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Online Social Networking - Ireland - October 2009

Social networking continues to grow in popularity among Irish consumers, with penetration reaching 67% in December 2008.

The growth of this activity has brought with it an innovative and engaging way for companies to increase brand awareness, develop and maintain a relationship with their target audience, and crucially create an opportunity to generate sales. Several Irish companies have recognised the potential that online social networks offer them and have acted upon this by setting up profile pages, for example, to get the b2c conversation started.

Continuing advances in technology are helping to promote an ‘always-online’ attitude among consumers, therefore keeping the lines of communication between brands and consumers constantly open. However it will be interesting to see whether this sort of strategy will maintain dialogue or cause fatigue among Irish, and indeed global, consumers in the future.

Key themes in the report

  • What are the primary factors that have driven growth in the use of online social networks?

  • What are the main social networking sites used by Irish consumers?

  • How relevant is online social networking to Irish consumers and Irish businesses?

  • Which Irish companies utilise online social networks and how do they communicate with consumers? What are the commercial benefits of advertising on online social networks?

  • How mature is the online social networking market in Ireland compared to other countries?

  • Where does the future lie for online social networking?

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Table of contents

  1. Issues in the Market

      • Key themes in the report
        • Definition
          • Abbreviations
          • Insights and Opportunities

            • Making Irish consumers app-happy
              • Increasing conversation through exclusivity
                • Brand-braggers
                • Fast Forward Trends

                    • Trend 1: Play Ethic
                      • What’s it about?
                        • What we’ve seen
                          • Specifics
                            • What next?
                              • Trend 2: Evolving Language
                                • What’s it about?
                                  • What we’ve seen
                                    • Specifics
                                      • What next?
                                      • Market in Brief

                                        • The appeal of online social networking
                                          • Room for growth
                                            • Online social networks a modern platform for advertisers
                                              • Facebook fanatics overshadow Bebo and co.
                                                • Using consumers as brand ambassadors
                                                • Internal Market Environment

                                                  • Key points
                                                    • OSNs the next step in evolution of electronic communication
                                                      • Transient lifestyles driving need for transient communication
                                                        • Figure 1: Reason for international travel, by Irish residents, 2004-08
                                                        • Figure 2: Reason for international travel, by UK residents, 2004-08
                                                      • Instant nature of OSN a plus for time-pushed consumers
                                                        • Figure 3: Agreement with the statement ‘There are not enough hours in the day to do everything I would like’, NI and RoI, 2004-08
                                                        • Figure 4: Hours spent working (Monday to Friday), NI and RoI, 2007-09
                                                      • A disjointed society connected by OSNs
                                                        • Figure 5: Percentage of households, by household size, NI and RoI, 2002-06
                                                        • Figure 6: Number of private households, by composition, RoI, 2002-06
                                                      • Jobseekers and students seeking to reconnect
                                                        • Figure 7: Inward and outward migration, RoI, April 2004-April 2009
                                                      • The nastier side of OSNs
                                                        • Hackers seeking valuable data
                                                          • Facebook backlash indicative of user power
                                                            • Cyberbullying a very real concern for parents
                                                              • Laments over a ‘dehumanised’ community
                                                                • Government intervention both welcomed and rejected
                                                                  • OSNs appealing to advertisers also
                                                                  • Broader Market Environment

