The Week Kickoff: Hate it or Love it, Social’s still on top

As the industry moves boldly into the second quarter of the year (and more tentatively out of the Covid-19 pandemic), we were treated to media research galore last week with the publication of a number of new studies: our love-hate relationship with social media continues, Amazon goes from strength-to-strength not only in ecommerce but also in advertising, and there are signs too that new global players – not to mention new media monetisation models – are beginning to enter the arena. So join us this week for a data-driven expedition around some of the key artefacts of the modern media landscape… 

7 in 10 US adults use social media

A new study from the Pew Research Centre has shown that roughly seven-in-ten Americans use some kind of social media site – a share that has remained relatively stable over the past five years. While these results are perhaps unsurprising, they come in stark contrast to the findings of an October 2020 report produced by the same think tank, which showed that 64% of Americans believe social media has a mostly negative effect on US life. 

So in other words, a lot of us dislike social, but we’re still using it. And this again will likely be an unsurprising stance to many based on their own experiences of these platforms in more recent years. But regulation is coming, and the hope of course is that a social media we can all enjoy sensibly may once again become a social pastime that becomes fun. Pie in the sky? Maybe. But this research shows that many in the US at least aren’t quite ready to hand in the modern equivalent of their Blockbuster video cards just yet…

Further findings from the report showed that YouTube and Facebook continue to dominate the online landscape, with usage rates at 81% and 69% of the US adult population respectively. Reddit’s seen some relatively significant growth, and of course da yoof are more likely to opt for channels like Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok. You can read the full results of the study here

Shein’s time to shine

But we can dig deeper still, as last week investment bank Piper Sandler released the results of its 41st semi-annual Taking Stock With Teens® survey in partnership with DECA. The sample is made up of 7,000 teens across 47 US states with an average age of 16.1yrs. Snapchat was found to be the preferred social media platform of this demographic (31% share), followed by TikTok (30%) and Instagram (24%), which interestingly is beginning to lose share. 

Interesting also in the findings of this report is that Shein, a Chinese fast-fashion brand that has amassed a large global following in recent years thanks in part to social media and influencer marketing, is now the second most popular ecommerce site in the US. With a 7% share, it’s unlikely to have market-leader Amazon (56% share) looking over its shoulder just yet, but offers a useful reminder of China’s growing prominence in the global economy, especially in more youth-orientated areas like fashion and social media.  

Amazon’s advertising business grew 53% last year

One of the reasons Amazon is unlikely to be looking back over its own shoulder in the ecommerce industry, is that it is too busy chasing down rivals in front of it in the digital advertising space. New research released by eMarketer last week showed that the company’s advertising business grew by 53% last year. This pushes its share of the total US digital ad market past 10% for the very first time. 

‘Importantly,’ says the study, ‘Amazon continues to slowly chip away at Google’s share of total US digital ad revenues – which will shrink from 28.9% in 2020 to 26.6% by 2023, even as its digital ad business grows.’ The market research company expects Amazon’s US ad business to grow another 30% this year, and you can view the full findings from the report here.

NFTs: New Fangled Technology

Another area of the digital ecosystem that has nudged its way into the media headlines this year is NTFs: Non-fungible tokens. Loosely speaking, an NFT is a unit of blockchain data and importantly, a unique one. These tokens can embody anything digital, but this new-fangled form of fashionable technology is currently making waves in – yep, you’ve guessed it – the art world.  

The Verge last week reported that the famous ‘Fyre Fest tweet with the sad sandwich will be auctioned as an NFT for medical expenses’. Trevor DeHaas, who originally tweeted the photo from the now infamous event, hopes to raise US$80,000 for a kidney transplant and daily dialysis treatment. It’s a whacky new world of digital content monetisation, which last month saw Jack Dorsey sell the first ever published tweet for $2.9 million and who else but Elon Musk also getting in on the act.

And for our part…

FIPP’s new training programme continues to expand, with two sessions coming up this week. On Thursday we have a brand new offering: ‘Winning Sales Proposals’, which provides a detailed understanding of the client decision-making process as well as importantly, a look at the journey a proposal takes through your client’s business. On Friday, this will be followed up with our hugely popular (understandably at the present time) ‘Planning and executing successful hybrid events’ programme. You can find out more about all FIPP Training here

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