ASIA PACIFIC - The use of social-media platforms Instagram and Snapchat has doubled across Asia Pacific since 2014 as engagement with these highly visual platforms continues to grow, according to Kantar TNS.
In the latest edition of its Connected Life study, which surveys more than 70,000 consumers across the region, the research consultancy reported that connected consumers are expanding their use of social media beyond Facebook and testing newer, more visual channels.
Zoë Lawrence, APAC digital director at Kantar TNS said the rise of Instagram and Snapchat highlights how consumers are eagerly adopting visual ways of expressing themselves as they embrace the ability to capture and share moments.
More importantly, Lawrence noted, the adoption of these new platforms is incremental—people are using them in addition to Facebook, WhatsApp and other social channels. This provides brands with multiple new channels to engage with consumers in a deeper and more effective way.
“What’s crucial is that brands no longer look at social channels as blank media space for advertising,” she added. “The results show that consumers are demanding content that is integrated seamlessly into the platform, enhancing rather than interrupting the use of it.”
To do this successfully, Lawrence said that it’s essential to maintain the brand values of the platform being used. Instagram is a place for highly curated, enhanced images, whereas Snapchat is raw, in-the-moment and humorous.
“Brands need to approach each platform individually to ensure the content created mixes seamlessly into the user-generated feed and maintains their own integrity,” she added.
Instagram has gained the most traction in Malaysia, with 73 percent of connected consumers using the platform to share beautifully edited and curated pictures with followers. Hong Kong and Singapore are not far behind, with 70 percent and 63 percent penetration, respectively.
Snapchat use is also growing across the region as the popularity of sending personalised ‘disappearing’ photos grows. Snapchat penetration is highest in Hong Kong, with almost half (46 percent) of internet users on the platform. And in Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand and Australia, around one in three connected consumers are sending photos on Snapchat.
In other developing Asian markets, an average of 40 percent of connected consumers are using Instagram and 13 percent using Snapchat while Instagram is the key photo platform across these markets, with 24 percent of internet users in Vietnam using Instagram (4 percent on Snapchat) and 16 percent of connected Cambodians on Instagram.
While young people are the biggest social media users across all platforms, the rise of the ‘Insta-Gran’ is also gaining momentum; one in five (19 percent) internet users in APAC aged between 55 to 65 years now uses Instagram, a 47 percent jump since this time last year.
The appeal of in-the-moment photo-sharing is also growing in this group, with 8 percent of those aged 55 to 65 on Snapchat, up from 2 percent in 2015.
The rise of these platforms provides brands with new opportunities to target and engage consumers, the report stated. However, brands need to be mindful of evolving consumer attitudes as they look to take advantage of the diversifying social media landscape.
The Connected Life results revealed that almost a quarter (23 percent) consumers in Asia Pacific ‘actively ignore’ social posts or content from brands. Businesses need to avoid being invasive as a third (33 percent) already feel ‘constantly followed’ by online advertising.
In addition, the study found that influencers and celebrities hold the key to connecting with consumers. Two out of five (40 percent) of online 16- to 24-year-olds in Asia Pacific say they trust what people say online about brands more than ‘official’ sources, such as newspapers, brands’ own websites or TV advertisements.
Younger people are the more influencer-oriented group, trusting bloggers and peers rather than information from brands. The older generation’s ‘influencer network’ is still primarily friends and family. However, considering this group’s adoption of other trends, they may soon be referring to social media influencers for inspiration and information.