The latest Pulse research study by Carat has found that 65% of people now follow brands on various social media platforms, up from 56% last year. According to the survey, more and more time is being spent on social networks, and 94% of Irish people have at least one social media profile, up from 91% last year, and 85% in 2012. When it comes to brand penetration, the majority of respondents (60%) follow a particular brand on social media because it is running a competition via social media. 16% follow a brand because they 'find the page content interesting', which has doubled from the 8% last year. Other reasons cited included to 'to keep up to date on brand offers' (12%), 'want to know more about the brand' (6%) and 'recommendation from a friend' (4%). "While the majority of people follow a brand’s page to take part in a competition, genuine interest in new content has doubled since last year," the report states. "This shows pay off for the many brands out there investing time and resource in creating engaging social media content." The study also found that 30% of social networking happens on smartphones, and 13% on tablets, with 37% of social networking taking place via smartphones and 20% via traditional desktop computers. Smartphone and tablet usage is up year-on-year. "More time is being spent on social networks than a year ago. The time spent across every site has increased, with the exception of LinkedIn," the report added. "While niche sites such as Vine, Snapchat, Tinder and Tumblr have a smaller base of users, those who do use them tend to spend a significant amount of time on each of these sites during a typical week."