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Is New Zealand social media momentum driven by images?

05 Oct 13

The lure of engaging images is having a growing impact on Kiwis’ social media channels of choice, according to recent Colmar Brunton research on the social media landscape in this country.

The survey revealed that image-based channels such as Instagram and Pinterest are gaining momentum much faster than the likes of Facebook, while Twitter is actually losing momentum.

Pinterest had a net momentum of 36 (i.e. 51% of those surveyed using it more than they did in the previous six months compared to 15% using it less) while Instagram had a net momentum of 25.

Yet Facebook (net momentum 18), YouTube (18) and Linked In (9) maintained momentum, while Twitter lost ground with a net momentum of -10.

Colmar Brunton Innovation and Business Development Director Vanessa Clark says the rise of Pinterest and Instagram is symptomatic of the fragmentation of the social media market, but there is more to it than that.

“It’s also about the power of images to create an emotional connection,” Clark says.

“The rapid growth of Pinterest and Instagram reinforces the notion that images drive engagement – a message at a glance – and the more emotionally engaged people are with a message the more likely they are to share it.”

It also revealed that 63% of New Zealanders online are active on at least one social media site and of those, 57% visit Facebook daily and 62% follow at least one company or brand.

“The fragmentation becomes more evident when you consider that 5% visit Pinterest daily and 6% visit Instagram daily, on a par with Twitter at 6%," Clark says.

Work or pleasure?

Since March this year use of Instagram as a form of entertainment has risen by 17% while Pinterest as a source of information has risen by 7%.

But Clark says businesses looking to connect with the two million Kiwis on Facebook need to understand that they are there primarily to connect with family and friends – not brands.

“Kiwi social media users are open to connecting with brands but brands must have a good reason to be using social media understand who they’re engaging with, and what they’re interested in," Clark warns.

"Overt advertising on social media is seen as intrusive - 78% of people don’t like advertisements on social media and that rises to 82% when it is on mobiles or tablets.”


There were also some insights around what social media users do appreciate from brands with 62% liking a brand for sales and discounts, 58% liking a brand for contests and giveaways and 58% liking a brand for supplying information.

“However discounting is a bit like the ‘one night stand’ of social media. It tends to lead to transactional engagement and doesn’t result in the emotional connections that drive sharing and talkability on social media," Clark says.

The survey also showed that Kiwis of all ages are embracing social media.

“While it will come as no surprise that more than 90% of Kiwis between 18 and 39 use social media, the majority of those over 60, and even a majority of the over 70s use it," Clark adds.

"It has become a norm across all age groups.”

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