Internet Users Turn To Social Media To Seek One Another, Not Brands Or Products

A new report by Knowledge Networks gives advertisers, marketers and researchers a clearer picture of the motivations and attitudes of social media users – with sometimes-surprising results. While 83% of the Internet population (ages 13 to 54) participates in social media – 47% on a weekly basis – less than 5% of social media users regularly turn to these sites for guidance on purchase decisions in any of nine product/service categories. In addition, only 16% of social media users say they are more likely to buy from companies that advertise on social sites.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Menlo Park, CA -- A new report by Knowledge Networks gives advertisers, marketers and researchers a clearer picture of the motivations and attitudes of social media users – with sometimes-surprising results. While 83% of the Internet population (ages 13 to 54) participates in social media – 47% on a weekly basis – less than 5% of social media users regularly turn to these sites for guidance on purchase decisions in any of nine product/service categories. In addition, only 16% of social media users say they are more likely to buy from companies that advertise on social sites.

The study, How People Use® Social Media, was produced as part of The Home Technology Monitor™, a service that provides highly accurate views of which media technologies people own or have access to, as well as how they are integrating those technologies into their everyday lives. The research was conducted from March 10 through 16, 2009, among 502 members of KnowledgePanel®, the only online panel based on a representative sample of the full U.S. population.

"Social media use" was defined as having visited any one of 27 social sites (see list at end of release) or having used social features on other sites. Participation in social media is indeed widespread among those 13 to 54; but when Knowledge Networks asked users whether they regularly turn to these sites when trying to make a purchase decision, the highest percentages among nine categories were 4%, for travel and banks/financial services. Responses for clothes/shoes, restaurants, mobile phone services and five other categories ranged from 1% to 3% (see table).

Almost two thirds (63%) of social media users agree that ads are a "fair price to pay" for use of these sites and features; but a much smaller proportion (16%) say they are more likely to buy from advertising brands. "Staying connected" – to friends and family, as well as meeting new people – is by far what is "most liked" (54%) about participating in social media.

The study also shows that:

  • 34 percent of social media users report using these sites or features more often now compared to a year ago, while 18% said they use them less
  • just 1% of the total online population – and the same proportion of social media participants – uses Twitter once a week or more
  • 60% of social media participants say they only access these sites and features at home

In addition, the report covers such topics as how social media use affects media choice, feelings about advertising on social media, and differences between users and non-users of social media.

"Our findings show that marketers need to be prudent and people-centric in how they approach social media," said David Tice, Vice President and Group Account Director, Knowledge Networks. "Social media users do not have a strong association between these sites and purchase decisions; they see them as being more about personal connection – so finding ways to embrace that powerful function is key. The fact that they are using social media more now than a year ago is a strong indicator that the influence of these sites and features is here to stay."

Knowledge Networks specializes in solving complex, high-impact problems, providing extraordinary quality and service to leaders in government, academia, and business. We work closely with clients to create sound public policies, accurate social science research, healthy consumer-brand connections, and effective marketing and advertising. We have established respected practices in government & academic studies, media, marketing, and advertising. KN excels in study design, analytics, and custom panel creation; we deliver affordable, statistically valid online research through KnowledgePanel® – the only available probability selected, nationally representative Internet panel.

Definition: For the purposes of this study, social media users were defined as those who ever use any of 27 pre-specified websites commonly categorized as social media sites, or those who have used social media features on other websites that are not primarily social media sites. The list of 27 pre-specified social media sites were:

Bebo.com

Blackplanet.com

Cafemom.com

Classmates.com

ClubPenguin.com

Del.icio.us

Digg.com

Facebook.com

Flickr.com

Flixster.com

Friendster.com

Hi5.com

Imeem.com

Last.fm

Live.com

LinkedIn.com

Livejournal.com

Myspace.com

Myyearbook.com

Ning.com

Picasa.com

Plaxo.com

Reddit.com

Reunion.com

Tagged.com

Twitter.com

YouTube.com

Related

KnowledgeNetworks-Logo.gif

New study reveals social networking sites might not be the new advertising frontier many hoped

A new report from Knowledge Networks indicates users of social networking sites rarely rely on advertising or product guidance before making a product purchase. While 83 percent of the Internet population (ages 13 to 54) participates in social media -- 47 percent on a weekly ...read more

BIGresearch Profiles Social Media Users; Not all Created Equal

COLUMBUS, OH -- Marketers continue to grapple with effectively allocating media in a changing consumer-controlled marketplace in which social media is a growing force. According to a new analysis of BIGresearch’s Simultaneous Media Usage Survey (SIMM 14-Jun 09) of over 22,000 ...read more

Panel Of Outdoor Industry Influencers To Share Social Media Successes

Salt Lake City, Utah – Key members of the outdoor adventure community today announced the creation of a guerilla-style panel discussion that exclusively utilizes social media channels to plan, organize and draw audiences to the event. Slated to take place at the Outdoor ...read more

Socialize your Social Media Strategy with Onit Marketing at OR

Is Your Company truly social? Outdoor Retailer is next week! Do you have your social media strategy set-up? Whether you need a consultation to get your social media started, training for your team, or a partner to grow your community, ONIT is here for you.Roni will be at OR ...read more

Computer_keyboard.jpg

Three studies reveal surprising shift in social media use patterns

Three studies, released March 2-3, indicate that Facebook continues to dominate and increase its place of importance among those who favor social media. The Retail Advertising and Marketing Association, a division of the National Retail Federation, announced, on March 3, the ...read more

Did you hear?... Internet users socialize more with their family and friends

A just-released survey of Internet users came up with the opposite of what people somehow think. It revealed that Internet users actually socialize more with their family and friends than non-Internet users. What ends up getting axed out of the equation is quite as much TV time, ...read more

Webinar: Social Media Campaigns and Online Advertising

Donna Martino Outdoor Industry Association 303.327.3520 dmartino@outdoorindustry.org OIA Outdoor University® Online Session: Tuesday, March 8 Promotional Pros and Legal Pitfalls of Social Media Campaigns and Online Advertising Boulder, CO — March 7, 2011 — On Tuesday, March 8, ...read more

5 Ways Cities are Using Social Media to Reverse Economic Downturn

Roanoke, VA (December 16, 2010) - Founded in 2005, Mashable is the top source for news in social and digital media, technology and web culture. With more than 30 million monthly pageviews, Mashable is the most prolific news site reporting breaking web news, providing analysis of ...read more

La Sportiva Increases Social Media Presence with LIVE

La Sportiva N.A. is launching a new social media web community today called LIVE. This new portal combines all of La Sportiva's new media and social media and highlights grassroots efforts in the climbing, hiking and Mountain Running® communities into one user-friendly webpage. ...read more