Social Media Impact 2014

News is spread through different types of media. In the past, the focus for spreading news was on television, radio and newspapers; these days, online, social and mobile media also play an important part. What is consumers’ opinion as to news coverage through different types of media? Do we think that what we read is reliable? Do we talk about it? Does it influence our opinion or our behavior? For the third time, ING, together with InSites Consulting and Social Embassy, have conducted their social media impact survey among Dutch consumers.
This year, apart from traditional, online and social media, we also looked into news consumption through smartphone and tablet news apps. We also realized an experiment in order to obtain a better insight as to the impact of a given message through different types of media and of a given message originating from different senders.

Here are the 10 key insights:

1. Against all expectations, social media consumption among consumers has not increased between 2012 and 2014; it has stagnated for almost all platforms. Facebook remains the most used platform: 71% use this medium on a weekly basis. Only the usage of Facebook and Google+ have increased slightly compared to 2012.
2. Just like last year, the usage of online news sites has decreased; yet this medium remains the most used online platform. 52% of the consumers use it every week, compared to 56% in 2013 and 63% in 2012.
3. News apps are used regularly on a smartphone or tablet. 40% of the consumers use this medium on a weekly basis. Youngsters are the most active users of news apps: 55% of those aged 18 to 34 use one or several news apps a week.
4. Although all respondents sometimes make use of social media, 27% of them barely ever see any news items. 58% catch news items on social media every week. Just like last year, more news is consulted through online media, with 66% of the consumers reading news items there on a weekly basis.
5. For the third time in a row, the faith in news coverage through traditional media obtains the highest score. People still consider social media to be the least reliable. Online media get lower scores than traditional media, because review sites and forums are also included in this category. However, when looking in particular at the reliability of online news sites and newspaper websites, the level of faith in these media types is comparable with that of the traditional media and news apps.
6. Consumers indicate that traditional media, newspaper (websites), online news sites and news apps have the most impact on their knowledge, attitude and behavior. The level of impact increases as a medium type is considered to be more reliable. In comparison with last year, the difference with social media has decreased.
7. Last year, the traditional media had 5 to 6 times as much impact as social media; in 2014 this dropped to some 3.5 times. When looking in particular for the impact on knowledge, attitude and behavior, online news sites are considered to have the most impact, just like last year. 35% of the consumers say news coverage via online news sites has an impact on their knowledge, for 23% it’s on their attitude and for 20% on their behavior. News items spread through social media also have an impact: 23%, 16% and 15% of the respondents claim that news coverage through social media has entailed a change in respectively their knowledge, their attitude and their behavior. The impact of news apps can be compared with the impact of online news sites.
8. Consumers indicate that they have started following the news more actively through social media and that they talk more frequently about news they have read on social media. They also say that they share news items and opinions about news more frequently through social media. A notable detail is that they talk more frequently offline than online about news they have read on social media.
9. Although the medium where one reads a news item should not make a difference as for reliability or impact, it appears that a Twitter news item is still less reliable and has less impact than a news item spread through the mobile, traditional or online media channel of the sender. The extent to which additional information is added to the news item plays an important role in the matter. In a tweet there is not much room to add extras.
10. The sender of a news item tweet also has a great impact on the item’s reliability and its impact. An original tweet or a retweet are considered to be the most reliable and to have the most impact. This result confirms the 2013 findings, which showed that the sender’s expertise determines the level of impact and reliability.
Eager for more? Get your free download of our Social Media Integration report.

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