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PHL tops Internet usage rankings in 2018

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THE Philippines topped the global rankings for hours spent on the Internet, improving on its second spot a year earlier and displacing Thailand.

According to the Digital 2019 report by Hootsuite and We Are Social, Filipino users averaged 10 hours and two minutes a day on the Internet based on data from January 2018 to January 2019, versus nine hours and 29 minutes in the same period the previous year.

On top of a rise in Internet usage, the study also found growth in the number of users of social media globally and in the Philippines, despite trust issues that hurt the medium.

The report said the number of active social media users globally grew 9% year-on-year to 3.48 billion as of January 2019. In the Philippines, social media penetration rose to 71% from 63% a year earlier.

“Although social media came under increased scrutiny and saw diminished trust among users in 2018, people around the world are spending more time on social — the global daily average is now 2 hours and 16 minutes, or one seventh of their waking lives,” Hootsuite Chief Marketing Officer Penny Wilson said in a statement Thursday.

In terms of hours spent on social media, the Philippines again topped the list with four hours and 12 minutes, up from three hours and 51 minutes a year earlier. The top social media platform in the world continues to be Facebook with 2.3 billion monthly active users, followed by YouTube, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and WeChat.

But the study noted there has been an increased awareness among users of the negative impact of social media on mental health.

“Some users are shifting from being ‘always on’ their devices to more conscious, ‘intentional’ usage, helped by features that allow users to monitor usage. Brands will increasingly need to go beyond platform tactics, harnessing culture to ensure relevance,” it said.

It also noted that users are opting to use more private spaces such as Stories, Groups and messaging apps than the regular public feed, requiring brands to ensure a more personalized approach in content production to attract attention.

“In the wake of Cambridge Analytica and the fight against fake news, consumer trust in social media channels plummeted, while trust in experts, journalists, and immediate circles on social media increased. Building employee advocacy programs, one-to-one message at scale, and renewing customer communities will be key strategies for brands in 2019,” it said.

Ms. Wilson added, “Businesses must be respectful of their customers’ privacy, while still creating personal 1:1 connections via content that’s important, interesting and timely to the audience while being genuine and authentic to their brands.” — Denise A. Valdez





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