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The latest Irish digital marketing and social media stats for 2018…

Irish Digital & Social Media Stats 2018

Hi, I’m Shane. You might remember me from such reports as ‘Irish Digital Consumer Report 2015‘ or ‘Irish Digital Consumer Report 2017‘!

For the last few years I’ve put together a yearly report on how Ireland is adopting digital and social media at a rapid rate, and how our indigenous businesses are lagging behind.

This process was always part selfish and part altruistic. Proper stats that told the tale of the growth in Irish digital consumption were hard to come by, and I wanted to have a document that could give me the latest bits at my fingertips. So I decided to stick it together and also send it out for free each year.

However, given that I’m currently working in one of Ireland’s largest media groups, I have more than enough brilliant, incisive (and proprietary) media data at my fingertips that I can chop and use to understand the online habits of Irish consumers and businesses.

(If you’re a larger business and want to pay for access to GroupM or Mindshare’s excellent and wide ranging media consumption research studies for a brilliant price, please email me.)

Another part of the reason why I stopped putting out the report was that it all became a bit trite. We know that smartphone usage and broadband access is very high here. We know we’re all addicted to Facebook and heavy social media users. We know Irish businesses could be doing more. So small changes in percentages each year seemed like minor waves as part of a bigger trend. Likewise, most data put out in PR format has some element of bias to it. As we know, Facebook, YouTube etc all have their own agenda when communicating with the public.

And in tandem, my role has changed considerably over the last few years from one that focused very much on digital and social tactics, to now taking a much broader focus on marketing/business strategy and communications effectiveness across all channels.

As a wise man once said, ‘it’s increasingly not about digital marketing, but just doing smart marketing in a digital world’.

They’re two very different things.

However, I do get a handful of people (mostly students and small businesses) landing on my site each week and sending emails asking for up to date data.

With that in mind, this time around I’ve decided just to do a simple blog post that points people in the direction of some of the latest publicly available info. I don’t unfortunately have the time or inclination to do a large report this time around, but this is pretty much the same thing without the pretty pictures and editorial!

Hopefully it proves helpful. If it does, please share it with others…

The stats below are taken from publicly available reports or articles. As per usual, I’ve done no real work here except collation, so please thank and follow the people who put out these brilliant data sources every year!

One more caveat – It’s also important to make the point that none of these stats should be taken in isolation. A proper marketing strategy should start with media neutrality and not be biased towards one channel from the outset. It should take into account the unique media consumption habits of your audience. We all need to understand how digital and social media can overlap with other channels to create a halo effect of integration. These stats should not be used alone to make a big business or marketing decision. They should maybe provide one factor in a much broader discussion around how and when you should use digital or social tactics as part of a wider framework of communication. As always, please do your own due diligence!

With that in mind, here are some of the most useful and most notable Irish digital marketing and social media stats in 2018. Steal with pride!

And if you would be so kind as to share it on Twitter and Linkedin that would be a great help! 

Irish Digital Marketing and Social Media Stats 2018

Reuters Digital News Report 2017

  • 32% of Irish media consumers visited in the last week.
  • 4% of Irish consumers have an ongoing news subscription.
  • 29% of Irish internet users have installed an adblocker. The fourth highest number in the survey.
  • 53% of Irish consumers use their smartphone for news.
  • 41% use Facebook for news.

IPSOS MRBI Social Networking/Messaging 2017

  • 65% of adults aged 15+ have a Facebook account. 45% of these use it daily, but this is decreasing rapidly.
  • Over 600 thousand adults aged 15+ in the Republic of Ireland use Instagram on a daily basis.
  • 61% of adults aged 15+ have a WhatsApp account.
  • 1.4 million adults aged 15+ in the Republic of Ireland use WhatsApp on a daily basis.
  • 57% of adults aged 15+ have a FB Messenger account.
  • Snapchat account holders are most likely to be daily active users. 66% open the app daily.

CSO Information Society 2017

  • It is estimated that, in 2017, 89% of households have access to the internet at home.
  • The main reasons stated for not having a household internet connection were Do not need internet (45%) and Lack of skills (43%).
  • Seven out of every ten internet users used the internet every day.
  • Daily usage of the internet has increased nine percentage points since 2013.
  • Clothes or sports goods were the most popular online purchase in 2017, purchased by 44% of individuals.
  • Over one quarter (26%) of individuals purchased online six or more times in the previous three months.

We Are Social Digital in 2018

  • 89% of Irish consumers believe data privacy and protection are very important.
  • 45% delete cookies from their internet browser regularly.
  • 85% of Irish people over 18 use the internet daily.
  • 37% of Irish people access the internet most often via a smartphone.
  • 9% play games on their smartphone weekly.
  • 42% watch online videos every day.
  • 28% watch online content streamed on a TV set.
  • 59% have purchased a product or service online in past 30 days.

