Social Networking Study: Facebook Use Continues to Rise; Brand Participation and Engagement Heavily Welcomed by Social Networkers

Performics (http://www.performics.com) (www.performics.com), the performance marketing expert inside Publicis Groupe, today released results from “S-Net (The Impact of Social Media),” a report from ROI Research Inc. (www.roiresearch.com) sponsored by Performics. The study explores how social media permeates consumers’ lives and affects communication, shopping and other activities. Despite increased industry chatter over privacy concerns, the findings illustrate how social networks continue to drive changes in consumer behavior online and offer insights for marketers seeking to capitalize on emerging social media opportunities.

The study of 3,000 U.S. social network users tackled not only general behaviors and platform preferences for social sites; it delved deeper into how social sites affect family and friend relationships and consumer attitudes towards brands and products. The most staggering statistics include:

•    Eighty percent of respondents have an active Facebook account, and 23 percent of those without an active Facebook account plan to join in the next six months

•    Sixty-seven percent of respondents have reconnected with people through social networking sites that they never would have otherwise

•    Thirty-nine percent of Twitter users respond to other people’s tweets once a week or more

•    More than thirty percent of respondents access Facebook and/or Twitter from their mobile phone (through a browser or application) once a day or more

“Social networks have made real and substantial changes in the lives of their users, in part by empowering them to more actively participate with brands and each other,” said Daina Middleton, CEO of Performics. “More than a third of all respondents reported using a search engine to further learn after seeing an ad on a social networking site, for example, and more than a third think social networking sites are good sources of information about companies and products.”

Consumers reported a desire to connect with brands throughout the study:

•    Fifty percent of Facebook users click on Facebook ads to “like” a brand

•    Thirty-seven percent learned about a new product or service from a social networking site

•    Thirty-two percent of respondents have recommended a product/service/brand to friends via a social networking site

•    Thirty-two percent of Twitter users re-tweet content provided by a company or product

“Social networking has greatly contributed to the shift from strict consumerism to more lively, two-way participation between brands and everyday customers,” added Middleton. “It’s a groundswell of technology-enabled word of mouth, and many of the brands involved in these active discussions are effectively satisfying their fans.”

Specific to Facebook, for example, nearly 90 percent of respondents said that at least some of the companies and/or products they are a fan of are doing a good job providing relevant content. More than a third said most or all of them were doing a good job.

“Users are not only satisfied, they want more, which is a good sign for marketers,” noted Scott Haiges, president of ROI Research. “Respondents expressed a strong desire to get more printable coupons [49 percent, notifications of sales and special deals (46 percent), and information about new products [35 percent from companies or products on Facebook, and this rings truer in some industries more than others.”

In addition to the overall findings, which provide valuable and actionable insights to marketers, Performics and ROI Research this summer will release “vertical reports” that highlight findings specific to eleven different industries including apparel, automotive, entertainment, financial services and travel. The vertical reports will benchmark how consumers use social networking sites to get advice on what to purchase, use the sites to give advice on companies/products, and their likelihood to post vertical specific content. The vertical reports will include scorecards, providing further insight into these critical consumer categories and benchmarking the vertical industries against overall findings.

S-Net (The Impact of Social Media), a report from ROI Research Inc., sponsored by Performics, used a 30-minute online survey to collect responses from 3,000 U.S. consumers who access at least one social network regularly. Responses were compiled, analyzed and, trended against data from wave I, fielded in October of 2009. The objective of this study was to determine how various segments of consumers use social networks in their daily lives, specifically with regard to the purchase process for different types of products and in relation to other media channels.

To request a complimentary copy of the S-Net’s key findings, please contact Addie Reed at: areed (at) preturn (dot) com.

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