I often use studies from The Pew Internet & American Life Project to analyze audience behavior. Recently, researchers Mary Madden and Kathryn Zickhuhr released a study on adult use of social networking sites (SNS) — think MySpace, Facebook or LinkedIn.
For the first time since the study began in 2005, the Pew survey showed that half of all adults use SNS, or two-thirds of adult Internet users. That’s significant growth. In 2005, only 5 percent of all adults and 8 percent of Internet users said they used SNS.
Significantly, SNS use ranks third among an Internet user’s typical daily activities — just behind email and search engines.
Studying the research can help you develop the most creative approach to reach your target audience.
For example, if your audience is made up of young women between 18 and 29, you’re likely to find them on SNS. Pew calls this group the power users — 89 percent of those young women who are online use SNS and 69 percent do so on an average day.
While your strategy will certainly change if your audience is primarily Baby Boomers, don’t write SNS off.
Half of Internet users 50 to 64 years old use SNS. Although the frequency of use among younger users in the study was stable, usage of SNS on a typical day among this Boomer group grew from 20 percent to 32 percent over the past year, an increase of a significant 60 percent.
The Pew study also reports that most users express positive feelings about their experiences using SNS. Some favorite words are “good,” “fun” and “great.” Just one in five users shared a negative response.
Interested in learning more about how your target audience uses SNS? Get the full report with detailed charts.
Please add a comment below about additional resources for audience research that you find helpful as you develop a communications plan.
With thanks for the image to 10ch via Flickr.