August 25, 2013 § Leave a comment
It was all over the news. Facebook fatigue. Beginning in February of this year, studies and articles surfaced regarding the current state of Facebook and the apparent decline in use and overall membership. While company leaders deny its validity, the studies seem to tell a different tale.
In a study done by the Pew Research Center in February, Pew found that 61% of Facebook users who responded had taken an extended, multi-week break from Facebook in the previous year. In the same study, researchers found that of Facebook users aged 18-29, 40% said they planned on using Facebook less in the coming year.
Why does this matter? Teen and young adult Facebook users make up an $819 billion consumer segment whose opinions are often influenced by what they see on social media. With less of that segment on Facebook, advertisers might need to find a way to bring their ads to other increasingly popular social media outlets, causing Facebook to lose ad sales. Overall, this could affect the way companies, people, and advertisers interact with the young adult demographic.
My favorite take on Facebook came from a Mashable Post: I’m 13 and None of My Friends Use Facebook. The 13-year old cites that her friends are on social media but they prefer Snapchat, Instagram and Vine. Some of the reasons for the fail of Facebook for this generation are the number of parents online, bullying and the fact that Facebook is just trying too hard!
Many cite the influx of older users as the cause of the deterrence, particularly the increase in use by parents and grandparents of current young users. Similarly, people cite that Facebook has issues of privacy. Privacy is an issue. TRUSTe revealed that 94 percent of U.S. online adults want the ability to control who collects their personal information and tracks their activities online, not what Facebook intends. In a 2012 Associated Press-CNBC poll, three of every five Facebook users said they had little or no faith in Facebook protecting their personal information. But more surprising, in the same report, an astonishing 51 percent of young adults consider Facebook a passing fad.
Well, Facebook is a fad with a billion users. The truth is that social media is constantly evolving, and each generation will find its own place online. Facebook may make changes and attract different audiences, but the truth is Facebook is probably not going the way of My Space anytime soon. There are still a billion people on Facebook and many businesses are built on it – like the youth-friendly Instagram.
But for marketers, it is important to understand the usage patterns of our target audiences and be aware of new patterns developing. I always advise clients to spend about 10% of their budget experimenting with new media tactics.
October 11, 2012 § Leave a comment
Okay, so the election is coming up and the comments on Facebook are coming faster and getting more rude all the time. The trash talk really heated up after the first Presidential debate. I’m stunned at what people will post on Facebook or say on Twitter – and then I come across the following bit of information.
A new study from professors at Columbia University and the University of Pittsburgh, first publicized in the Wall Street Journal, found that browsing Facebook lowers our self-control. The effect is most noticeable with people whose Facebook networks are made up of close friends. Why are we aggressive online? Experts say we’re less inhibited online because we don’t have to see the reaction of the person we’re addressing.
Here’s how it happens: We tend to present an “enhanced” image of ourselves on Facebook. This positive image—and the encouragement we get, in the form of “likes”—boosts our self-esteem. And when we have an inflated sense of self, we tend to exhibit poor self-control. We somehow adopt a feeling of entitlement and that causes us to lash out at others who don’t agree with our views.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the researchers conducted a series of five studies. In one, they asked 541 Facebook users how much time they spent on the site and how many close friends they had in their Facebook networks. They also asked about their offline lives, including questions about their debt and credit-card usage, their weight and eating habits and how much time they spent socializing in person each week.
A Hefty Side Effect to All That Facebook
Another side effect of all this Facebook bravado is some added weight. People who spend more time online and have a larger percentage of close ties in their Facebook friends were more likely to participate in binge eating and to have a great body mass index.
So there you have it, ladies – Facebook can make you pudgy and can make you lose your filter like Dorothy’s mother on The Golden Girls.
October 3, 2012 § Leave a comment
New information released from My Life shows that while women are more likely to be a member of Facebook and login more frequently, they also exhibit a “fear of missing out (FOMO)”. The study also reinforces the fact that women are more likely to check their e-mail accounts more often. We are all living in “real time”. Social media and email brings the world to us on a constant basis. The world is increasing our interactivity constantly. As I write this the first Presidential Debate is airing. It was the most tweeted and Facebooked political event in history. Social media has become the proverbial “water cooler” and “backyard fence”.
Lots of studies have shown that women are more active in social media so what’s the news here? Well, not only are women more likely to be a member of Facebook but they also check-in with more frequency.
- 95% of women surveyed belong to Facebook vs. 86% of men
- 67% of women login to Facebook once a day or more as compared with 54% of male Facebook members
- 21% of women login 2-3 times a day vs. 15% of men
- Only 13% of women say they login to Facebook less than once a week. One in five (20%) of men said the same
Women are also checking into their email more regularly than men.
- 83% of women check their primary email once a day or more vs. 75% of men
- This goes up to 90% of females age 35-44 as compared with 85% of men the same age
Why the FOMO Funk?
Why do women have this fear of missing out on things? For email, could it be that women are constantly in charge as the Chief Operating Officers of their families? They are dealing with children, family, spouses. Women are juggling work expectations and dealing with family schedules.
In connecting to their social networks, women are looking to their friends for the news they can use.
- 65% of women (vs. 59% of men) say they keep an eye on their social networking profiles because they don’t want to miss news or an important event or status update
- One quarter of female respondents (25%) said they typically visit or log-on to their social networking profiles when they wake up, before they check their email accounts. Only 18% of men report checking social networking profiles before e-mail
- 47% of women wish there was a solution to help them manage all their social networking profiles (vs. 40% of men)
- Marketing to Women: OMG! Do you have FOMO? Social Media Addiction? (jamiedunham.wordpress.com)
- Jeffrey Tinsley: FOMO Trumps FOPL With American Adults (huffingtonpost.com)
March 16, 2012 § 1 Comment
I talk to marketers frequently who do not see the relationship between blogs and purchase activity. But recent research from BlogHer shows that 61% of active blog users say they have made a purchase based on a recommendation from a blog. Among those in the BlogHer network, that purchase activity rises to 87%.
One of the leading indicators of purchase intent is trust. And 81% of women trust the information and advice they receive from blogs. That trust factor is measured at 67% for Facebook, 73% for Twitter and a surprising 81% for that upstart Pinterest. The research indicates that blogs drive the highest percentage of conversions from trust to action, with the before-mentioned 61% of blog readers indicating that they made a purchase based on a recommendation from a blog. Why is Facebook less trusted? Facebook is more about community than recommendations. Women choose Facebook over blogs for staying up to date with friends and family (87% vs. 20%), having fun (77% vs. 41%), entertainment (69% vs. 50%), and contributing to a community (41% vs. 28%).
So at what point in the purchase funnel does a blog become important? Thirty-five percent of blog readers turn to online social media first when they decide to make a purchase; 42% turn to blogs when they have narrowed their decision to a couple of choices; and 9% turn to social sites when they are in the store shopping. The in-store shoppers will only grow as smartphones become more ubiquitous.
Should you forget Facebook ads? Absolutely not. What you should do is consider blogs as a media.