Digital 2024 Australia highlights a power shift towards social media

Special Reports

Our latest ‘Digital 2024 Australia’ report, in partnership with Meltwater, shows a clear decline in traditional media usage, underscoring the importance of leveraging social media to reach and engage with people.

As another year rolls by, it’s that time again to take stock and look at our media consumption behaviours, to identify what’s going to drive success for brands. In partnership with Meltwater, global leader in social and media intelligence, we have just released Digital 2024 Australia, our latest annual report providing an in-depth analysis of the country’s digital, social and e-commerce landscape. 

The report highlights the growing importance of digital in Australia, with 25.21 million internet users, representing 95% of the population, and 20.80 million social media identities, equating to 86.5% of the adult population. 

Daily time spent on media reflects how prominent digital is for Australians aged 16 to 64, who now spend an average of 6 hours and 14 minutes using the internet each day, and 1 hour and 51 minutes on social media. Conversely, there is 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%).

Digital 2024 Australia reports that TikTok has the highest average time per Android user of any social app, with 42 hours and 13 minutes per month – equating to almost one and a half hours per day using the platform. In second place is YouTube, with the average user spending 21 hours and 36 minutes per month on its Android app. But Aussies stand out amongst top economies as the users spending the most time on Snapchat, with 17 hours and 2 minutes and *checks notes* 619 sessions per month. That means that users open the Snapchat app over 20 times a day 👀

TikTok’s significant ad reach, now close to 10 million (+17%), and high volume of downloads and consumer spend, are proof of its rising prominence in the social media landscape in Australia, otherwise dominated by Meta. 

Facebook remains the favourite platform for nearly one in four Australians, who spend an average of 20 hours and 15 minutes per month. 20 years after its launch, Facebook is still the leading social media platform in Australia, boasting a potential ad reach of over 16.65 million users, or 66% of internet users.

Instagram follows closely, with three in five internet users engaging with the platform, spending an average of 11 hours and 46 minutes per month. Its total potential ad reach shows the biggest growth among the top social apps, increasing by almost 20% in the past year, now close to 14 million. 

Suzie Shaw, CEO at We Are Social Australia, said: “The data in this year’s report speaks volumes about how integral digital platforms have become in the daily lives of Australians. 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.”

Social media is also a key source of information about brands and products for 58% of users aged 16 to 64, making it a crucial channel for marketers to utilise as part of their marketing mix.

Digital platforms continue to reshape the retail landscape, with a surge in online shopping activities, particularly in categories like electronics, fashion, food, and beverages, which take up most of our online spend. *adds to cart*

Online spending has grown substantially in the travel and tourism sector, reflecting Australians’ preference for digital booking channels. 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. Summer in Europe, anyone?

The report 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. Our experience demonstrates how gaming presents a huge opportunity for most brands, thanks to its incredible potential to connect with audiences in immersive and engaging ways.

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 ads maintains a significant share of the digital advertising market, with US$3.8 billion (+6%) – almost one-third of the total digital ad spend.

Worth noting that, whilst smaller, at US$460 million, influencer marketing spend has increased by 15%, representing an increasingly larger portion of the digital advertising spend. At We Are Social, we’ve been partnering with creators for over 15 years, and we know that influencer marketing, when done right, can be a winning strategy for brands to reach and meaningfully engage with people, driving results across the whole funnel. We expect this portion of spend to increase even further in the years ahead.

That’s all for today, but there’s a lot more to unpack in our Digital 2024 Australia report. You can view the report below or download it here.

If you’re keen to understand what all this means for your brand, and how you should evolve your strategy to stay ahead, please get in touch.