BERLIN: Consumers in Germany are increasingly using social media services as a starting point to learn about media content and brands, a study has revealed.

BITKOM, the trade body, and Forsa, the research firm, surveyed 753 users of these platforms to discover their current attitudes and habits.

Overall, 28% of respondents frequently utilised such sites to stay in touch with the latest news, rising to 34% of 14–29 year olds.

This could be compared with scores of 23% for 30–49 year olds and 24% for participants that were 50 years old or more.

"The impetus to conduct further research on a news website begins on social networks for more and more people," Ralph Haupter, a board member at BITKOM, said. "News providers can, in turn, increase clickthrough rates significantly."

Another 14% of the panel revealed they regularly learned about new products through these services, while 4% had contacted brand owners directly via this route.

More broadly, the analysis suggested that properties like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter had become an "integral part of the internet landscape" in Germany.
To date, 40m people have signed up to at least one relevant site, with penetration levels reaching 96% among internet users beneath 30 years of age.

In all, a third of consumers that belong to a social network log on to their preferred service at least once a day, confirming the broader trend, the report added.

"It is worthwhile for other companies, and not just news providers, to regularly update their community profile," said Haupter.

Data sourced from BITKOM; additional content by Warc staff