Social Networks Poised to Play Role in Recession
With 40 million active users in the US, social networking has grown 93% since 2006 and is poised to play a vital role in the current economic downturn, that also predicts a related increase in social media advertising opportunities. 76% of US broadband users (105 million) are active contributors to the web via social media (including uploading photos, blogging, rating products and other Web 2.0 activities). Moreover, approximately 29%, or 40 million broadband users are regular contributors to the web specifically through social networking sites and are spending increasing amounts of their online time communicating with each other, both one-to-one and one-to-many, according to Netpop Research.
Key findings about US social networkers:
* Social networkers in the US are most likely to be single, employed women, age 18-39 and living somewhere between Indiana and the Atlantic Ocean, or along the west coast.
* A typical social networker connects weekly with an average of 18 people one-to-one, and 110 people one-to-many.
* Social networkers spend an average of 36% of their online time talking and sharing. This compares with 29% for non-contributors to social networks.
* Social networkers use multiple modes to communicate and stay in touch. These include IM, texts, blogs and microblogs.
* The top two social networks in the US are Facebook and MySpace. Currently, 60% of social networkers use Facebook, 63% use MySpace and 34% use both. However, Facebook has grown 500% between 2006 and 2008, catching up to MySpace in regular users in the past year.
* Other social networking sites are popular among subsets of US users with broadband, including employed networkers (who use LinkedIn, Friendster, Plaxo); students (who use IMeem, LastFM, and Veoh) and retirees (who use reunion, Groups.Google and Classmates.com).
Social networkers also are much more likely to shop and spend more online than their non-contributing peers. Social networkers buy a variety of products and services and spend an average of $101 online per month, the study found. This compares with non-contributors to social networks, who spend $80 per month. The top sources used by social networkers when making shopping decisions are search engines, brand or manufacturer sites, online-only retail sales and auction sites. Some 6% also use social networking sites to decide what to buy.
Individuals who participate in a social networking site, 71% have profiles on two or more different properties, with 26% having established four or more profiles.
Among social networkers who report having two or three profiles:
25.6% are 18 to 24 yearss old
23.3% are 25 to 34 years olds
14.7% are 35 to 44 years old
15.6% are 45 to 54 years old
18.4% are 55 to 64 years old
Among people with four or more profiles:
* 31% are between the ages of 25 and 34
* 14.1% are 55 to 64 years old
Social media will play the same role in this recession that movies played in the Depression. Brands that experiment in social advertising now will be in the best position to leverage these important media channels when the economy turns the corner.