The use of social media platforms Instagram and Snapchat has risen sharply in Malaysia as the popularity of highly-visual channels continues to grow, according to Connected Life, the latest study of over 70,000 consumers across 57 countries from global research consultancy Kantar TNS.
The firm said the number of smartphones users across the Asia Pacific region now numbering over a billion – 11 million of them in Malaysia – and increasingly powerful smartphone cameras are giving connected users the opportunity to take and share photos instantly.
Across Asia Pacific, the study revealed that Malaysians are the most active on Instagram, from 59% to 73% of connected consumers in the past year. Hong Kong and Singapore are not far behind, with 70% and 63% respectively.
Hong Kong has the most active Snapchat market, with almost half (46%) of Internet users on the platform, but Malaysia is catching up quickly, with 37% now using the channel, more than double the number from 2015 (14%).
While young people are the biggest social media users across all platforms, the rise of the Instagram is also gaining momentum; almost half (48%) of internet users in Malaysia aged 55 – 65 now use Instagram. However Snapchat remains more the domain of the younger user, with only 19% of users in Malaysia in the 55 – 65 age category.
Snapchat and Instagram penetration figures in Asia Pacific according to the study:
The rise of these platforms provides brands with new opportunities to target and engage consumers. However, brands need to be mindful of evolving consumer attitudes as they look to take advantage of the diversifying social media landscape, Kantar TNS said. The Connected Life results reveal that 17% of connected consumers in Malaysia ‘actively ignore’ social posts or content from brands. Businesses need to avoid being invasive as a third (30%) already feel ‘constantly followed’ by online advertising.
In addition, the Kantar TNS study found that influencers and celebrities hold the key to connecting with consumers. One in three (36%) online 16 – 24 year olds in Malaysia say they trust what people say online about brands more than ‘official’ sources, such as newspapers, brands’ own websites or TV adverts. Again, younger people are the more influencer-oriented group, trusting bloggers and peers rather than information from brands. The older generation’s ‘influencer network’ is still primarily friends and family. However, considering this group’s adoption of other trends, they may soon begin referring to social media influencers for inspiration and information.