Posts Tagged ‘demographics’

Women’s Embrace of Social Media Grows

pew internetIt goes without saying that social media’s march toward ubiquity continues to move forward.

But a recent study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project has some interesting factoids, highlighted by the fact that 75% of online women use social media compared with 63% of men.

As well, women are more active with 54% using social media on a daily basis, compared with 42% of men.

Overall, 69% of online adults in the U.S. now use social media services.

For marketers and brands, the Pew report provides more ammunition that social media is an attractive place to reach women online. This isn’t eye-opening news but the report provides even more demographic evidence when it comes to driving awareness and sales.

Some of the other findings from the Pew report include:

  • 12% of online adults say they use Pinterest
  • 12% of online adults say they use Instagram
  • 5% of online adults say they use Tumblr
  • 66% of online adults say they use Facebook
  • 20% of online adults say they use LinkedIn
  • 16% of online adults say they use Twitter
When it comes to the age of people using social media, 92% of online users between 18 to 29-years-old use social media, compared with 73% for the 30-to-49-years, 57% for people 50 to 64 and 38% for people older than 65.
social media

What is Facebook Appeal?

facebookSocial studies into our use of social media and the world’s most popular site abound these days.

Facebook has become such an integral part of many people’s everyday social lives, it is changing how we interact. As well, it has been able to attract more users, more visits and more social impact than any other social media site.

Reports on how women like to post mean photographs of their friends are somewhat interesting, but here’s one that pushes social media forward: A new U.S. study, published in the latest edition of the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, looked at the results of a survey of 417 undergraduate students.

While many assume Facebook users are there to build relationships, the study found people seeking entertainment were the most active users of Facebook.

Passing time and seeking information were also important. The appeal of building relationships. which most of us assume a connecting site like Facebook is all about, fell to the bottom in terms of importance to Facebook’s top users.

So simple. And perhaps something some of us could intuit without a huge university study.

But these kind of reports are still enlightening for social media users who may question their own motivation for using Facebook, Twitter, et al throughout the day.

More important, they add to developing an important body of knowledge for marketers, advertisers and digital media specialists. It is also rich fodder for Website designers looking to enrich their content to attract more visitors, as well as  those who are in the business of dreaming up the next big thing in social media.

If anyone can figure out Facebook’s magical recipe and whip up their own unique version of it they, they could become billionaires too. If only it was that easy!

The New Social Question: How Old Are You?

It seems like the social media world is asking this question a lot of late. For different reasons, this demographic information is becoming pivotal for the marketing and the content on our hottest social media services.

Twitter is testing out an age-screening tool to separate young from old. It wants to be able to attract big-budget alcohol advertisers and the like. But beer companies and others have been avoiding Twitter because the it’s just so darn easy to lie about your age when you register.

Meanwhile, Facebook is going the other way and wants to welcome the younger set more formally. It already has as many as 7.5 million users under age 13 who have lied to get on, according to a survey conducted by Consumer Reports last year.

The company has a policy, in accordance with U.S. regulations, to keep kids off. Now, it’s trying to find a way to get kids on Facebook, probably by linking them through their parents’ home pages, to keep on the good side of the rules.

The reason for this is Facebook’s troubles in the mobile market. Smartphone-friendly kids discovering the site anew could well boost that segment. As well, some experts think the plan could help Facebook preserve the integrity of its data collection, which gets skewed when people lie about their ages.

But once you dip you toe into the world of kids and online media, things get messy, fast. The privacy concerns are through the roof for this demographic, and cyberbullying is massive.

And despite the vast numbers of social media outlets that cater directly to kids, none has been able to break through and become a leader like some of the sites for adults.

The top ones seem to keep shutting down (Togetherville, Kidswirl) and even the mammoth sites like Club Penguin don’t seem to get support as the years pass (FYI it shut down briefly last year when Disney neglected to renew the domain name).

It’d be trite of me to say this should all work itself out in short order. The truth is, the issue of kids online and how to serve them safely and well is one we’ve been grappling with since the invention of the Web, and I suspect its resolution for social media channels is quite far away.

Twitter may be the smartest of the lot — seek out the kids, keep them off, and let the rest of the world continue this endlessly hot debate.

