A series of privacy scandals which plagued Facebook in 2018 hasn’t impacted the number of Australians using the platform.

According to the the eighth annual Digital 2019 report commissioned by Hootsuite and We Are Social, Facebook has 16 million monthly average users in Australia, the same number as 2017 and more than any other social media platform.

Neither advertisers are consumers are abandoning the platform, according to the company’s latest financial results. Its 2018 full year advertising revenue was US$55 billion and daily and monthly users also increased 9 per cent to 1.52 billion and 2.32 billion respectively last quarter.

According to the Digital 2019 report, social media use is on the rise with 18 million people or 72 per cent of the Australian population actively using Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or Twitter, up from 66 per cent in 2017.

Twitter and Snapchat, however, are falling behind in the social media race, seeing active users decline by 2.3 per cent and 14 per cent respectively.

Across all social media platforms, Australians are spending just over 90 minutes per day scrolling through their social feeds. On average they are spending five hours and four minutes on the internet daily.

“Although social media came under increased scrutiny and saw diminished trust among users in 2018, people around the world are spending more time on social—the global daily average is now two hours and 16 minutes, or one seventh of their waking lives,” said Penny Wilson, CMO of Hootsuite.

“But to capture the attention of customers, brands need to rethink how they engage on social. Businesses must be respectful of their customers’ privacy, while still creating personal 1:1 connections via content that’s important, interesting and timely to the audience while being genuine and authentic to their brands.”

In 2018, Australians downloaded almost 750 million apps, Facebook develops the top four most used mobile apps (Facebook Messenger, Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp). And they also spent $1.776 billion on apps in 2018, with Tinder bringing in the most revenue.

“Australians are branching out and using their mobiles for more than just social media or streaming,” said Heather Cook, ANZ Managing Director of Hootsuite. “The Digital 2019 report found that more Australians have CommBank’s app downloaded than Netflix or Uber. This signals a shift to make more of our daily lives digitised. Our world is getting more digital by the day, and consumers want to be able to do more with their smartphones.”

The full report provides a deep dive into digital trends and social media consumption habits of consumers across the globe.

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