What European marketers need to know about digital in 2017

Half of the world is online. Over one third of the world is now on social media. More than one in five of the world’s population shopped online in the past 30 days.

These the headline figures from We Are Social’s brilliant Digital In 2017 report. The weighty report (coming in at over 750 slides) is an essential read for every digital marketer and provides punchy statistics that will help you demonstrate why digital marketing is more important than ever.  Read in Italian.

I’ve summarised the data from the four European markets that particularly interest me: my native Italy, the UK, Spain and France.

Italy (Slide 72 onwards)

66% of Italians use the internet, and 52% are on social. The internet use figure is surprisingly low. Is this down to a reporting error or are we really in the digital dark ages? I’d love to hear your views in the comments.

In Italy, there’s been a huge growth in mobile social: a 17% increase in the past year. This is in line with global results and reminds us that when marketers think social, we should think mobile.

89% of us still watch TV in the traditional manner: on television. However, YouTube is also our most popular social network and 61% of us watch video on mobile. Of course, there’s no shortage of reports on how important digital video is in 2017, but these stats provide a reliable source of concrete evidence.

Finally, half of Italians have made an ecommerce purchase in the past 30 days. What’s more, 20% of us have done so on mobile. The fact that a fifth of Italians make online purchases on mobile should convince any e-retailer to get their mobile site up to scratch. Otherwise they’ll be missing out on their share of the $10billion revenue that ecommerce in Italy totalled in 2016 (that’s $555 dollars per user).

The United Kingdom (Slide 179 onwards)

92% of Brits use the internet and 64% are on social – up on Italy on both accounts, but in line with the rest of Europe. 5% of Brits use wearable tech: seemingly low, but more than Italy, France or Spain. This shows that whilst wearables will be big in 2017, there’s some way to go until they’re mainstream.

Compared to Italy, many more Brits watch on demand TV and stream online content to a TV set. Would Italian viewing figures increase if Italian broadcasters increased their on demand offering? It seems likely.

The survey reveals the UK is a nation of online shoppers: 76% have purchased online in the past 30 days (37% on mobile). I wonder how much this is down to increased consumer desire and how much because British retailers offer particularly good e-retail experiences?

Spain (Slide 173 onwards)

In Spain, the survey reveals that more people have a smartphone than a television. An intriguing stat to consider when planning your next ad campaign. Could mobile placements be more valuable than traditional TV advertising?  The survey also reveals interesting stats on exactly what people are doing on mobile: In Spain 80% use their phone to access the internet, 47% play games, 44% access mobile banking and 78% view videos. Take note: in the modern day, phones are omnipresent.

France (Slide 55 onwards)

The stat that jumps out at me for France is that Facebook messenger is the country’s number one messaging app. It is significantly more popular than Whatsapp, which is barely used in the country, despite both messaging platforms being neck-and-neck globally. This is great news for brands hoping to launch chatbots in France, as Facebook Messenger offers this function. I’d suggest it’s also great news for brands hoping to one day gain data from dark social, as Facebook has a history of sharing (some would say oversharing) valuable data with advertisers. WhatsApp, on the other hand, uses end-to-end encryption for all messages: great news for privacy, not so much for learning what people are talking about.