[REPORT] The Communications Market 2015 (Ofcom)

A useful 400+ page report from Ofcom, lots of insights into digital access, and use – I thought I’d highlight some of the key findings related to social media here (as laid out in the document):

  • More than seven in ten adult internet users (72%) have a social media profile, and social media use is correlated to age. A majority of internet users aged 16-24 (93%), 25-34 (90%), 35-44 (80%) and 45-54 (68%) have a social media profile, such as a Facebook or Twitter account. This compares to half of 55-64s (49%) and three in ten aged 65+ (28%).
  • In addition to having the highest reach, Facebook has the highest frequency of use. A fifth of Facebook users (19%) claim to go on the site more than ten times a day. Over 10% of Snapchat, Twitter and WhatsApp users also claim to use these sites more than ten times a day.
  • Young adults aged 16-24 have a more extensive breadth of use of social media and are adopting newer sites and services such as Twitter (40%), WhatsApp (37%), YouTube (32%), Instagram (35%), Snapchat (26%), Tumblr (8%) and Vine (4%). However, the majority (97%) of all adults aged 16+ with a social media profile say 8 they use Facebook, and close to half (48%) of those with a profile say they have one only on Facebook.
  • There is significant take-up of social networking sites and apps among 12-15 year olds. A significant proportion of teens aged 12-15 have ‘ever used’ YouTube (81%), Facebook (72%), Instagram (55%), Snapchat (53%) and WhatsApp (48%). When asked which they used the most, Facebook (30%), YouTube (27%), Instagram (17%) and Snapchat (13%) were the most commonly cited.
  • Snapchat was cited by 19% of website users aged 12-15 as ‘their most recent addition’. Instagram (12%) and Facebook (11%) were cited as recent additions for just over one in ten (12%).
  • A quarter of adults with a Twitter account use it to air complaints or frustrations. Aside from ‘re-tweeting’, ‘news’ is the topic that people are most likely to ‘tweet’ about, with a third (33%) doing this. This is followed by complaints or frustrations, with almost a quarter (24%) tweeting in this way. Tweeting information on celebrities is most likely to be by 12-15 year old account holders, with 30% doing so, almost four times as many as among all adult account holders (8%).
  • Twitter users are equally as likely to follow celebrities as they are to follow friends. When asked about the type of Twitter feed that they followed, the most popular type was ‘news’, at 50% of account holders. A similar proportion of people followed ‘friends’ (45%) as followed ‘celebrities’ (44%).
  • Almost a fifth of adults say they are ‘hooked’ on social media. Overall, one in five online adults (22%) indicated a rating of between 7 and 10 on a 10-point scale (where 1 equated to ‘I’m not at all hooked on social media’ up to 10 ‘I’m completely hooked on social media’). Dependency on social media is correlated to age, with two in five (41%) 16-24 year olds giving a 7-10 ‘hooked on’ rating, falling to 6% among over-55s.
  • One in five adults (19%) have posted things online they wish they hadn’t. In contrast, almost three-quarters of adults (72%) agreed that they ‘can’t understand why people share personal information with people they don’t know well or at all’, increasing to 82% of those aged 55 and over. Similarly, almost six in ten online adults (57%) disagree about being ‘happy to share information online that a wide audience can see’. Digital music and photo collections


Download the full report (PDF)