It's 2019 and social platforms are no longer optional for marketers. Not leveraging the time spent on social today is akin to ignoring the mobile screen in 2016: you can create what looks like a full plan but it has a massive hole in it.
The driver of social advertising is, unsurprisingly, usage. While “social media” in the form of online forums has been around since 1984 it didn’t really take off until the age of Friendster, MySpace, and then Facebook.
When we look at the growth of social media usage in the US we can see that it tracks with other digital innovations:
This usage of social by Americans translates into a huge portion of their mobile digital time. The smartphone is an ideal device for sharing life moments because it is always with the user, it has audio and video capabilities built in, and it allows for high quality imagery. One stat we hear from the teams at Facebook is that social platform’s users scroll the same distance as the height of the Eiffel Tower every day. This frenetic consumption of content on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other platforms provides fertile ground for awareness advertising.
With this amount of activity on the platforms, is it feasible to create a marketing plan that does not include social? We don’t think so.
Averaging the Stats
If you’re like us you see a lot of stats and they don’t always line up. We got frustrated with seeing different numbers from different sources so we decided to compile the top recent usage stats into one place. This chart shows the most recent data on platform usage and the variance between the different studies:
Most marketers know that the young rule social media, but some platforms are surprisingly robust even at higher ages.
Choosing the Platforms
Which platform you choose depends on your audience. For healthcare marketers this often results in a Facebook-first approach simply because the platform owns both market penetration and usage. When looking at mobile time we see that one out of every five minutes spent on mobile devices is on the Facebook app:
Other platforms are heavily mobile as well:
- YouTube’s over 1 billion users are 70% mobile
- Twitter sees 93% of video views on mobile
- Snapchat is essentially 100% mobile because it only runs in the app (you can run it in an Android emulator on the PC as well)
- Instagram is primarily a mobile app, launched in 2010, and continues to be mostly mobile
Yes, the audience is on social, and yes, the social users are on mobile.
The best approach to social is to integrate it into the full media plan rather than looking at it separately. Social stands on its own with display ads, search engine marketing, and email. The spend and ability to measure results is just as robust as any other channel and its ability to integrate into analytic solutions just as turnkey. In all cases a “test and adjust” approach is best and allows teams to move forward with first projects without getting into “analysis paralysis.”
In 2019 social is no longer optional and digital pharma marketers need to get more comfortable integrating the platforms into their overall plans.