The Social Media Landscape

M6, West Midlands

Britons spend 62 million hours a day on social media

Source: First Direct  April 2013

Social media has become a huge and influential communication channel. It’s vital for organisations to acknowledge this and understand what it means for their own services and customers’ requirements.

Still not convinced, what with all this talk of digital divides, of disconnected communities, and isn’t social media all a bit niche and just for kids sat in bedrooms?

Here are some pretty compelling numbers on the digital landscape…

The very big picture in the UK

  • 80% of UK homes have internet access (46% for the over 65s)
  • 76% of UK homes have broadband access
  • Smart phone and tablet ownership  ownership is higher in the UK than anywhere else in Europe
  • Two-thirds (64%) of adults say that technology has changed the way that they communicate
  • 57% say that new communications methods have made their lives easier
  •  Family members are more likely to text one another than meet face-to-face
  • 58% of UK adults own a smartphone (16-24yr-olds 66%, 25-34yr-olds 60% but 65+ just 2%)
  • Tablet growth – was 2% in Q1 2011, 11% Q1 2012 and growing quickly
  • 17% of UK adults intend to buy a tablet in the next 12 months
  • 39% of tablet users read less content on paper
  •  58% download social media apps
  • 37% of tablet owners share them with people they live with, broadening their use further

(source: The communications market, Ofcom, 2012)


Hyperlocal websites

Hyperlocal websites are becoming increasingly important local communications channels for news and content. The West Midlands leads in the development of these sites, which are often promoted and reached via social media.

  • Around one in seven (14%) UK adults say that they use local community websites at least monthly. Adults aged between 25-34 are more likely to use these services (22%), while those aged over 65 are less likely (7%)
  •  To those that use them, local community websites are important, with 37% of users rating the importance of services as 7 or more out of 10 –  this is higher than other services such as local newspaper websites (27%)

(source: The communications market, Ofcom, 2012)

  • Birmingham has the highest concentration of hyperlocal (local online news/content) websites in the UK

(source Openly Local/Birmingham City University, May 2012)

Hyperlocal* sites within administrative geographical boundary (Source: May 2013)

*Nesta defines a hyperlocal site as: “Online news or content pertaining to a town, village, single postcode or other small geographically defined area.”

Birmingham 37
Bromsgrove 0
Cannock Chase 2
Coventry 0
Dudley 1
East Staffordshire 2
Herefordshire 1
Lichfield 2
Malvern 1
Newcastle-under-Lyme 0
North Warwickshire 2
Nuneaton & Bedworth 0
Redditch 0
Rugby 1
Sandwell 3
Solihull 3
South Staffordshire 0
Staffordshire 23
Shropshire 4
Stafford 5
Staffordshire Moorlands 1
Stoke-on-Trent 8
Stratford-upon-Avon 1
Tamworth 2
Telford 3
Walsall 3
Warwickshire 1
Wolverhampton 1
Worcester 0
Worcestershire 2
Wychavon 0
Wyre Forest 1

Social media in numbers…

The number of users of social media in the UK have reached such significant levels that their inclusion in organisational communications activities have become essential.

New platforms are emerging all of the time and some of them, like Pinterest and Instagram, are growing rapidly. The user numbers for the most popular platforms looks like this:

Facebook     30million UK users

Twitter          10million UK users

LinkedIn     6million UK users

Flickr             6billion images (218,000 of them for the West Midlands)


Facebook accounts within 10 miles of the main council building (source: Facebook, May 2013.)

Birmingham 690,500
Bromsgrove 16,240
Cannock Chase 29,720
Coventry 171,560
Dudley 38,520
East Staffs 18,880
Herefordshire 49,880
Lichfield 20,860
Malvern 9,500
Newcastle-under-Lyme 15,700
North Warwickshire 15,700
Nuneaton & Bedworth 40,520
Redditch 39,000
Rugby 41,380
Sandwell 7,220
Solihull 38,080
South Staffordshire 1,060
Staffordshire 44,820
Shropshire 53,820
Stafford 44,820
Staffordshire Moorlands 9,100
Stoke-on-Trent 130,620
Stratford-upon-Avon 17,880
Tamworth 42,060
Telford 69,020
Walsall 71,860
Warwickshire 19,760
Wolverhampton 145,720
Worcester 80,280
Worcestershire 80,280
Wychavon 3,600
Wyre Forest 27,100


 Picture credit




One thought on “The Social Media Landscape

  1. Pingback: Why I’m proud of the Best by West Midlands whitepaper | The Dan Slee Blog

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