15 interesting facts about social media use in the UK

I stumbled across a free tool recently called Global Index Web Lite, which provides social media usage insights for 15 countries around the world including the USA, UK, Australia and China.

After getting over the shock that a free resource like this exists, I thought it’d be useful to pull out the key findings of this research and highlight some specific consumption habits from each major age group.

Let’s set the scene by looking at the top five overall results by section:

Social Media Use in UK

Although the data in this particular chart isn’t particularly earth shattering, it is a good reminder of what brands should keep in mind when developing communications activities that involve social media channels.

The more interesting stuff reveals itself when you start to look at each age group.

55+ yrs

  1. Key ‘motivation’ fact: Using social media to finding information on films and music by this age group is significantly less common when compared with the UK average. Takeout = Hollywood should stick to more traditional means to reach this age group (for now)
  2. Key ‘participation’ fact: This audience reads blogs much less regularly than the UK average but they like to listen to live online radio and comment on new stories at levels much closer to the national average. Takeout = ‘Traditional’ online media continues to be the most popular form of participation.
  3. Key ‘perceptions’ fact: This age group is nearly twice as supportive of targeted online ads than the national average. Takeout = Feel confident about using paid for media when approaching this age group.

45-54 yrs

  1. Key ‘motivation’ fact: Research. Research. Research. Whether it is for work, consumer products or how to do things, this age group uses will seek out advice more than the national average. Takeout = How to blogs posts, Q&A sites and general evergreen content should be key part of your arsenal for this audience.
  2. Key ‘participation’ fact: Managing social profiles are much less of a priority for this age group than the national average. Takeout = Substance over style rule applies.
  3. Key ‘perceptions’ fact: Like the 55+ age group, people in this bracket are much more open to brand engagement than the national average. Takeout = It should be easier for brands to infiltrate established communities.

35-44 yrs

  1. Key ‘motivation’ fact: This age group will turn to social media for inspiration / to get ideas more than the average person. Takeout = Effective SEO is an obvious and important element when communicating with this audience.
  2. Key ‘participation’ fact: The participation habits of this group almost exactly mirror the national average.
  3. Key ‘perceptions’ fact: Again, the data for this age group mirrors the national average, meaning they are relatively open to brand engagement. Takeout = A balance between paid and editorial content is suited to this audience.

25–34 yrs

  1. Key ‘motivation’ fact: Using social media to stay up to date with news and events is very popular amongst this age group. Takeout = Integrating PR / news generation with social media is important if you want to reach this group.
  2. Key ‘participation’ fact: This age group reads blogs and enters into discussions in forums more than the national average. Takeout = This age group has opinions and are highly likely to talk about a brands performance in multiple online places.
  3. Key ‘perceptions’ fact: Cynicism about brands is more apparent amongst this age group, with things like targeted advertising not as well received. Takeout = This age group can be engaged with if undertaken in a very ‘proper’ way.

18-24 yrs

  1. Key ‘motivation’ fact: Relationships and research are both big for this age group but so is ‘time-wasting’ – browsing channels to fill in spare time. Takeout = Time-wasting / humorous content and websites like Fark.com are popular for this very reason.
  2. Key ‘participation’ fact: Every reason to participate is above the national average for this age group, especially managing social profiles. Takeout = helping this age group facilitate conversations with their friends is powerful.
  3. Key ‘perceptions’ fact: This age group likes to be contacted when they Tweet about a brand. Takeout: Consider branded ‘call-out’ tweets as an invitation to engage.

As with most things relating to social media, much of this information falls in the common sense bucket.

But, having this data to hand makes shaping activity a lot easier and hopefully a lot more successful.

Was there anything that surprised you about these results?

About Adam Vincenzini

Adam Vincenzini is the Lead Social Media Consultant at London-based agency, Paratus Communications.

He regularly blogs at  COMMScorner.com and is the European Contributing Editor for PR Daily.

5 Responses to 15 interesting facts about social media use in the UK
  1. RebeccaMaschke
    February 16, 2011 | 7:01 am

    Great article! I especially like the “take-outs” – thanks! I’ll definitely check out the stats for Germany…

  2. […] 15 interesting facts about social media use in the UK. […]

  3. […] 15 interesting facts about social media usage in the UK –  a guest post I wrote over on Jeff Esposito’s blog #demographics #UK […]

  4. State of Social Media in the USA
    March 8, 2011 | 1:30 am

    […] our keyboards towards trans-Atlantic posts on our respectivecountries.  Adam struck first with this post on the UK’s statistics. I suggest giving a read as it’ll help you in your research. Now it’s […]

  5. […] la publicación del informe de Adam struckpost sobre el estado de los medios de comunicación social en el Reino Unido, Jeff Esposito publica 10 […]

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