Some new data about adults and digital social network use in the US and around the world:
Adults are much less likely than teens to have a profile on a social network website. About three in ten (35%) adult internet users age 18 and older have a profile on a social networking site like MySpace, Facebook or LinkedIn. Meanwhile, teenagers are roughly twice as likely as adults to use these sites: among teens 12 to 17 years old, 65% have a profile on an online social network. Despite comparatively lower levels of social network use, usage of social network sites by adults has increased markedly over the past four years.
Back in February of 2005, just 8% of adult internet users had used a social network site. That percentage had risen to 16% by August of 2006, and as of December 2008 stands at 35% of online adults…
Social network users are equally likely to be men and women, and are also more likely to be young: 75% of online adults between ages 18 and 24 have a social network profile, as do 57% of wired adults between 25 and 34. Profile ownership drops to 30% among 35-44 year olds, 19% among 45-54 year olds, 10% among 55 to 64 year olds and 7% of online adults 65 and older. Similarly, social network users are also more likely to be students — 68% of full time students and 71% of part-time students have a social network profile, while just 28% of adults who are not students use social networks. Whites are less likely than African-Americans or Hispanics to have a profile on an online social network. Nearly one third 31% of online white adults have a social networking profile, compared with 43% of African-Americans and 48% of Hispanics…
Overall, adults tend to use social networks for personal reasons more than professional ones (89% primarily use them to stay in touch with friends) … Among adults, MySpace is the most popular online social network. Half (50%) of adult social network users age 18 and older are on MySpace, while 22% of adult social network users have an account on Facebook. Another 6% have an account on LinkedIn, 2% have an account on Yahoo, and 1% each have accounts on YouTube and Classmates.com. Another aggregate 10% of adult online social network users have profiles on other sites, including BlackPlanet, Orkut, Hi5 and Match.com.
More from A. Lenhart, Adults and social network sites. Pew Internet and American Life Project.
Twitter and similar services have been most avidly embraced by young adults. Nearly one in five (19%) online adults ages 18 to 24 have ever used Twitter and its ilk, as have 20% of online adults 25 to 34. Use of these services drops off steadily after age 35 with 10% of 35 to 44 year olds and 5% of 45 to 54 year olds using Twitter. The decline is even more stark among older internet users; 4% of 55-64 year olds and 2% of those 65 and older use Twitter. Given the youth of most Twitter users, it is not surprising to find that online Americans who live in lower-income households are more likely to use Twitter than more affluent Americans. Some 17% of internet users in households earning less than $30,000 tweet and update their status, compared with 10% of those earning more than $75,000 annually…
Twitter users are overwhelmingly young. However, unlike the majority of other applications with a similarly large percentage of youth, Twitter use is not dominated by the youngest of young adults. Indeed, the median age of a Twitter user is 31. In comparison, the median age of a MySpace user is 27, Facebook user is 26 and LinkedIn user is 40…
Along with communicating extensively via untethered (wireless) mobile devices, Twitter users are more likely to consume news and information on these devices as well. For many Twitter users, learning about and sharing relevant and recent nuggets of information is a primary utility of the service. While Twitter users are just as likely as others to consume news on any given day, they are more likely to consume it on mobile devices and less likely to engage with news via more traditional outlets…
More from A. Lenhart, Twitter and status updating. Pew Internet and American Life Project.
And the top 25 social network sites in January 2009 from complete.com:
And how social network site use varies by global regions (from Global Thoughtz):
...as well as the popularity of specific sites.
Many nonprofit and public agencies hope and pray that reporters will cover their issue, mention their specific agency (or not!) and maybe even source a quote from their staff. Media outreach or media relations are usually part of the communications mix (the PR function) for these organizations. Applying some marketing know-how to better understand and serve this priority audience, and not simply blast faxes or emails at them, is something I find few organizations spend much time thinking about or working on (see who is critical for success?).
By now you probably know that many reporters find their stories and background information on the internet just like everyone else. If you don't have an internet presence, you are already at a great disadvantage for media coverage. If you do have a website and use it for media relations, you are likely doing much of it wrong. Or at least that is what Jakob Nielsen concludes from three years of research with 40 journalists from around the world.
He reports that the 5 top reasons reporters will visit your website are to:
Your management team may find upgrading your website to be more reporter-friendly a low priority use of resources. In that case, have them consider this:
Journalists repeatedly said that poor website usability could reduce or completely eliminate their press coverage of a company. For example, after having a difficult time using a site, one journalist said: "… I would be reluctant to go back to the site. If I had a choice to write about something else, then I would write about something else."
And his book that tells all: Designing Websites to Maximize Press Relations.
