More people are active online than you might think including Seniors

What about people not on social media?

A question that we often get asked, is what about people who are not on social media?

For example, maybe seniors aren’t on social media and children don’t have phones.

More people are active online than you might think

Think about when you last:
Opened Google Maps?
Registered for an online event?
Checked or posted on a social media account?

All of this activity contributes to social data. 

In Australia, there are 21.3 million people on social media every day, that’s 81% of the population and more people than are enrolled to vote. 

What might surprise you is that Seniors over 65 are one of the greatest growth areas in the use of social media. Older Australians have experienced a considerable change in their digital habits. 

Research from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) shows the number of people aged 75 and over who use social media doubled from 18 per cent in June 2019, to 41 per cent in June 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Seniors are engaging in a broader range of online activities, more frequently and across different devices.




Two types of data:  Solicited and Unsolicited

When we look across the Neighbourlytics data set, we tap into two types of digital data, solicited data and unsolicited data. 

The majority of the digital data points that we tap into are unsolicited, which means that if you have a cell phone and you exist in a local location, your data is going to be picked up in the broader data set anonymously. 

 The other type of data is solicited information, which means that it’s user-generated in some way that’s generated through things like user-generated maps (ie Google Maps), check-ins, likes, ratings and reviews or posting photos online.


How we reduce bias

It’s true that not everyone uses every social media platform. One of the ways that we reduce the bias is by tapping into multiple different platforms so that we’re covering all kinds of different lifestyle behaviours. 

What we also know is that the vast majority of people carry a mobile phone and over 80 percent of people are on different social media channels. By looking at this wide variety of data sets, we’re able to capture the population level trends. 

It’s true that there are individuals in any demographic who are not online, but what’s not true is that there is one total vertical missing. 

In some areas of the population that we would expect to not be online, for example, children under 10, we can understand lifestyle patterns in a different way. 


Asking the right questions about the lifestyle data set

Our question is not to understand what children post online because we hope they’re not. Our question is to understand how child-friendly this neighbourhood or place is.

If we’re asking that question, we can look at the carer data because it turns out that parents and caregivers post a lot about children online. And that gives us intelligence to understand where our child-friendly facilities are located and if it’s a family-friendly neighbourhood. 

So, while the data set is quite comprehensive, it also comes down to asking the right questions about the lifestyle data set.


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