NEW YORK, Nov. 29, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- 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(SM), the syndicated 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 percent.
Ads within apps also appeal to smartphone owners between the ages of 13 and 54, with 40 percent saying that ads they see while using their smartphones are usually relevant to their "needs and interests."
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 percent of the American population. Overall usage has increased, with 82 percent of the teen and adult population using social media, an increase from 69 percent 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 percent. Usage among Boomers increased from 54 to 76 percent. Among Millennials/GenY -- those 13- to 31-years-old -- usage grew from 84 to 91 percent 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."
There were no dramatic changes in the impact of advertising within social media over the last year. Similar proportions said "ads are a fair price to pay for social media sites/features" in both 2009 (63%) and 2010 (59%). Social media users who are "more inclined to purchase from brands that advertise on social media sites/features" also remained constant, with 16 percent in 2009 and 15 percent in 2010.
"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."
The Faces of Social Media study comprised interviews with 2,242 people from KnowledgePanel®, the Knowledge Networks online panel representative of the U.S. population. The 13- to 80-year-olds were surveyed to measure their usage of social media.
The intent of the ongoing study is to measure the social media landscape and determine the influence of social media on 39 specific product categories. These include banking services, car rental, casual dining restaurants, clothing, personal care products, programs on TV, sports drinks, travel planning, among others. The categories also included Walmart and Target, as well as Super Target and Walmart Supercenter.
The study defined social media as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Myspace, and other similar sites and services. The comparisons with 2009 social media users and to smartphone app users are based on studies previously published by Knowledge Networks in its How People Use® media and are based on people 13- to 54-years-old.
MediaPost Communications is an integrated publishing and content company whose mission is to provide a complete array of resources for media, marketing and advertising professionals. Since 1996, Mediapost.com has been the largest and most influential site on the Internet for media executives, providing news, blogs and directories to help its community of more than 100,000 members better plan and buy both traditional and online advertising. MediaPost's Center for Media Research provides a dependable source of research material.
Knowledge Networks is passionate about research in marketing, media, health and social policy -- collaborating closely with client teams throughout the research process, while applying rigor in everything we do. The company specializes in innovative online research that consistently gives leaders in business, government, and academia the confidence to make important decisions. KN delivers affordable, statistically valid online research through KnowledgePanel® and leverages a variety of other assets, such as world class advanced analytics, an industry-leading physician panel, an innovative platform for measuring online ad effectiveness, and a research-ready behavioral database of frequent supermarket and drug store shoppers.
SOURCE Knowledge Networks