- Social Media Marketing users’ expectation

Communications have changed and companies are responding to this evolving interactive scenario by redefining some very important concepts. In this article you will find different suggestions on what we should expect in the next months.


In 2014 you should consider that most of the brands have social media platforms. These changes are reflecting the importance of the customers' voice. 
As regards the opinions born on the Internet, especially on Facebook or Twitter, we have to admit that they require a fast reply. 

Everybody needs fast answers, mostly during start-ups periods, when your brand isn't consolidated enough. If you think that customers using social media expect a response from you within an hour to enjoy a service... This is another reason to go towards customer service direction.

Apparently, during your company's start-up, your brand is still not so famous to support a lot of answers, but you have to consider that about ¼ of users can wait the rest of the day to receive your replies. This is the reason why start-ups must monitor online conversations providing fast answers to users.
2014 has been a very prosperous year regarding the growing use of social channels, both in terms of volume and ways of interaction between people.

In this topic I will try to give different suggestions on what we should expect in the next months. The global population has increased from 7 to 7.2 billion of people and the number of active Internet users has exceeded 3 billion users -12 months ago were 2.5 billion- (with a penetration that has reached 42% of the world population). Active accounts on social media are now more than 2 billion (29% penetration), this means that compared to 12 months ago the percentage has grown by 12%.

If we take a look to data regarding mobiles, it is interesting to note that compared to an increase of 5% of mobile users, the number of people who actively use social media from their smartphone has grown of 23% (more than 313 million of people). The growth of these indicators truly represents a global phenomenon.

What happens in Italy? If a level of penetration data is higher than the average (60% vs 42% of the world average), observing the time spent online, we consider that the percentage of people who enters the internet from a desktop is lower than people who browse the net from mobile (2.2 hours per day, compared with an average of 2.7 hours). So, it seems that Italians prefer many sessions of a shorter duration compared to what happens in other countries: globally, the number of pages visited by desktop has decreased by 13% but has increased of 39% by smartphone (and 17% by tablet).

The analysis on the active use of social channels, highlights how year after year is important to let people interact and find the information they are seeking. Today there are more than 2 billion active accounts on social platforms (with a penetration of 29% of the total population): in Italy the penetration is 46% (the highest value is the one registered in Singapore - 66% - while in France, for example, is 45%, and in Germany 35%). Between all the platforms, the most used is still Facebook (1.36 billion active users), but it is interesting to notice the continuous growth trend of instant messaging services (as WhatsApp, that has exceeded 600 million users, compared to 400 million 12 months ago, Facebook Messenger that is used today by more than 500 million people and Wechat which has almost doubled its user-base, now reaching 468 million users).The big new entry in this ranking is Instagram, which is now used by more than 300 million people.


Italian people spend 6.7 hours a day on the internet (including mobile and personal computers: 2.5 hours are dedicated to the use of social channels against a world average of 2.4 hours (2 hours in France and 1.9 in Spain - to provide the terms of comparison). The 60% of Italians regularly browse the internet and the active accounts on social channels are now 28 million (22 million of logins are made from mobile devices).

Data regarding the access to social channels from mobile have seen the greatest increase in the last 12 months (11%), demonstrating a particular inclination to interact in mobility and actively with content that can be accessed online. We have noticed how WhatsApp and instant messaging platforms are more and more used worldwide, in particular in Italy: considering the total population, the most used service during a month is actually WhatsApp ( even more than Facebook).


So, even in Italy, the mobile represents the mean by which people mostly access to platforms relationships and conversations online.

Therefore, Italians use their smartphones to complete various tasks, once delegated to larger screens: the use of video content is growing as well as the use of applications related to social platforms. It is also interesting to observe how the percentages of people seeking information about products to buy and who then actually buy from desktop are identical (39%), while there is a small deviation between those seeking from smartphones and those who complete a purchase by the same device (20% vs 19%). This happens probably because people prefer using personal computers to conclude transactions.

So, despite not being a lover of annual reports, it is interesting to take a look on how important has been 2014 for social medias, in order to understand what is the starting point of this 2015.

Let's start from some aggregated data.

Today nearly 3 out of 10 people are active users of at least one social platform. Social media have effectively reached a penetration of 28% on the total population, exceeding the 2 billion active users:

Facebook has 1.3 billion users

Google 343 millions

300 millions Linkedin

Instagram 300 millions

Twitter 280 millions

Tumblr 230 millions

These are people who frequently enter these platforms, to which they dedicate more time. The 28% of the time spent online regards social channels (in particular children aged between 15 and 19 spend, on average, three hours a day interacting on social networks and those aged between 20 to 29, on average, two hours a day).

Companies are replying to the evolution of this scenario where they have to interact with people and they are doing it by redefining some important concepts. Five of these are the result of a rationalisation that I want to examine here below:


1. Real-time Right-time "Real-time marketing" was one of the terms used (and often abused) in recent months, but the focus is shifting now on finding a right-time, rather than the real-time. Even if 2014 has been characterized by the importance of thinking about how to deliver the right audience and the best content when they could create a real value of people.


2. Media and content are not two separate worlds

2014 has been also the year that changed the dynamics of content distribution: the quality of content now requires a dedicated media strategy that applies more leverage on a "copy-paste-do-it-yourself", but planned, anyway.

Each day grows the number of individual content products which are shared not only by users, but also by brands. Therefore is really important to develop together both strategy media and strategy contents in order to ensure visibility in important moments, especially for contents addressed to a specific audience.


Focusing on the brand is a decisive element, as customers identify their interest in products and services through this public spec of the company. Therefore, they become “Leads” in generating conversations that increase positive opinions and valorise the company on the market. The promotion carried out by the brand positioning, outlines the target of the real and the potential consumer. In this way, it is possible to make promotional campaigns more effective through a physiological segmentation of targets by attracting the specific and customized interest of the customer: that motivates the consumer to buy.


The promotion of content makes possible to segment more precisely and effectively the audience and to ensure that you can reach interesting and interested people at specific times, with content tailored to their needs.

3. The editorial approach is becoming more and more important
Brands are aware of the importance to create quality content which will give birth to a world that can excite and engage people. The 59% of companies expect to increase the budget dedicated to create content during the next 12 months.

4. The word Video doesn't mean only YouTube

Last months of 2014, were characterized by an historic overtake: for the first time Facebook collected more videos visualization than YouTube . This fact is important not only for the data in itself, but even because it represents the growing tendency to enjoy video contents from different platforms: YouTube is not the first media anymore, but right now new tools have appeared besides Facebook, such as Vine and Instagram.

It is important to understand what is the audience section that you want to reach and the project of the content you want to accomplish.

For example, YouTube is the only platform that has got a very high penetration. But nowadays, there are several factors that we have to consider, as the different methods of access to content from people. And not only are the views to make Facebook an increasingly important channel for the creation of video, but also shares.

As regards Facebook, it has become an important channel for the creation of video not only for the high percentage of views but even for the high level of content sharing.


5. Time to answer.

Apparently, during your company's start-up, your brand isn't famous enough to support a lot of answers, but you have to consider that about a quarter of users can wait the rest of the day to receive your answers. This is the reason why start-ups must monitor online conversations and answer to users faster.


It's time to answer! Why?

Firstly because your potential customers need to receive immediately the information they need and, secondly because there are many information that can be easily reached and you have to reach them before your competitors.






Author: Prof. Antonio Pelliccia Marketing & Health Management Faculty of Medicine

Catholic University of Rome

Policlinic A. Gemelli of Rome

University Vita e Salute of Milan

Hospital S. Raffaele of Milan


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