2020 COMMS: UK social media user data shows Twitter slipping to 6th

There’s a fascinating new batch of statistics for the UK media landscape and you should see them there’s some surprises.

If you stare at tectonic plates for five minutes not much happens. But when you map them over time you can see the big shifts. Same with a new batch of Comscore data.

Change. Should we be surprised? No, the only constant in communications is change. Constant change. As Robert Phillips wrote in ‘Trust Me: PR Is Dead’ we need to embrace chaos because we’ve not got much choice.

Five hot takes on what the new UK social media data says

Commscore have published some data on who is using what and anyone with an interest in communicating needs to take a look at them. I’ve read and crunched the numbers.

There’s no TikTok in these figures, yet. But I’m sure the music and video platform will be making a dent in the figures just as they are amongst teenagers.

Twitter has slipped to equal 6th in the UK

Wow, this is really striking. Remember when Twitter and Facebook were neck and neck? Good times. As Twitter declines, are we easing off the tweets? I’ve long had a hunch that the public sector is too closely wedded to Twitter. It’s easy. It was one of the first platforms to be mass-adopted by government. That makes it safe. But we kid ourselves if we think that by using it we are reaching all audiences at all time. 

social 2019

YouTube still dominates

Video remains a booming destination with more than 46 million users for the Google-owned platform in the UK. That’s a lot of unboxing, make-up tutorials, vloggers, music videos and how-to guides.   

Facebook hasn’t gone away

After Cambridge Analytica the kickback against Mark Zuckerburg was significant. But the platform remains significant. 

Instagram elbows its way to 3rd 

Instagram is a difficult one. The public sector feel at home with Facebook and Twitter and are happy with using YouTube badly. But Instagram? Look around the room and there’s a whole range of expressions on people’s faces very few have nailed it. 

The fact that it is third on the list in the UK and has elbowed a while pile of other platforms aside is striking. 

LinkedIn puts on some muscle

Throughout 2019, LinkedIn has come of age with some tweaks to how it operates. Looking more and more like Facebook with a newsfeed that actually has value the platform has shed its grey image. Sure, there’s not much bantz and holiday pics but that’s the whole point of LinkedIn, isn’t it? It takes itself more seriously and when you want to be serious its really handy. 

Dark social keeps rising

Messenger and WhatsApp have blindsided many people. They’re on people’s phones and are a brilliant way to quietly tap someone on the shoulder or have a closed group for a limited number of people.


But hang on a minute… newspapers?

One striking thing about the commscore stats is the focus it puts on the digital footprint of what we used to call local newspapers but can now call media companies. 

Reach, who used to be called Trinity Mirror, are responsible for a network of local titles that are morphing print into the online space. So, the Birmingham Post and Mail becomes Birmingham Live. The Evening Sentinel has become Staffordshire Live.

The Comscore report maps these sites and builds an overall number of 39 million just 200,000 behind the all powerful BBC. There is an audience in local news. However, what we used to know as local news and what we now get are often different things and the cliche of print dollars for digital dimes rings true.

media 2019

Older people really are all across this information superhighway lark

The next time someone tells you that older people don’t use the internet show them these stats. By no means is it universal, sure. But the total digital population in the UK is 44 million. That’s the number of people using web-enabled devices be they PCs, tablets or phones.

Mobile devices account for 81 per cent of the time we spend online. 

Over 55s? There are 9.1 million in that demographic who use a mobile device to reach the internet. 

comscore 2019 age.JPG

So, where does this really leave us? 

To be quite honest, it leaves many comms people quietly exposed.

It’s great that you and your team managed to persuade the chief executive to let you use Twitter in 2010. But the landscape has not stood still. You’re absolutely right not to leap onto the first new trend in town. Google Wave, Foursquare, Google Plus and Google Glass have all come and gone. Bujt you need to be aware of them and experiment. If you do you’ll have learned something to take with you along the way.

Is it all about the latest new thing? Of course its not. You’re fine to keep a weather eye but when it embeds itself with a section of the population it’s time to take it seriously. We’ve absolutely reached that point with Instagram if you are after under 30s. Innovation with messenger and whatsapp is long overdue.

Make it a New Year resolution to map where you are and where your audience is. 

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