COVID-19 has accelerated Australians' use of social media apps, Hootsuite Australia and New Zealand GM Heather Cook said.

In its 'Digital 2020' report, data showed that social media use in Australia has grown by 6% year-on-year from 13 million users to 15 million users in 2020.

"Since the onset of COVID-19, Australians’ digital behaviours have evolved substantially, with 33% of Australians spending more time on social media in recent weeks," Cook said. 

"Australia's digital and social behaviours are evolving rapidly, whether it's shopping and transacting online with 73% of Australians buying something online in the past month, finding news on social, or parents staying up to date on their kids’ health and education through app usage which is up 190%. 

"By leveraging and leading with real-time data and insights, companies can achieve better cut-through and audience engagement, and consumers can make better purchasing decisions," she said.

According to the report, the most popular apps among users are Facebook, YouTube, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger and TikTok.

The research also found that brands are able to reach 1.08 billion people using ads on Instagram, with the platform adding 111 million new users —more than one million a day — to its advertising reach in the past three months.

We Are Social Australia MD Suzie Shaw added that social commerce has become increasingly important.  

"The global milestone that social media has reached is astounding: every second person is now an active user.

"Numbers are even more staggering when we look at the local landscape, as 85% of the Australian eligible population (people 13+) are active users. 

"Social media permeates all aspects of our personal and professional lives, to the point that 1 in 3 Australians use social media to research brands and look for information about their products - increasingly influencing our purchasing decisions as a consequence.

"As a result, social commerce has become more and more important, and many platforms are now offering integrated, frictionless shopping features.

"This represents an invaluable opportunity for brands to adapt to an increasingly popular purchasing behaviour and grow their business," she said. 

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