Social media users* in the U.S. find advertising is a fair price to pay for using social media sites and features. Fifteen percent are more inclined to buy brands that advertise in social media, representing slightly more than 30 million people 13–80 years old. Social media site ads also drive brand exploration, with 25% more inclined to find out more about brands that advertise on social media sites. When coupled with the fact that social media use has reached almost universality, marketers may consider the medium as more than a listening tool.
These are among the key findings of a major social media study being conducted as a venture between Knowledge Networks and MediaPost Communications. Called The Faces of Social Media, the new study shows that a majority (59%) of social media users say ads are a fair price to pay for social media sites and features. The fifteen percent who are more inclined to purchase from brands that advertise on social media sites compares favorably with levels found among HDTV viewers and VOD users.
Advertisers may find those with smartphones to be more receptive to their messages, and an intersection exists with social media that is worth further marketing exploration. Of 13- to 54-years-old smartphone owners who have apps on their phone, almost a third (32%) say they are more inclined to purchase the brands that advertise or have marketing messages in the app. And almost three quarters (70%) of them say ads are a fair price to pay compared to social media's 59%.
Ads within apps also appeal to smartphone owners between the ages of 13 and 54, with 40% saying that ads they see while using their smartphones are usually relevant to their "needs and interests."
"Marketers can expect more impact reaching social media users via mobile, based on these new findings," said Chuck Martin, Director of the Center for Media Research at Media Post Communications. "As more people move to smartphones, there will be an increased opportunity for advertisers to improve their reach to consumers with increased relevance."
social media usage
The social media listening / targeting pool for marketers has also gotten more comprehensive. Frequency of use of social media has grown in the past year, with a quarter of teens and adults using social media daily, which represents 20% of the American population. Overall usage has increased, with 82% of the teen and adult population using social media, an increase from 69% in 2009, the study found.
Past-year social media growth is attributable to more GenXers (those between ages 32–45) and Boomers (46–65 years-old) joining in. For GenX, usage from 2009 to 2010 increased from 70 to 85%. Usage among Boomers increased from 54 to 76%. Among Millennials/GenY — those 13- to 31-years-old — usage grew from 84 to 91% over the last year.
"We have learned that as social media usage has become nearly universal, its influence on inclination to purchase cannot be ignored," said Patricia Graham, Chief Strategy Officer of Knowledge Networks. "Yet, we also see that the level of social media influence on categories varies widely, and that is what The Faces of Social Media additionally examines."
*The study defined social media as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Myspace, and other similar sites and services.[Source: The Faces of Social Media. Knowledge Networks and MediaPost Communications. 29 Nov. 2010. Web. 2 Dec. 2010.]