                                                                    • Key points
                                                                      • Home is where the socialising is
                                                                        • Unemployment and pay freezes forcing consumers to stay at home
                                                                          • Figure 8: Economic outlook for NI and RoI, 2008-10
                                                                        • Increased availability of technology facilitating more engaging online social networking
                                                                          • Internet access in RoI playing catch-up to NI
                                                                            • Figure 9: Percentage of respondents who have accessed the internet in the last 12 months, NI and RoI, 2003-08
                                                                            • Figure 10: Type of internet connection respondents have at home, NI and RoI, 2007 and 2008
                                                                          • On-the-go technology means greater interactivity
                                                                            • Figure 11: PC and laptop ownership, NI and RoI, 2003-08
                                                                          • Mobile phone internet gaining ground
                                                                            • Figure 12: How consumers access the internet, NI, 2009
                                                                            • Figure 13: How consumers access the internet, RoI, 2003-08
                                                                          • Government and company-level investment set to boost internet use further
                                                                            • Room at the inn for older consumers
                                                                              • Figure 14: Population projections, by age group, RoI, 2006-26
                                                                              • Figure 15: Population projections, by age group, NI, 2006-26
                                                                            • Over-35s showing greatest growth in internet usage
                                                                              • Figure 16: Percentage of respondents who have accessed the internet in the last 12 months, NI, 2006-08
                                                                              • Figure 17: Percentage of respondents who have accessed the internet in the last 12 months, RoI, 2006-08
                                                                            • Connecting with old friends
                                                                              • Figure 18: Social networking sites respondents aged 50+ years old currently access, NI and RoI, September 2009
                                                                              • Figure 19: Percentage of respondents with a Friends Reunited account, September 2009
                                                                          • Competitive Context

                                                                            • Key points
                                                                              • Social networking reach in UK the highest in Europe
                                                                                • Figure 20: European social networking reach*, by country, December 2008
                                                                              • Retention is key for a maturing market
                                                                                • Figure 21: Social networking reach, UK, July 2007-December 2008
                                                                              • Facebook a firm favourite for UK users
                                                                                • Figure 22: Social networking sites, ranked by total UK unique visitors, May 2008 and May 2009
                                                                                • Figure 23: Total number of UK unique visitors to Facebook and Bebo*, February 2007-May 2009
                                                                              • US social networking lagging behind UK
                                                                                • Figure 24: Social networking reach* for selected countries, September 2008
                                                                              • US a mature market also
                                                                                • Figure 25: Percentage point change in social networking reach, by selected countries, September 2007-September 2008
                                                                              • Bebo less of a feature in US market
                                                                                • Figure 26: Unique views of selected social networking sites in the US per day, December 2008
                                                                                • Figure 27: Number of unique US visitors to Facebook*, June 2008-July 2009
                                                                              • Making it worth their while
                                                                              • Strengths and Weaknesses

                                                                                • Strengths
                                                                                  • Weaknesses
                                                                                  • Who’s Innovating?

                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                      • Companies signing up to social networking trend
                                                                                        • Bus Éireann offering Twitter exclusive deals
                                                                                          • Self-improvement creating better business opportunities
                                                                                            • Always online means constant contact with consumers with INQ Chat
                                                                                              • iPhone Facebook upgrade in the offing
                                                                                                • MySpace Mobile upgraded
                                                                                                  • New Twitter home page speeding communication
                                                                                                    • Business school for Twitter first-timers
                                                                                                      • Facebook Lite set to rival Twitter
                                                                                                        • New partnerships mean greater user interactivity
                                                                                                          • Bebo and Samsung Mobile UK
                                                                                                            • Bebo and ‘3’
                                                                                                            • Market Size

                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                • Online social networking a ‘phenomenon’
                                                                                                                  • Ireland middle of the road compared to mainland Europe
                                                                                                                    • Figure 28: Percentage change of social networking reach, December 2007-December 2008
                                                                                                                  • Irish consumers less engaged by online social networking
                                                                                                                    • Figure 29: Highest engagement in online social networking, by average number of hours per visitor, by country*, May 2009
                                                                                                                  • Case Study: Bord Bia
                                                                                                                    • Background
                                                                                                                      • Why use social media?
                                                                                                                        • Measuring the commercial benefits of social media
                                                                                                                          • Case Study: Dublin Tourism
                                                                                                                            • Background
                                                                                                                              • Why use social media?
                                                                                                                                • Measuring the commercial benefits of social media
                                                                                                                                  • Case Study: Hibernian Aviva
                                                                                                                                    • Background
                                                                                                                                      • Why use social media?
                                                                                                                                        • Measuring the commercial benefits of social media
                                                                                                                                          • Case Study: Queen’s Film Theatre (QFT)
                                                                                                                                            • Background
                                                                                                                                              • Why use social media?
                                                                                                                                                • Measuring the commercial benefits of social media
                                                                                                                                                  • Case study: Tourism Ireland
                                                                                                                                                    • Background
                                                                                                                                                      • Why use social media?
                                                                                                                                                        • Measuring the commercial benefits of social media
                                                                                                                                                        • Companies and Products