Deloitte Global Mobile Consumer Survey 2017

  • 90% of the population have access to a smartphone.
  • Smartphone users in Ireland check their devices 57 times a day.
  • 44% of people check their smartphones during the night.
  • 40% check their device within five minutes of waking up.
  • 45% of consumers have a smart television.
  • 71% have access to a tablet.
  • Samsung is the top brand of smartphone in Ireland, with 32% owning the brand.
  • 33% have used biometrics to access their phone.

Google Consumer Barometer 2017

  • 85% of internet users have watched ‘regular’ TV on a TV set in the last month.
  • 36% have watched catch-up or on-demand on a TV set in the last month.
  • 66% of internet users go online via another device while watching TV.
  • 35% watch videos via their smartphone every day.
  • 29% have watched online videos out of home in the past week.

Thanks for reading, and please feel free to share with others!

If you want more of this good stuff, you can sign up for my regular marketing newsletter here for book recommendations, links to great articles and my latest thoughts on the industry. Over 1900 Irish marketers are signed up. You should be too.

If you want to discuss or add anything to the above, please get in touch.



When it comes to social media less is more…

We have a tendency as modern marketers to focus on volume. The presumption is that the more creative executions, more videos, more blogposts, more adverts we create, the better our results will be.

But more is not always better, particularly when it comes to social.

As much as we’d like it to be, our budget isn’t unlimited. Our job is to spend limited resources wisely, to understand our constraints and find ways to overcome them.

Previously, when organic reach was still achievable for all, it made sense for a brand to post 2-3 times daily. But that has changed. Most brands reach 1% of their Facebook fanbase, and with algorithmically driven feeds becoming part of Instagram and Twitter too, the organic approach is dying. Social is now categorically pay to play.

Thus, often little point putting a huge amount of effort into creating and manicuring a social post unless you’re paying to put it in front of people.

The problem used to be that we didn’t have enough social assets to push out. But now, a marketer’s main issue, whether they realise it or not, is often having too many assets and not enough media budget to get them placed in front of the right people.

The emphasis should be on creating less posts (thereby reducing production costs and time to create) but better optimising the things you do create, and ensuring that everything has at least some paid budget behind it. Brands no longer needs a constant stream of organic posts. Production budget should be more wisely spent in service of a bigger creative idea.

It’s easy to constantly create more without really understanding why you’re doing that. A more restrained approach is needed.

It sounds like a bit of a paradox given the need for brands to be ‘always on’, but otherwise you’re spreading your budget thin while also shouting into the black hole of the newsfeed.

Put the emphasis on doing less, but doing it better.


The figure/ground theory applied to social media – Why we’re measuring the wrong things…

Most days, my Linkedin feed is filled with shite. But the value of the network is that I’m connected to so many smart people, once in a while something absolutely golden pops up. This is one such example from Sony Head of Social & Creative Strategy Greg Allum.

It’s so refreshing to see someone in the industry speak so openly about the need for social to change if its to be taken seriously. Like with digital advertising, we’re moving to a stage where social has to mature and start to drive real business results.


In the beginning, social was seen as a ‘free’ channel where you could build ‘communities’ and ‘engage’ with ‘fans’. The real returns were fluffy.

Over the years, the smarter social marketers have moved away from this sort of language. They’ve started to really tie social back into coherent brand KPIs and sales. And they’ve quickly realise that social certainly isn’t free, but rather it’s incredibly effective when used as a paid media channel.

Yet according to research this week, ‘likes and shares’ is the second most important metric that brands and agencies in the UK use to measure effectiveness. Likewise in Ireland, we’ve seen CMOs come out in the media bragging about how many ‘Facebook likes’ their campaigns have driven, and we have publishers using their ‘millions’ of social followers to entice brands to spend with them. (Most of these are fake, but that’s another story!).

This is an outdated and illogical way to approach social.

As Paul Troy, CMO of says in this article, likes and shares are “not proven to convert into traffic or brand volume and are the metric most open to manipulation by the agency and the marketing team. That’s why most CEOs dismiss them as a marketing team’s excuse for not having delivered tangible business results.”

He’s 100% right.

Likes and shares are a smokescreen. They’re *almost* irrelevant to a brands success on social media, and they’re not the thing we should be optimising towards.


This is a perfect example of the ‘figure/ground‘ theory.

The things that we can see most easily are the things we tend to focus on. We place a higher level of importance on readily availably information. It’s much easier to measure social likes and shares than to actually tie activity back to real business results, so the majority of marketers do that. 

But in reality, likes and shares are easy to buy. They create a false veneer of success, when in reality, recent HBR research strongly indicates that:

  • Facebook page likers don’t buy more than non-likers
  • The majority of Facebook followers are already brand users (meaning you’re not growing penetration)
  • Facebook likers don’t behave differently

I’ve seen similar research for all main social channels.

If that’s not enough proof that likes and shares are vanity metrics, then I’m not sure what is.

When it’s gotten right, social can be incredibly effective. But as Greg says above, its up to those working in the industry to push things forward, start taking a more mature approach to social activity and start tying everything back to real effectiveness.

Otherwise, we all risk being relegated from the boardroom table.