The story is about entertainment and mobile; the facts underlying it are important for you to understand. Laura Holson reports in the NYT on how the relentless pursuit of information about celebrities has washed over the mobile landscape. Anyone can become part of the paparazzi with their mobile phone and instantly upload their celebrity siting to various websites. Celebrity gossip, entertainment news, text alerts and live red carpet broadcasts can be instantly accessed from your mobile device as well ...as smartphones, with their faster connections and improved
graphics, became more popular, particularly among women, People.com
explored the idea this year of retooling its Web site to make it more
user friendly for owners of BlackBerrys and iPhones. People, like
several news organizations, including its rival E!, is creating a
specific application for the iPhone dedicated to celebrity news.
Getting beyond the tactics, she quotes these factoids - for your consideration.
New mobile phones are coming to market that are making it even easier for people to have instant access to information they want when and where they want it - the iPhone may have accelerated the trend of people using their phones to access the web. “We are getting past the early adopters and attracting a more mainstream audience,” said John Najarian, executive vice president for digital media and business development for the Comcast Entertainment Group, the division of Comcast that owns E!
I recently learned that the CDC has it first pages up on a new mobile site. Is that the future of public health, health communications and social marketing, or are we simply trying to catch up with people's present reality?
Nearly half of all PSAs aired on US television stations in 2005 ran between midnight and 6AM, reinforcing the true meaning of the acronym. The finding is from the Kaiser Family Foundation report released today: Shouting To Be Heard (2): Public Service Advertising in a Changing Television World. Perhaps more sobering for the true believers in PSAs is that this figure has not significantly changed since 2000 and is part of the total of 0.5% of airtime given to communications for the public good.
Further evidence of the deterioration of Public Service Advertising is that the report now distinguishes between 'donated' PSAs and 'paid' ones (only 27% of those run after midnight and 51% are by for-profit companies).
Some other sobering facts for those with visions of using television in their campaigns:
The report notes that while the debate has raged for years over requiring broadcasters to dedicate a certain amount of time to communications for the public good in return for their access to public airwaves (say 1min/hour compared to the current 17 seconds), one might expect this issue to spillover into new media and mobile phones in the next few years.
A viewer would have to watch more than 200 hours of television before they’d see even a single hour of donated PSAs; and during that time, they’d see more than 50 hours of ads and promos...This report offers a sobering reminder to national and local nonprofits that relying solely on donated PSAs on television may provide neither the reach nor the frequency that public education campaigns need.
And the Ad Council, the industry-supported and largest producer and distributor of PSAs reported revenues in 2007 of $38.7 million. Not bad for a questionable approach to affect positive social change.
Following on the comments of the CMO of P&G at the AAAA meeting, Mich Mathews, senior vice president of Microsoft's central marketing group, also planted the MS flag firmly in the audience generated content space.
In what Mathews termed the "Era of Customer Participation," she said the company is simply following its consumers, who are increasingly migrating to the Web and an array of nontraditional outlets for information and entertainment...
She noted that 3% of their marketing budget is dedicated to exploring the potential and value of emerging media channels, stating that by 2010 the majority of their media mix will be digital. Currently, tests are being done on mobile and IPTV in Europe, interactive and out-of-home in Asia, and satellite radio and RSS feeds in the U.S.
Mathews hammered home the message that the days of pushing ads and announcements at consumers are behind us. Instead, there is a need for a push strategy centered on involving consumers in a brand.
That mantra has become so critical that it is taken into consideration when creating TV spots and other video ads, particularly for the company's Xbox 360. Providing content that consumers can take ownership of via mashups and other tinkering is key.
"It's now a factor in the creative process," Mathews said.
Maybe that should be an 'engagement' or at least a 'pull' strategy? I'll put my hammer down for the week.
Photo from lynetter.
If you look to the commercial sector as the source of inspiration, aspiration and confirmation for your marketing and communication efforts, take note. In the commercial marketing sector, when Proctor & Gamble speaks, it's not just listening that happens - marketing paradigms shift. P&G is known for its innovations in introducing market research to support sales efforts, pioneering sole sponsorship of programs ('soap operas') on radio and later television, and its focus on brand management. Here's an excerpt from Advertising Age's coverage of the American Association of Advertising Agency's annual meeting this week:
Procter & Gamble's Jim Stengel described a major cultural shift that is turning the world's largest marketer into a starter of conversations and a solver of consumers' problems rather than a one-way communicator. "It's not about telling and selling," said the chief marketing officer of the company that once lived by that simple mantra. "It's about bringing a relationship mind-set to everything we do."
...And there were plenty of references to the need to understand all such two-way, community-oriented technologies, as Mr. Stengel noted that his travels to Korea have shown him the potential for the "complete irrelevance of what we call traditional media."
Another credible 'reason why' and corporate model for you to use when explaining the need to get into the social media space to your colleagues, managers and funders.
A starter of conversations and a solver of people's problems - not a bad platform!
