Once a year, with great fanfare (and tuxedos), the wise and wonderful Tom Webster and John Rosso present The 2018 Infinite Dial Study by Edison Research and Triton Digital.® The study, according to their website, unveils the latest research in digital audio, social media, mobile, smart speakers, and podcast consumption.
This year, the study showed two things that stood out to me more than any other piece of information. For the first time, in the history of social media, general social media usage dropped 3% and Facebook in particular declined. And it didn’t just decline a smidge. It tanked 5% – from 67% to 62% of all Americans.
First, can we just stop for a second and recognize that people just stopped using social media as much? What are they doing instead? Getting on with their lives? Spending time outside? Reading books? According to this study, they’re listening to more audio. Audiobooks, podcasts, online streaming, and smart speakers.
Facebook advertisers and diehards will still be pretty happy with the fact that 62% of all human beings in this country still find a way to use Facebook and will see their advertising. And it’s true that Facebook still dwarfs every other social channel, with Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. all hovering around that 30% mark. But here’s why it’s important.
Facebook diminished by 5% while Instagram and Snapchat both grew by 2%. So it’s safe to say that users are just looking for a different, less ‘newsy’ and more visual experience. Or it’s possible that Facebook has simply lost the trust of its users, and they are hoping to connect with their friends in different ways.
Podcasting by itself grew by 4%. And not only that, but the avid podcast listener now listens on average to 7 podcasts, instead of last year’s 5.
It’s time to rethink that digital marketing strategy.
If trends are to be believed, it looks like we are having a bit of a culture shift. An audio trend is growing, and if brands don’t have an audio strategy, then it’s definitely time to start crafting one together.
I remember back in 1999, I was working for a newspaper attempting to sell banner advertising. Print advertisers laughed at me when I asked if they had a website for their business, or if they’d like to have a banner on the sports/news/entertainment section of the newspaper and take advantage of the 2 million page views the website was getting. It wasn’t long after that they were scrambling to get some semblance of a digital presence together and fighting over the ‘above the fold’ real estate on the homepage of Philly.com.
Smart advertisers will jump while podcasting is growing, the advertising is affordable, and the real estate is plentiful. Culture shifts don’t happen too often, but when they do, they stick. Social media, and particularly Facebook, has been on the up for over 10 years. Now that the winds of change seem to be blowing, getting a start in audio advertising seems like a smart move.