In the study, Sensis surveyed 1,100 Australian businesses and 800 consumers. The report revealed that businesses are mainly investing in social media as a two-way communication channel with their customers (84 per cent) and for customer feedback or reviews (68 per cent). Fewer than a third of businesses are using social media to offer their customers incentives.
When asked what they want from brands via social media, consumers were not interested in conversations. Discounts topped the list (45 per cent), followed by giveaways (35 per cent) and coupons (30 per cent). In addition, the survey revealed a large increase in consumers stating they wanted nothing at all from brands (34 per cent, up from 26 per cent in 2014).
“These results were a bit of a surprise to us too,” said Evan Ravensdale, general manager of digital at Senesis. “But the great thing about knowing that your customers want to receive special offers is that it allows marketers to tailor their campaigns to individual segments.”
While in many parts of Asia discount and coupon-based marketing and selling is heavily used, Ravensdale believes this type of marketing hasn’t historically been a big part of the way Australian retailers market themselves.
The online market in Australia has seen increased competition and the report suggests that consumers are demanding more functional incentives on social media. “Suddenly everyone has a discount offer for signing up to a mailing list and so on,” Ravensdale added.
In addition, over two-thirds of Australians have a social-media presence, yet only a third of businesses have a social-media engagement strategy. Of those businesses, only a quarter are measuring the return on investment.
The study also revealed that nearly half of the businesses surveyed (46 per cent) said they had invested money in social media at some stage but had no idea how much they had spent.
When it came to age groups, the under-30s were the most avid brand followers on social media.
“As with many other digital technologies, they were introduced to it as a commercial proposition and are perhaps far more willing to adapt than older users,” said Ravensdale.
“Interestingly, there has been a massive rise in the 50- to 64-year-old age group following brands on social media. They increased from 18 per cent last year to 33 per cent in 2015.”
Ultimately, Ravensdale believes Australian consumers do want to hear from brands on social media—just not in the ways that brands are using the platforms.
Other key findings in the report include:
- Of those who use social media to research products, 49 per cent ended up purchasing as a result (down from 63 per cent last year)
- 38 per cent of consumers are quite happy to see ads on social media. 39 per cent are not and 23 per cent don’t care
- Around a quarter of social-media users (24 per cent) have posted a review on a product or service during the past 12 months, with dramatic increases for the accommodation and dining sectors.
- Frequency is up, with those checking social media more than five times a day now at 24 per cent of users (up from 19 per cent last year).