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Introduction to Global Trends

Across the world, there are major social media trends on the rise that will shape the way your consumers use social media in 2019. For companies, it has become even more difficult to connect with your audiences online due to rising competition and a seemingly never-ending stream of algorithm changes. In order to succeed in this ever-changing landscape, brands must understand how consumers are using social media today and plan for how they will use it in the future.


We have already seen some major social media trends take place in 2018. Video, chat, and voice search dominated the industry this year. Looking towards 2019, it has become more important than ever to understand how your consumers are actually using social media networks in order to stand out from the crowd and reach your desired buyer persona.


Issues such as trust in social media content have come to light this past year, and this certainly affects the way your consumers will interact with your brand. Additionally, with more social media networks than ever before it may be difficult to decide where to place your bets in 2019. Some questions you may be asking yourself include:

To help you answer these questions, we’ve conducted our biggest research study yet with insights specifically for your European markets. Inside, you’ll find data-backed answers from our over 7,000 survey participants to all of these questions above, plus many more that you might have. With the help of this ebook, you’ll be prepared to shift the way your brand uses social media today in order to provide the experience that your audiences want in 2019.

What networks do consumers use?

With so many social media networks currently available, it can be difficult to identify which are most important to your customers and your business. To better understand how consumers are using social media, we asked them to indicate their favourite and least favourite networks. The results from European participants and participants around the world are consistent: the majority favour Facebook and dislike Snapchat. 

  • In Europe, more than

    37%

    of participants like Facebook the most

  • and more than

    20%

    agree that Snapchat is their least favourite

These results are consistent with the global results of 34% and 25% respectively. Furthermore, our research suggests that not only do consumers favour Facebook the most and Snapchat the least; consumers' usage of social media networks aligns with their likes and dislikes as well. When asked "Which of the following social media networks do you not use?" most consumers selected Snapchat. Meanwhile, the smallest percentage of participants selected Facebook. 

Which social media networks do you not currently use?
Across the board, trends in key European markets including the UK & Ireland, Benelux and Nordics are consistent with global results. It is interesting to note, however, that more European consumers do not use social media networks such as Twitter, Snapchat, Linkedin and Instagram compared to consumers from around the world. Continue reading to find out how this could change in 2019.

Do consumers trust content on social media?

Driving engagement to the content that you share on social media is only half the battle. Do social media users trust the content that your business is sharing? Do they trust your business? How does social media platform affect consumers' trust? To explore these questions, we asked participants how much they trust the content they see across social media channels. 

A trust score was calculated to visualise how much trust consumers had in the content that they viewed on social media networks. The score of 0 represents "I never trust the content I see on this network." The score of 1 represents "I sometimes trust the content I see on this network." The score of 2 represents "I always trust the content I see on this network." By taking the averages of these scores, shown in the graph below, it becomes clear which social media channels consumers trust the most.

Trust Score

Even though Facebook may be the most popular social media network according to consumers in Europe and around the world, advertising on this network may be the most difficult to do successfully. Contrary to global trends, consumers in Europe appear to be the most critical of content they see on Facebook with more than half of the participants in the study stating that they only sometimes or never trust content on Facebook. 

On the other hand, consumers across the globe agree that LinkedIn contains the most trustworthy content available compared to the other four social media networks. This data suggests that converting customers may be easiest on LinkedIn as consumers frequently trust the content they see on this network. Going into 2019, it is important to consider how to combat the issue of trust when advertising on social media channels; especially on Facebook for European companies. 

How will consumers use social media in 2019?

Now that we understand which social media networks consumers are using today and the trust they have in the content on these networks, how do we expect these trends to change in 2019? To answer this question, we asked participants if they have considered quitting these networks and if they expect this to change in the future. The results are surprising.

Percentage of Participants Who Have Quit Using or Considered Quitting Social Media

In the UK & Ireland, the quit-rates are lower across all social networks when compared to global trends. On the contrary, consumers in Benelux and the Nordics displayed a much higher likelihood to quit using many of these networks. It is also interesting to note that consumers' likelihood to quit using Snapchat is consistent with the general dislike of the platform. 

Usage rates of these social media networks may decrease in 2019 too. We asked the participants "Do you plan to use these social networks more or less in the future?" and, in some cases, over 25% of participants plan to decrease their social media usage. Meanwhile, the majority of consumers expect that their social media usage will stay the same, with only a handful of respondents stating that they plan to use social media more frequently. 

Future Social Media Use in The UK & Ireland
Future Social Media Use in Benelux
Future Social Media Use in The Nordics
Future Social Media Use Globally

What does this mean for your business? It could become more difficult to engage with consumers if their social media consumption decreases. In an effort to retain users on social media, Facebook has reduced the number of impressions that companies are able to deliver. This means that going into 2019 you can expect your organic reach to continue decreasing unless you play by Facebook's rules and deliver more valuable content. Videos, for example, are known to yield higher organic reach, and joining Facebook groups can be an additional way for your brand to interact and share content with consumers. 

Additionally, we asked participants which reasons would influence their decision to stop using social media. The UK & Ireland align with global trends, stating that the usefulness of the network is the key factor, while Benelux and the Nordics agree that it is because of advertisements.

  • In the UK & Ireland

    39%

    of consumers would stop using social media because it is not useful

  • Globally

    38%

    of consumers would stop using social media because it is not useful

  • In Benelux

    34%

    would stop using social media because there are too many ads

  • In the Nordics

    35%

    would stop using social media because there are too many ads

How do consumers want to engage with brands?

Lastly, we explored how consumers like to engage with brands on social media. Interestingly, even though consumers are most critical of the integrity of content on Facebook, it remains the most popular social media network in which consumers like to learn about and engage with brands. This means that while consumers may distrust the content shared on Facebook, maintaining a positive image online and keeping up-to-date information available is the best practice. Consumers are most likely to turn to Facebook for answers to questions and for information about your business. 

Additionally, chat applications such as Facebooks Messenger has become a unique way for consumers and brands to interact. Globally, it appears that interactions between brand and consumer over chat have increased in popularity. However, the same level of adoption has not yet been achieved in European markets. Chat is a trend to watch in 2019 within the European market. Over time, this may become a significant outlet for European consumers if they are to follow global trends. 

On what networks do you like to learn about and engage with brands?

What's next?

Now that you know how European consumers are using social media today, and how this is expected to change in 2019, it is essential to put these learning into practice to improve the way your company engages with consumers online.
Here are the top 4 takeaways from this research:
  • Create a comprehensive strategy for Facebook because it is the most popular network across Europe.
  • Improve your brand image across social media networks by sharing high-quality content that consumers can trust.
  • Be useful – consumers want to see content from and interact with brands on social media in ways that add value to their lives rather than be sold to.
  • Strategize ways to increase engagement with your brand through chat applications as this trend is expected to rise in 2019.

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