Category Archives: Social

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.



Platform/content fit – The biggest mistake brands are making with social video and how to overcome it…

Since the dawn of the TV era, the way we tell brand stories through video has improved considerably. The content and quality has improved, and the best brands and agencies have become masters at creating emotional, surprising narratives, often using a similar sped up version of Joseph Campbell’s famous ‘Hero’s Journey’ structure that most great movies are based on.

Traditionally, we’ve told stories built for a passive environment, meaning people have to watch the ad all the way through. In television advertising, the big reveal almost always happens towards the end, after a big lead in and before some brand message. Given a 15-30-45 second ad slot, that was the best way to gather as much attention as possible.

But there’s a problem.


We’ve become so accustomed to the TV way of telling stories through video, we’ve tried to shoehorn it into social too. How many times have you seen a TV advert placed in skippable pre-roll, or directly uploaded to Facebook?

To do this is to proactively harm the effectiveness of your video campaign. Video ad units tend to be set in the mobile newsfeed or another opt-in environment, whereby the user must choose to not skip, or to not flip past the video in their feed. Most of the time, sound is off too, creating another challenge to the way we’ve always done things.

Thus, the way we structure our video content has to fundamentally change to fit the reality of platform viewing.

To create truly integrated campaigns, we can’t keep trying to force the square peg of a TV ad into the round hole of a social feed, pre-roll or story.

‘3 second audition’

BBDO NY has done some brilliant work in this space, and the below graph describes the difference between the passive and active story arc.

One of the biggest challenges in an autoplay, soundless newsfeed that’s filled with other interesting things is to ‘win the 3 second audition‘. As BBDO references above, if people aren’t necessarily going to watch your full video then what you put in those first few seconds is more crucial than ever.

Unlike in ‘passive’ environments like forced 30 second pre-roll or TV, our creative needs to present a the idea and grab an audience in the opening few seconds. That’s a big shift in thinking and requires a change in the way we shoot and particularly edit branded content.


At a recent IAB Connect event, Facebook’s Olly Sewell discussed the importance of optimising and chopping video content for the mobile feed outlining the increase in recall and effectiveness if that’s the case.

This is something Facebook has been preaching for a while, and it’s something we must be aware of no matter what social or digital video we’re planning.

Here’s an example from social news brand ‘The Dodo’. Sure, it’s not a consumer brand per se, but it’s a perfect showcase of understanding the way people consume video in the feed and optimising for that.

If this was a TV or YouTube video, it would start at the start and leave the big reveal until three quarters in. But because it’s Facebook video, if the reveal is too hidden, the user is gone by the time the climax comes. So through a simple editing technique, The Dodo starts the video in the middle, and then literally re-winds to give the full story.

Here’s another example from Wrigley’s gum. The first clip below is a TV spot told in the traditional way.

The second is a shorter social optimised video clip that flips the story arc around to optimise for the way we consume video in feed.

Adapting for the platform significantly increases creative effectiveness, so be mindful of platform/content fit and don’t just lazily adhere to the old ways of telling stories in the passive TV environment. At the moment that’s the biggest mistake brands are making with social video.

Instagram and the value of a business premortem…

In the modern business world, positivity reigns supreme. If you’re not positive to the point of delirious and motivated to build a utopian future, the common wisdom is you’re doing it wrong.

But there’s power in the opposite too. In fact, there’s a major benefit to visualising scenarios in which things go wrong. It might sound strange and counterproductive, but in direct response to overly optimistic, naive thinking, many business leaders are encouraging their employees to think negatively.

In a brilliant Fast Company magazine piece on Instagram’s growth this month, there’s one really illuminating paragraph. Insta launched more features in December last (live streaming, stories, advertising options) than it ever has before. All of them were successful. But according to CEO Kevin Systrom, the reason behind this wasn’t ‘the power of positivity’, rather something very different.

“Every recent change the company has wrought sprang from the team asking itself ‘what would we do if Instagram as we knew it suddenly stopped mattering?’. What kind of decisions would we make? This unlocked a torrent of creativity. It allowed us to be more risk seeking than we would have been in the past. Ironically, it would almost be risker not to do something like this”

The technique that Systrom describes actually has a name coined by psychologist Gary Klein – the premortem. In a premortem, a project manager must envision what could go wrong—what will go wrong—in advance, before starting. Why? Far too many ambitious undertakings fail for preventable reasons. Far too many people don’t have a backup plan because they refuse to consider that something might not go exactly as they wish. A premorten insulates the company by preparing it for the worst. It opens people’s minds and allows the threat of adversity to stir creativity.

In a postmorten, we reflect around what happened in death. But having a ‘worst case scenario’ plan alleviates the need for a postmortem in most cases, since the company becomes more robust and antifragile to threats. It’s about preparing for disruption and working this into your plans. In earthquake threatened areas like Japan, engineers build slack into buildings to insulate from tremors. A premortem is the business equivalent. We can anticipate, pre-empt and then mitigate possible future problems.

The premortem goes back to the Stoics, who had an even better name for it: premeditatio malorum (premeditation of evils). The concept may seem pessimistic, but actually it’s just pragmatic, realistic and smart preparation.

As the old quote goes:

“Nothing happens to the wise man against his expectation.”

Think of it as pre-emptive hindsight, a decision insurance policy to protect your future self.


Further Reading:

Simple ways to prevent failure
The overthinkers guide to launching your next project
A simple technique to save any project from failure
Performing a premortem
The stoic art of negative visualisation