What are those pesky Aussies getting up to on Facebook?

If there was one thing that attendees at the Facebook Studio Live event “Aussies On Facebook” took away last Thursday 2nd February, it is that Facebook isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Not that we thought it was…

In the atmospheric space of some repurposed railway workshops in Eveleigh, the Facebook team certainly executed an impressive looking event – custom made posters decorated the walls and very delicious treats greeted us on arrival at the impressive Carriageworks buildings (check out some photos of the event on the Facebook Studio photo album). As the second day of Facebook Studio Live Sydney (check out my colleague Tanya’s blog post on the first day which she and Annabel attended), Thursday’s event focused around ongoing research from two research companies that Facebook has been working closely with. Nielsen Research Australia and Greenberg Brand Strategy were there to provide more insight into just exactly what Australian’s get up to on an everyday basis on Facebook. And it appears that it’s a lot. From an active online population of 16.4 million people, 10.8 million of them are on Facebook. On average those people are spending 7 hours and 6 minutes a month browsing Facebook – beating the US and UK to be the most active country on Facebook!

There were A LOT of stats that were shown and discussed during that very fast few hours – I was scribbling down numbers so fast that I didn’t even have time to put the context around them. Instead of sharing more of these statistics (potentially misinterpreted by me due to a lack of context), I wanted to use this post to share some of the key learnings I took away after the whirlwind presentations:

1) Just HOW different each region is – we were shown some interesting stats about what recommendations people trust the most. Friends obviously feature highly in this (part of the power of Facebook), but what was fascinating was that a blogger’s recommendation of a product or brand went a lot further in Hong Kong than it did in Australia – by a massive margin actually. What’s the learning here? Make sure your strategy is regionally specific, and set regionally specific KPIs. One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to social media.

2) Just HOW much Facebook forms a part of everyday life – as someone who has been on Facebook now since my university days, and now working in the social space for the last few years, this isn’t a revelation – but it was just reinforced by the information presented last Thursday. People are checking Facebook as a ritual, morning, lunchtime, then as they’re sitting at home watching TV at night they’re simultaneously catching up on what they missed during the afternoon on Facebook, chatting with friends through Facebook chat and sharing thoughts on the TV programs they’re watching. Which leads well into my next point…

3) Just HOW much dual consumption of media there is – again, not so much a revelation but a timely reminder. Even in the last couple of years there have been some very impressive integrated campaigns, and personal experience within our company is showing us that brands are getting better at integrating their agencies and ideas. But it’s still not quite there – there is a lot of opportunity lost. Across almost all demographics the highest activity times for Facebook was from 5-8pm – and people said that they were often watching TV at the same time. This dual consumption offers so much opportunity to brands – a longer lasting relationship that starts with an ad on TV, a sponsored story on Facebook, a friend liking a page, then YOU liking the page – and suddenly you’ve got an interested, interactive potential customer who’ll see updates from you in a space that they visit daily. Wow.

4) And FINALLY – the responsibility of Facebook – this was a comment from the audience during the Q&A session at the end, but it really resonated for me. A lot of Facebook’s power is that it is personal. Very, very personal. The number one activity on Facebook by users was “Posting messages”.  Number two was “Commenting on Photos, Videos and Links”, no. 3 was “Keep In Touch”, no. 4 was “Announce/Share some personal news” and no. 5 was “Post photos”. Those are all very personal activities, activities that brands need to step into very carefully. Integrating a brand into that space is a delicate job, but that’s not to say experimentation isn’t good either – in fact, Facebook very much encouraged it.

The above are just a few thoughts pulled from a very inspiring few hours – there was a lot more interesting information and realisations which came out of the day and will be making their way into future presentations and blog posts. For now, what is keeping my mind ticking over is the potential. If I was excited two years ago when I left university at the potential of social media, I’m even more excited now. As the online and offline worlds come together more and more, what new opportunities will open up? Well… that’s something we’ll discover together.