One in four UK consumers spend more than five hours a day on social media

A man looking at his Facebook profile.
One in four UK consumers spend more than five hours a day on social media
Duncan is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years experience in journalism. Having launched his tech journalism career as editor of Arabian Computer News in Dubai, he has since edited an array of tech and digital marketing publications, including Computer Business Review, TechWeekEurope, Figaro Digital, Digit and Marketing Gazette.

The majority (53%) of UK consumers spend two to four hours a day on social platforms, while a further one in four spend more than five hours a day scrolling, watching and clicking through their social feeds.

These are some of the key findings from a study by Integral Ad Science (IAS), a specialist in digital media quality.

The Social Media Ad Receptivity report is based on a survey of online UK consumers, provides an overview of social media usage, as well as insights into user perceptions of social media advertising.

Social media has become a significant channel for advertisers to reach online consumers in the UK, with ad spend projected to hit £8.95bn by 2023.

The IAS study revealed that the most popular social platforms include Facebook, followed by YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Consumers engage on mobile devices most often, with 76% claiming that it is the most common device for them to view social media content, followed by desktop (14%) and tablet (10%).

Social consumption has increased since the pandemic and in line with global stay-at-home orders. The study found that 15% of Brits have increased engagement with in-feed social ads to shop online since the Covid-19 pandemic started.

Almost nine in 10 UK consumers (86%) engaged with – clicked on, for example – an ad on social media in 2021. In fact, almost half of consumers (40%) say that they’re more likely to engage with in-feed ads than with those on online web pages.

Consumers are not only willing to engage with brands on social environments, but one in five (19%) purchased a product or service advertised in between their social news feed.

When asked about the format of ads, more consumers prefer viewing display ads (45%), rather than video ads (26%). Comparatively, 35% want to see ads from specific brand accounts on their social feeds, and only 21% prefer to see ads from online influencers.

Despite this, IAS research also points to some significant risks for brands, especially when it comes to social media ads that appear next to unsafe content – content that conflicts with a brand’s values and puts its reputation at risk.

36% of online UK consumers argue that the growth of fake news has made them less trusting of ads on social feeds. For ads that run next to unsafe content, 67% of consumers hold the social platform accountable, but a significant 31% hold the brand accountable.

Other key risk statistics from the survey include:

●      35% have an unfavourable view of a brand whose ad appears next to content that does not align with the brand’s image

●      55% are unlikely to purchase a product or service advertised on social media feeds that is next to unsafe content

Nevertheless, brands have opportunities for huge rewards through social media advertising by using technology to control the context beside which their ads appear:

●      47% feel favourable towards brands whose in-feed social ads appear next to content that aligns with a brand’s image

●      46% are likely to purchase a product or service advertised on their social feed if it is related to the content being viewed

●      53% are likely to remember an in-feed ad if its message relates to the adjacent social content

Paul Nasse, regional VP, Agency Partnerships, EMEA at Integral Ad Science, said: “It’s clear that social media consumption by consumers and ad spend by brands is at an all-time high and shows no signs of slowing down. Hyper-growth social platforms are a beacon for eyes and engagement, and a potentially lucrative source of revenue for marketers who invest their ad dollars wisely.

“The research demonstrates that marketers need to take into account the context of their social media ads and where they appear to maximise their investment. This responsibility lies with the entire advertising ecosystem to deliver ads that are engaging for a better online consumer experience.”

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person? Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.

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