the digital report looked at online spending, which has grown substantially in the travel and tourism sector, reflecting Australians’ preference for digital booking channels. Notably, the annual online spend on flights surged by 44%, amounting to over US$10 billion, while spending on hotels grew by 34%, reaching almost US$6 billion.

The report also sheds light on our gaming habits, revealing that nearly 8 out of 10 Australian internet users aged 16 to 64 play video games, with hand-held gaming devices showing the strongest growth, +22%, signalling momentum behind on-the-go gaming.

Australian digital advertising spend continues to grow, reaching US$13.5 billion in 2023, representing 72.4% of total ad spend, now at US$18.6 billion. Social media advertising maintains a significant share of the digital advertising market, with US$3.8 billion (+6%), representing almost one-third of the total digital ad spend. Whilst smaller, at US$460 million, influencer marketing spend has increased by 15%, representing an increasingly larger portion of the digital advertising spend

“The data in this year’s report speaks volumes about how integral digital platforms have become in the daily lives of Australians,” We Are Social CEO Suzie Shaw said. “With almost all of the population active on social media, it’s clear that these platforms are no longer just an option but a necessity for brands to connect and engage with their audience.

“The remarkable surge in TikTok usage is proof of its evolution from an emerging platform to a pivotal channel. With its engaging content and sophisticated algorithm, TikTok captivates users’ attention like no other platform. Creators can be powerful allies for brands on the platform, boosting their cultural clout, helping them reach new audiences and influencing people’s choices. But TikTok is different from any other social platform. Marketers must grasp its nuances to capitalise on its immense potential.”