The State of Social Media In The UK

Beginning of 2012 has brought in a lot of predictions and opportunities. Another chance to look at the social media universe, analyse the trends and make the strategies. But before starting this, it is always good to look back at how 2011 has been for our different sites and then go on to predict how it would be in future. I feel, these statistics can help you figure out which network has the right demographics for your brand, age and income group.

Our data sources for this article were Xposure and Nielson.

UK Facebook statistics

 

Facebook now has a reach of just over 30 million unique users for the UK. That means the proportion of the UK total population registered with the site is fast approaching 50%.

The demographic breakdown is even more interesting, though. 25-34 year olds are now the largest age group on Facebook as we enter 2012, with users under 17 years making up just 5% of the user base. Therefore, it is good to note that 95% of the population is adult age group.

Another important fact to note is that 42% of users claim to be in the £30k-£49,999 income bracket – and the second most highly represented bracket is £50k plus, at 22%!

fb incomefb age

Therefore there is a great deal of potential for high-end luxury brands to meet their right customers base.

UK Twitter statistics:

 

Twitter has shown explosive growth this year, with the number of reported users more than doubling from 12 million to 26 million.
T
witter’s age profile is again dominated by the 25-44 age group, accounting for over 60% of users.twitter age

twitter income

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LinkedIn

LinkedIn also continues to grow, and now looks to reach around 10% of the UK population.

Its users have some way to go to be as dedicated as Facebook’s though, with an average visit lasting less than half the time spent on Facebook. It is also good to know that in terms of disposable income, LinkedIn has the highest percentage of people in the high income group.

linkedin income

linkedin age

 

Tumblr is another platform to watch, with major growth during 2011 and Nielson’s third quarter report putting it at #2 in the UK by page views.

Google+ made its debut to great excitement in 2011, According to socialtimes, the UK total user base is still under one million – and globally, only 17% of those signing up become regular, active users.

The losers

Last.fm, Bebo and MySpace continue their steady decline, while image-sharing site Flickr maintains its user base of around four million.

 

Get Ready for the Bots – on Facebook Messenger

2Facebook Messenger was released 5 years ago and now has over 900 million users. Originally receiving a flood of negativity towards a standalone messaging app, compared to one simple Facebook app, users seem to be warming to it. The decision to make it standalone does make a lot of sense, since messaging is a big part of people’s lives nowadays and Facebook even bought the domain messenger.com to launch a version for web browsers last year. Their 900 million users will more than likely be merged with Whatsapp’s 1 billion users, which means that Facebook will have the personal phone number of every single user – sounds like $19 billion well spent.

 

Open for Business

So that’s humans covered. Where to go next? Facebook is now venturing into their next Messenger-based project: bots. If you haven’t been keeping up, Facebook launched Messenger Platform last month, which holds within it, chatterbots. Luckily, these bots are not machine learning bots, such as the disaster that was Microsoft’s Tay. They do have some humorous replies if provoked but they ultimately steer the conversation back to the subject they’re designed to cater for. Thanks to their highly advanced Send/Receive API, these bots are able to reply with actual structured messages, including links, images, hotel reservations, the weather etc. You may immediately compare this to Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana, Google Now and Amazon Echo, but what sets bots on Messenger apart is the fact that businesses can develop them, which in turn gives them another way to develop customer service. Simply put, bots could end up changing the world by replacing humans in such job sectors. Without the bespoke customer service integration that Messenger bots provide, the above voice-activated services will most likely not be able to solve business-related queries themselves. Having said that, the way bots behave is very reminiscent of the way Siri does. Maybe they’ll talk to each other one day and we’ll get the best of both.

 

Customer Service and Added Value

So how can these bots work for brands? Well, eventually, every major company in the world will have an account, which will be a first port of call when contacting their company. The reason this is almost definite is due to Facebook’s already-mammoth-sized network of users. It doesn’t get any bigger than Facebook when advertising to individual people, so connecting Messenger bots (as customer sales reps, for example) is extremely attractive. Messenger codes, one of many things taken from Snapchat, will also make it easier for businesses to connect with their customers. One industry example is how bots will almost certainly change how banking works for the consumer, replacing an app or web-based system with a dialogue with a machine that is able to understand your every need. The option to send money within Messenger itself is highly likely too, like Snapchat allows. This could also eliminate the hassle of speaking to a bank’s voice recognition system when calling by telephone – no more time (and money) wasted by the dreaded “I didn’t catch that. Please try again.” These voice recognition systems are essentially bots done badly, but they’re based on voice, which is a lot more difficult to translate into zeros and ones. Plus, you cannot autocorrect your voice (yet). I can see this whole system being replaced by bots – it could even connect you to a human advisor with ease, as you’re most likely already using your phone. Even if you’re using the desktop version or Facebook Chat, I’m sure they’ll figure something out. Besides banks, what other markets will benefit from this? Restaurants, travel and possibly supermarkets with online shopping services are big industries for it to thrive. The healthcare industry could also be a large portion – Healthtap have already created their bot, which isn’t surprising considering one of the first ever chatterbots was called DOCTOR and simulated a psychotherapist. In fact, the potential amount of markets are endless for this stream of interaction – just like it is with human customer service.

 

At the end of the day, customers are moving towards messaging as their preferred choice of customer service. And as generations progress, it will no doubt become the standard – a phone call will most likely be reserved for long, meaningful conversations with friends and family, which in turn will add even more meaning to them. The phone call will no longer be taken for granted, but talking to robots will be.