Imagine the ability to create your own multi-media campaigns from professionally developed source materials that you then customize to your local situation, weather conditions and even the live action on a television show before the commercial break. This evolution to virtual advertising and marketing, think enabling user-generated productions by campaign and program managers, is now going prime time.
Several companies are offering automated ad creation over the Internet and, in some cases, ad placement services that all advertisers can use to more tightly focus their marketing. Advertisers use the new sites to select scenes from commercial films and customize campaigns with a few clicks of the mouse and little human interaction, often for a low flat fee.
Imagine that your issue is the focus of a national social marketing campaign by a government or nonprofit agency. Rather than being handed prerecorded PSAs, pdf files and the like, instead you are given access to the content itself with the freedom to customize it as you like, combine it with your own content, and distribute it in ways that fit the openings of your local priority audiences. Now that sure beats the passive and reactive posture many of us have found ourselves in when national campaigns suddenly 'show up' in our markets with no obvious hooks to our agencies or context. But, will these national organizations and their advertising and PR agencies be willing to give up that much control? Not until we ask.
“We’re moving into a world of molecular marketing,” said Bant Breen, director of strategic development and innovation for the Interpublic Group...“This is an opportunity for creatives to do what they’ve always wanted to do, which is to speak in a more powerful way to each and every consumer.”
Take a tour of what could be in your future. This site is for car dealerships right now; here's another that lets central command provide some tailoring to local markets or different audiences. Let your imagination soar.
It's another evolution in entrusting the power of marketing with the people who are closest to the audience.
Anastasia Goodstein at YPulse does a great review of her top trends in teen marketing and media over the past year. #1 is the rise of 'Doing Good' with links to exemplary programs. Corporate responsibility and social marketing have come back in a big way this year -- whether it's charasmatic individuals like Bono or Richard Branson leading the way or just plain old market research that continues to reaffirm that teens (Gen Y, Millennials) are both leading the surge in volunteering and community service as well as supporting companies who donate to the cause -- AIDS in Africa, the environment, homelessness...
Other trends include the rise of marketing backlash, user generated video, safer social networking and the re-invention of the teen magazine
Plenty of links worth a look and bookmark. And I appreciate her understanding what social marketing is and isn't.
Look for lots more mainstream brands to get involved in partnerships and social marketing in 2007.
Downloading and listening to or watching music, videos and television programs with iPods, MP3 players and yes, that ol' reliable desktop, has crept up from 7% of internet users to 12% in the past 6 months according to the Pew American Life and Internet Project.
For those who look for 'divides' the data point to differences in podcast use among men and women (15% vs 8%), those 64 years and younger vs 65+, and those with 6+ years of online experience vs those with 3 or less years. Note: NO significant differences among age groups until 65, NO significant differences among educational levels, and NO significant differences among household incomes. Data on the race and ethnicity of podcast users was not reported. Interestingly, users with broadband access were not significantly more likely to download podcasts than internet users with dial-up connections (14% vs 10%).
A Business Week 'news analysis' on 'What Podcasting Revolution?' asks are they doing it regularly? [Only 1% on atypical day.] But that should be no surprise: who in their right mind is going to download podcasts regularly through their broadband or dial-up internet connection and then transfer the file to a player (the iPod two-step) on their way to work or school? Remember that time is our most precious personal resource.
The reporter is also looking for the mass market appeal of podcasts, seemingly oblivious to the idea that the power of podcasting is narrowcasting or slivercasting by and for people of like minds for their own communities, not creating the next RCA. Her nut is: As more bloggers produce professional podcasts, such content will
become a greater competitor to television and other forms of media. But
podcasting has a long way to go before it poses a serious threat.
For your own programs, do not believe in the mass market appeal of podcasts. Focus on developing and delivering content that allows people to participate when and where they can at their convenience. One great value of these new media is that you do not have to expend a large amount of resources to reach everyone at one space and time any more; you can learn to aggregate listeners and viewers over time at very low incremental costs to your program. That's the communication insight from The Long Tail.
Podcasts should make audio recordings (and purchases) of conference presentations extinct in 2007. Every major presentation made at your organization or institution, especially by outside experts, should be a podcast that any employee (and us interested 'outsiders') can listen to and appreciate later (if you invite us in). Any important internal meeting whether it be programmatic or administrative is a podcast for dissemination to others. And then you can think about producing educational and entertaining podcasts that are generated by and for your audiences when such tactics make sense from both behavior change and audience perspectives.
The one thing you won't have to worry about is that you are automatically contributing to the widening of digital divides.
And a note to the readers who get diffusion theory: that's a 71% increase in 6 months in podcast adoption and closing in on the 'take-off' target (aka the tipping point). What do you suppose will happen to podcast usage as the iPod 2-step is displaced by wireless downloads to your cellphone - and especially when the automobile makers begin to incorporate such technologies into their new models?
Photo Credit: Lynetter