All Aboard the Twitter Bandwagon!

Do you Twitter?

If not, you probably should. After all, it’s becoming all the rage.

Who says? The Pew Internet & American Life, that’s who. In a survey unveiled last week, Pew said 8% of online adults use Twitter daily. It may seem relatively small but daily usage has doubled since May 2011, and quadrupled since late-2010. Overall, 15% of online adults use Twitter, compared with 13% in May 2011.


twitter pew

One of the most interesting parts of Pew’s survey is how young online users are embracing Twitter. Since late-2011, the percentage of this demographic using Twitter has nearly doubled to 31% from 16%.

twitter demographics


This is eye-opening given it was assumed that Facebook was the social media service of choice for younger people.

So what’s driving this growth. It’s difficult to pin down but Pew suggests some of the growth might be due to the rising use of smartphones.

Given it’s easy to manipulate number, what does the Pew survey really mean? 

It suggests that while Twitter is slowly, but surely, become more of a mainstream service used by a variety of demographic groups. Twitter may never enjoy the kind of ubiquity has Facebook because it’s a different beast that serves different needs. But there seems to be growing indications more people are finding it useful and valuable.

This is great news for the business side of Twitter, which has been grappling to land upon a robust business model. According to Bloomberg, Twitter is expected to have revenue of $1-billion by 2014, compared with $139.5-million in 2011. This is nearly double the estimate of eMarketer.

“The marketers who have used Twitter’s advertising opportunities have been pleased,” Nate Elliott, an analyst with Forrester Research told Bloomberg. “Twitter’s going to be able to push forward and continue to make more money from it.”

While Twitter is still far from being a mainstream service, the Pew survey illustrates it’s expanding beyond the geeks, social media junkies and online addicts.

What do you think? Is Twitter poised to mainstream adoption? How do you see the use of Twitter evolving as more climb on the bandwagon?

Time to Climb on the Social Media Express

If you believe in the adage “Numbers don’t lie”, then it would be fair to say that sooner or later everyone is going to be on the social media express.

According to a study by Experian Simmons, 91% of online U.S. adults visit a social networking service (social or professional networking sites, photo or video sharing sites, online forums or message boards, social tagging or bookmarking) in the past month. In terms of numbers, that’s 129 million people, or 41.3% of the total population.

That is certainly impressive but what is even more interesting, although not terribly surprising, is that 98% of online 18-to 24 year-olds use social networks each month.

And if you thought social network were just for younger people, consider this: the number of online people over the age of 65-years-old using social networks has jumped to 73% from 49% in the past two years.

So what does this mean for brands, organizations and digital marketers? If you haven’t already embraced social media, it would probably be a good idea to do so quickly. It has become obvious that social media not only not a fad but it has gone from new and interesting to mainstream in about five years, which is astounding.


Another interesting part of the Experian Simmons study was a look at where people go after visiting social networking or forum-categorized service. Other social network and forum sites topped the list (19%), followed by search engines (16%), multi-media (9%), shopping and classifieds (7%), email services (6%) and games (5%).


Some other interesting facts from the study include that:

– 46% of all online adults use social media to communicate with friends, up from 32% in 2009.
– 27% say they use social media to stay in touch with their siblings, up from 15% in 2009.
– 18% use social media to stay in touch with their children, up from just 6% of online adults in 2009
– 14% of adult children use social media to communicate with their parents, up from 5% in 2009.




Social Media and Older Demographics

Not that long ago, social media was seen as a young person’s game – a notion perpetuated by Facebook’s emergence into the mainstream from its roots as a social network used by university students.

The new reality, however, is that social is no longer a young person’s game. In fact, it’s becoming a landscape dominated by older users. According to a recent study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 52% of social networking users are 35+, compared with 34% in 2008.

Users in the 50-to- 65-year-old demographic jumped to 20% from 9%, while users who are more than 65-years-old (aka grandparents) tripled to 6% from 2%. (The chart below shows the breakdown between 2010 and 2008)

So what does this mean to social media?

The biggest impact will be on social media marketing because older people have more disposable income than younger people. We’re talking about Baby Boomers in the latter stages of their careers whose incomes have risen along their experience. As well, Baby Boomers in the U.S. are slated to inherit $8.4-trillion.

