Ad Wake-up Call: Half Of Adults Surveyed Use 4+ Social Networks

Rather than resign themselves to a few social networks, consumers continue to branch out and divide their social time and energy in more nuanced ways.  
 
At present, 52% of the U.S. adult online population report using more than one social network, according to comScore. Among those 107 million U.S. adults, more than half say they use four or more social networks.
 
In fact, 40% of multiplatform users report using five or more networks; 30% report using six or more; and 23% say they use more than seven social networks.
 
For brands and agencies -- many of which can’t name more than seven social networks -- the findings come as a surprise.
 
"We knew that people were using more than one social platform,” said Matt Rosenberg, senior vice president, marketing at social ad platform 140 Proof. “We didn't know how many people were using five or seven or more.”
 
What are people doing on all those networks? According to new research from 140 Proof and the IPG Media Lab, they’re connecting with different types of people, engaging with different types of content and pursuing different interests.
 
Further complicating matter, people appear to be using different social networks for very personal reasons.
 
“People are very conscious of what each platform is good for, for them,” Rosenberg said. “Not everyone uses Twitter the same way, but people are very aware of what they use Twitter for and how that's different from what they use Facebook and the others for."
 
Among multiplatform users, 72% agreed with the statement: “Certain platforms are better suited to different interests of mine.” Some 60% said: “I connect with different types of people, media and brands on different social platforms.”
 
Put another way, people using multiple platforms to engage in “social hygiene,” which means that they are making a conscious decisions to expose different aspects of their identity on different platforms.
 
Based on their findings, the research partners said it was more important than ever to take a holistic approach to analyzing social data.
 
“This study’s findings show the value social data can have in bridging context, platform, and behavior to inform messaging and to aggregate audiences,” said Melvin Wilson, head of strategy at the IPG Media Lab.
 
Across platforms, Wilson and his colleagues also found that consumers are more willing to cut their existing ties with a brand. In fact, 61% reported “unliking” or “unfollowing” brands on social media -- a share that increased to 69% among those ages 18-to-34.
 
Reasons people cited for ending brand connections included loss of relevance to their lifestyle, the desire to switch to a new brand or a contest coming to an end.
 
Along with one-on-one interviews with eight multiplatform users, the researchers conducted an online survey of 500 online and mobile multiplatform users ages 18-to-59.
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