by Ailsa McKnight IGT Appealing to the Multi-Social Consumer

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Cell phone with broad social network

The use of multiple social networks and communication methods is becoming commonplace. From pokes to emojis, and from Facebook posts to self-destructing Snapchat images, we are witnessing a new level of digital dexterity within communication habits.

Consumers are embracing what IGT’s trendspotting partner, The Foresight Factory, calls Multi-Social living. Seventy-nine percent of weekly gamblers (including lottery players) use online social networks daily, increasing to 93 percent for this group in Mexico and Indonesia, and 95 percent in Thailand. Through social platforms, consumers can express themselves and share, in an incalculable number of ways, with many distinct groups – both personal and professional - and in context-appropriate language.

Rapid growth in the number of social networks means that the vocabulary of modern communication is evolving to include photos, videos, linked content, and even biometric data alongside traditional voice and text messaging, but often in its place. For example, 42 percent of consumers who play lottery weekly enjoy sending emojis in text messages or in online messages, rising to 57 percent in China, but at just 28 percent in Great Britain.

This data highlights the importance of regional differences in the Multi-Social Consumer. Social media usage may be part of daily life across the globe, but there are significant differences in the types of social media used between regions. In China, Russia, and South Korea, for example, we see WeChat, VKontakte, and Kakao dominating instead of players like Facebook and WhatsApp that are popular in other regions. Eighty-one percent of weekly gamblers in the U.S. have used Facebook in the past month, increasing to 89 percent for the same group in Italy. However, for China and Russia, this is just 22 percent and 49 percent respectively. On the other hand, 87 percent of Chinese consumers have used WeChat in the last month. This difference in platform usage is partly due to local legislative environments, which often make it more difficult for Western networks to enter these markets.

Crucial to this trend, however, is that in many countries around the world, local and global platforms are used in parallel by consumers who are increasingly able to match types of messages to the appropriate platform, format, and audience. We see that 76 percent of weekly gamblers globally have used Facebook in the past month, 72 percent YouTube, 51 percent WhatsApp, and 39 percent Twitter.

A good example of a brand adapting to specific platform usage and new consumer behavior is ShopChat, launched in March 2017. The ShopChat app is and aimed at making it easier to talk about brands and discover products between friends without having to copy and paste links or send photos of a product you like. For brands, these conversations have gone untracked to date, but now ShopChat finally offers those “dark” metrics that marketers have so desperately craved, while retaining users’ privacy.

Furthermore, ShopChat is an app that works inside existing messaging platforms so that consumers don’t have to change their favorite methods of chatting. The app simply inserts images and links from brand partners like Foot Locker, Macy’s, Sephora, Guess, and PetSmart that users can browse, react to, and share. Users are able to “like” and adorn these images with a number of emojis, meaning that the app is also becoming a form of self-expression.

As usage fragments among multiple networks, with different behavioral norms, lottery companies must become fluent across all networks, for consumers can easily spot poorly judged or insincere content. It will no longer be enough for brands to stick to the form of communications that suits them best. They must learn to speak the language of consumers in the styles and on the platforms where they speak with each other.

 Source (emoticons): Foresight Factory Research | Base: 1000-2000 online respondents per country aged 16+ (China 16-64), 2016 October
Source (others): Foresight Factory Research | Base: 1000-5000 online respondents per country aged 16-64 (Indonesia & S. Africa 16-54), 2016 February