A new report by Knowledge Networks gives advertisers, marketers and researchers a clearer picture of the motivations and attitudes of social media users – with sometimes-surprising results. While 83% of the Internet population (ages 13 to 54) participates in social media – 47% on a weekly basis – less than 5% of social media users regularly turn to these sites for guidance on purchase decisions in any of nine product/service categories. In addition, only 16% of social media users say they are more likely to buy from companies that advertise on social sites.
"Social media use" was defined as having visited any one of 27 social sites or having used social features on other sites. Participation in social media is indeed widespread among those 13 to 54; but when Knowledge Networks asked users whether they regularly turn to these sites when trying to make a purchase decision, the highest percentages among nine categories were 4%, for travel and banks/financial services. Responses for clothes/shoes, restaurants, mobile phone services and five other categories ranged from 1% to 3%.
Almost two thirds (63%) of social media users agree that ads are a "fair price to pay" for use of these sites and features; but a much smaller proportion (16%) say they are more likely to buy from advertising brands. "Staying connected" – to friends and family, as well as meeting new people – is by far what is "most liked" (54%) about participating in social media.
The study also shows that:
--34 percent of social media users report using these sites or features more often now compared to a year ago, while 18% said they use them less
--Just 1% of the total online population – and the same proportion of social media participants – uses Twitter once a week or more
--60% of social media participants say they only access these sites and features at home