For marketers, this is a huge market with lots of money to spend on real estate, travel, electronics, luxury goods, clothing, dining, etc. For companies looking to drive sales, the target audience should be people who are more than 50-years-old because they have lots of dough to spend.

For social media, it should mean that marketing and advertising dollars will star to flow into places with a lot of older users such as Facebook. For anyone looking to get a better handle on Facebook’s revenue growth and its IPO prospects, Pew’s study offers a lot of food for thought.

In many respects, the demographic shift that people have been talking about in the last couple of years will start assume more importance as advertisers move more of their overall spending online and, in the process, allocate more to social networks.

Money talks, and so do demographics. The Pew study thrusts both issues into the spotlight and, as important, sets the stage for some serious financial and economic consequences.

Older People Will Change Social Networks

Anyone who suggests that social networks are dominated by young people will slowly, but surely, discover this is no longer the case.

According to a recent Pew Internet study, the number of online users over 50-years-old using social neworks nearly doubled to 42% in May 2010 from 22% in April 2009, while social networking usage in the 50-to-64-year-old demographic soared 88% to 47% from 25%. Meanwhile, social networking use among users ages 18-29 grew by 13%—from 76% to 86%.

“Young adults continue to be the heaviest users of social media, but their growth pales in comparison with recent gains made by older users,” said Mary Madden, a senior research specialist and author of the report.

“Email is still the primary way that older users maintain contact with friends, families and colleagues, but many older users now rely on social network platforms to help manage their daily communications.”

While the numbers suggest the demographics of social networks are starting to even out, a far more interesting angle is how the growing number of “seasoned” social network users will change how social networks operate and, as important, how advertisers and marketers approach social networks.

One of the changes that might happen is how social networks attract and retain older users. Rather than touting new features, some social networks may target older demographics by putting the spotlight on straightforward benefits.

There may also be an opportunity for third-party service providers to offer services that are strong on usability and user-friendliness as opposed to having lots of frills. For example, a new wave of services could tap Twitter’s API to create Twitter Lite.

For marketers, the increased presence of 50+ social networking users means more people with disposable income. This could boost the attractiveness of social networks for advertisers looking to reach consumers in different ways.

Another offshoot could see more companies climb on the social media bandwagon because senior executives will no longer be able to claim that social networks are only for young people.

The “greying” of social networks is a natural part of how the market is evolving. There is little doubt it will have a major impact on how companies and advertisers operate and make money.

Do Teenagers Really Not Use Twitter?

The blogosphere is all abuzz in the wake of a Morgan Stanley report written by a 15-year-old intern, Matthew Robson, that suggests, among other things, that “teenagers do not use Twitter” because they would rather use their credits sending text messages to friends.

The report caught the attention and imagination of a large number of news organizations, which reacted like Robson had finally revealed the long-sought insight into how teenagers use technology. But as Mashable’s Ben Parr succinctly noted the flaw in Robson’s well-written report is it’s based on anecdotal evidence as opposed to facts.

“While it’s easy to get swept up in the fact that a 15 year old wrote such a thoughtful report, we cannot lose sight that this is one analysis, and it is one without hard facts to back it up,” Parr wrote.

In Sysomos’ recently published “Inside Twitter” report, one of the areas we explored was the demographic make-up of Twitter users. We discovered that of the 0.7% of users who disclosed their age within a Twitter profile, 65% of them are under 25-years-old. (Note: Sysomos indexed 11.4 million Twitter profiles to create the report)

Twitter Age
Robson’s contention that teenagers aren’t using Twitter may, in fact, be true. But it is clearly difficult to accurately assess the demographic make-up of Twitter users without major statistics. Until this kind of information can be determined, Sysomos’ Inside Twitter report provides one of the best snapshots of Twitter demographics.

For more thoughts on Robson’s report, check out TechCrunch had a 16-year-old, Daniel Brusilovsky, write a post on why teenagers aren’t using Twitter. He contends teenagers prefer Facebook because it’s a closed network, which makes them feel it’s safer than Twitter. He also says Twitter is more expensive than Facebook.