Category Archives: Video

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.



The snowball effect – Why there’s no such thing as going viral for brands…

“I’ve got no budget, can you make this go viral?”

It’s the sentence that any marketer dreads hearing. You get a client brief with no media budget and the expectation is that you can sprinkle some magic dust and make a hit.

The lingering perception within digital is that ‘earned’ is the new ‘paid’, that social is free and we should pump more money into making content than actually supporting that content. I’ve seen this mistake over and over again – a brand spends big on a piece of activity it expects to be huge organically, and acts surprised when it falls flat on its face due to lack of paid support.

Though ‘shareability’ can certainly be optimised for, it’s often a lottery, but there seems to be a feeling that ‘going viral’ can be done without budget.

Not according to Derek Thompson.

No such thing as viral?

In his brilliant new book “Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction” Thompson, an editor for The Atlantic carefully and scientifically analyses what really makes things ‘go viral’. As Buzzfeed might say ‘what he found will shock you’.

According to Thompson, there’s ‘no such thing as going viral’ for brands.  At least organically.

Basically, almost nothing goes viral without a lot of help and the viral metaphor is misleading at best and counter-productive at worst. His theory should be music to the ears of marketers.

He outlines why going viral has become shorthand for “that thing got big really quickly, and I’m not sure how”. By examining the information cascade for smash hits like the Volvo truck video Thompson found that in almost all cases of ‘virality’, exposure from marketing, paid media, a large broadcast moment and powerful distribution created the inflection point.

It’s these elements, and not organic sharing, that really make monster hits.

Only when a piece of content started getting picked up by large networks or websites, often after it had been pushed heavily with paid support, was it likely to reach ‘viral’ status.

In the book, Thompson also describes how popularity is created online through a snowball effect – things that are popular tend to get more popular. This makes sense. Since we place so much power in the opinions of the herd, we’re far more likely to watch and share something that already has 500,000 views and thousands of likes or shares (whether they’re paid or not), than something with 10 views.

Spending heavy on paid media up front is the best way to sow the seeds for virality. We’ve been told for years that ‘content is king’, but we’ve fallen foul of the ‘Field of Dreams’ fallacy by presuming that ‘if you build it they will come’.

“Distribution is more important than content” says Thompson. “You can say that a song is the best song in the world, you can say that an idea is the best for people’s welfare, or a movie is the best documentary of its kind. But without a distribution strategy to reach people, nobody hears it.”

There’s so much ‘content’ out there that without paid media and a smart distribution strategy even the best video or article is like a tree falling the forest.

The most important determinant of ‘virality’?

While this type of insight won’t be music to the ears of social gurus telling us that paid media is a thing of the past, it does tally with other research out there.

According to Unruly Media, experts in this viral video space, often marketers don’t distribute their content well at all, and this leads to nobody seeing it. Videos languish and they don’t get seen. The most important determinant of ‘virality’ besides the content is what happens in the first three days after any video is launched. Support at this stage, through media spend and P.R. is crucial, as this is when the big sharing spike happens, leading to the biggest viewing spike. Around 42% of shares occur in the first three days after upload.

Similarly, recent IPA data also reflects the importance of paid media to spur organic sharing. Only 7% of IPA campaigns that generated the most online buzz relied on earned and owned media alone, compared to 78% that also included paid media. The most effective campaigns tend to combine earned, owned and paid media to create a “multiplier effect”.

They pay to “add fuel to the fire” of online buzz.

Unfortunately, many brands seem to be ignoring these findings. Jerry Daykin and Shann Biglione both recently touched on the subject online. Shann came out with a brilliant paradoxical theory that puts things into perspective:


Jerry makes the excellent point that so often with creative awards entries the line ‘we did this with little media budget’ is put forward as a positive, when actually that should be a lament. Because what this line of thinking fails to realise is that this award winning creative could’ve reached so many more people with a bigger media budget.  This should be an indication that either the agency wasn’t smart enough to ask for more media, or the brand wasn’t brave enough to supply it.

As he says:

“If you’d managed to really get behind your idea you’d have reached 10x as many people and had an accordingly bigger impact. For some reason ‘we couldn’t really convince our managers to back this idea’​, ‘we screwed up in how much of our budget we spent on production’​ and ‘we got suckered in by a promise of free unlimited social reach’​ haven’t caught on as much…”

Relying on organic reach alone to hit the ‘viral’ jackpot is not a smart strategy.

The next time one of our clients asks for a ‘viral’, either buy them Thompson’s book or send them this post. And then ask for some media budget.

Costa Coffee Snapchat Spectacles campaign – This is why we can’t have nice things!

Imagine how cool it would be to get handed a shiny new toy that everyone is talking about and told ‘you’re the first to get it, now do something cool’?

There’s a definite first mover advantage for brands. The PR story of being the ‘first company to…’ do something can draw attention, and there’s also a little ego boost for the agency and brand manager. Everyone wants to be an early adopter, an innovator.

Costa Coffee in the UK got that opportunity last week. We’ve been waiting for Snapchat Spectacles to come to this side of the Atlantic for months, and Costa was the first brand in the UK to get their hands on a pair.

Now just imagine the creative possibilities at the brief stage? You get handed an opportunity to do something nobody has done before, to use a product that shoots video with distinctive look and to come up with a really cool, novel idea that’s guaranteed to get some interest.

Plus, there’s no pressure, the bar is automatically low since nobody has done much with the tool before. It’s literally an open goal for a digital creative. 


Unless you forget to come up with a creative idea that is.

Unfortunately, Costa fell into this trap. They created a campaign that’s the definition of ‘meh’.

Their idea was

“to give fans a unique insight into the world of Costa, specifically through the eyes of its baristas”.

Basically, they gave the specs to a barista, who made a coffee, and they recorded that. That’s the ‘campaign’.

According to a spokesperson,

“for our customers and followers, we know…they’ll be intrigued to watch their favourite coffee being made from the perspective of a Costa barista”.

Will they aye? Does anyone really want to spend a minute and a half watching a Costa barista pouring coffee? Is that interesting?

To me, this is a wasted opportunity. It’s a channel thought without any creative idea.

It’s relying on a shiny new thing to do the work, and lazily not thinking up of a way to bring it to life.

I know this is a first use in the market, and there’s no Spectacles campaigns to get creative ideas from.

But surely Costa could’ve looked to campaigns like this from Eighty Twenty and this from Old Spice for inspiration.

Both were built on top of an immature platform, but had a strong creative idea at the core. Both won awards too.

I’m not picking on Costa here, this is something that we’re all guilty of. We forget that channels and platforms are the equivalent of creative canvases that we paint on. But they’re  benign without a strong creative idea.  It’s up to us as marketers to get creative, build cool things on top of them, to understand them, test them and sometimes break them.

But just using a new channel can’t be ‘the big idea’ on its own.

In Ireland meanwhile, Aer Lingus were the first brand to be given a go. They decided to hand the specs to Conor Murray to give an insight into a ‘day in the life’.

Again, this isn’t exactly a revolutionary creative idea, but it’s a smart way to use their sponsorship assets and give fans a look behind the scenes that they wouldn’t normally get.

The resulting short social video got plenty of traction.

Who wouldn’t want to see the world from Conor Murray’s eyes?
(Don’t answer that one!)

A simple idea, but an idea at least.