                                                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                                                            • Targeting consumers via social networking websites
                                                                                                                                                              • Network-specific advertising examples
                                                                                                                                                                • Social networking websites
                                                                                                                                                                  • Bebo
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 30: Number of Bebo users worldwide, Feb 2005-June 2008
                                                                                                                                                                    • Blogger
                                                                                                                                                                      • Facebook
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 31: Number of Facebook users*, December 2004-July 2009
                                                                                                                                                                        • Flickr
                                                                                                                                                                          • LinkedIn
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 32: Number of worldwide LinkedIn members, Oct 2004-Jul 2009
                                                                                                                                                                          • MySpace
                                                                                                                                                                            • Tagged
                                                                                                                                                                              • Twitter
                                                                                                                                                                              • The Consumer – Usage of Online Social Networking Sites

                                                                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Facebook dominates Irish market
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 33: Social networking sites respondents currently access, NI and RoI, September 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Women maintaining their reputation as gossipers
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 34: Social networking sites respondents currently access, by gender, NI, September 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 35: Social networking sites respondents currently access, by gender, RoI, September 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Facebook frenzy in both regions
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 36: How often respondents access certain social networking sites respondents, NI, September 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 37: How often respondents access certain social networking sites respondents, NI, September 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                    • The Consumer – How Consumers Use Online Social Networks

                                                                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                        • It’s good to talk
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 38: Reasons why respondents use social networking sites, NI and RoI, September 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Killing time a killer opportunity for advertisers
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Consumer as detective
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Visual element vital for networkers
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 39: Functions respondents use on social networking sites, NI and RoI, September 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Finding work in idle hands
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Attitudes towards Advertising

                                                                                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 40: Agreement with statements relating to advertising on online social networks, NI and RoI, September 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 41: Agreement with statements relating to advertising on online social networks, NI and RoI, September 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • NI target groups
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 42: Consumer typologies, NI, September 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Advertising-apathetic
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Anti-advertisers
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Advertising Endorsers
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Relevance Seekers
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • RoI target groups
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 43: Consumer typologies, RoI, September 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Advertising-fatigued
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Privacy Protectors
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Disinterested
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Advertising Advocates
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Appendix

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • The consumer
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 44: Social networking sites respondents currently access, NI and RoI, September 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 45: Social networking sites respondents regularly access, NI, September 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 46: Social networking sites respondents regularly access, RoI, September 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 47: How often respondents access online social networks, RoI, September 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 48: How often respondents access online social networks, NI, September 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 49: Reasons why respondents use online social networks, NI and RoI, September 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 50: functions respondents use on online social networks, NI and RoI, September 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 51: Statements respondents agree with in relation to advertising on online social networks, NI and RoI, September 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 52: Statements respondents agree with in relation to advertising on online social networks, NI and RoI, September 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Consumer typologies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 53: Consumer target groups according to attitudes towards advertising on online social networks, NI, September 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 54: Consumer target groups, by demographic breakdown, NI, September 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 55: Consumer target groups according to attitudes towards advertising on online social networks, RoI, September 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 56: Consumer target groups, by demographic breakdown, RoI, September 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 57: Reasons why respondents use online social networks, by consumer target groups, RoI, September 2009

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                                                                                To learn more about the companies covered in this report please contact us.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Online Social Networking - Ireland - October 2009

                                                                                                                                                                                                                US $1,360.54 (Excl.Tax)