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Study finds social media a strong ad medium


December 9, 2010
By Bakers Journal

December 9, 2010, New York, NY – Social media users in the U.S. are more inclined to buy brands that advertise through social media, according to a new study from MediaPost Communications and Knowledge Networks.

The study found that 15 percent of social media users, or more than 30 million people between the ages of 13 and 80, say they are more likely to buy brands advertised on the social media sites they frequent. Ads on these sites are also effective in driving brand exploration, with 25 per cent of users more inclined to learn about brands that advertise on social media sites.

The research is part of a major social media study undertaken by Knowledge Networks and MediaPost Communications. For the purpose of the study, social media was defined as sites and services such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Myspace.

The 2010 Faces of Social MediaSM study found that a majority of social media users (59 per cent) believe ads are a fair price to pay to use social media sites and features. The 15 per cent of social media users who are more inclined to purchase brands that advertise on social media sites compares favourably with levels found among HDTV viewers and video on demand users.

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Those with smartphones appear to be more receptive to advertising messages. Nearly one-third (32 per cent) of smartphone users between the ages of 13 and 54 who have apps on their phone say they are more inclined to purchase brands that advertise or have marketing messages in an app. However, the key to this may lie in the fact that many smartphone users (40 per cent) say the ads they see while using their smartphones are usually relevant to their needs and interests. More than two-thirds of smartphone users (70 per cent) think ads are a fair price to pay in order to use an app.

The social media listening and targeting pool for marketers has also gotten more comprehensive. Frequency of use of social media has grown in the past year, with one-quarter of teens and adults – 20 per cent of the American population – using social media daily.

Overall usage has also increased over last year, with 82 per cent of the teen and adult population using social media in 2010. This is up from the 69 per cent in 2009. Past-year social media growth is attributable to more GenXers (32-45 year olds) and Boomers (46-65 year olds) joining in. For GenXers, usage increased from 70 to 85 per cent in 2010. During the same period, usage among Boomers increased from 54 to 76 per cent. Not surprisingly, an overwhelming majority of Millennials/GenYers  (13-31 year olds) now use social media (91 per cent, up from 84 per cent last year).

The Faces of Social Media study interviewed 2,242 Americans between the ages of 13 and 80. All survey respondents were drawn from KnowledgePanel, the Knowledge Networks’ online panel designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The Faces of Media is an ongoing study intended to measure the social media landscape and determine the influence of social media on 39 specific product categories. These include casual dining restaurants, as well as banking services, car rental, clothing, personal care products, TV programs, sports drinks, and travel planning.

The comparisons with 2009 social media users and smartphone app users are based on studies previously published by Knowledge Networks in its How People Use Media study, and are based on a survey of Americans between the ages of 13 and 54.

For more information on MediaPost Communications, visit www.mediapost.com. For more information on Knowledge Networks, visit www.knowledgenetworks.com.