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Social Networking - US - February 2010

Online social networking is expanding. In December 2009, there were 248 million unique monthly users on the top eight social networking sites (SNS) in the US, an increase of 41% from January 2009. Mintel finds that 61% of internet users have a profile on at least one SNS, up from 41% a year before. Marketing spend on SNS increased 166% from 2007, reaching $2.4 billion in 2009, and becoming an increasingly important way to reach a young, often hard to reach audience.

In this report, the following issues are explored:

  • Which demographic groups has market expansion come from, and what does this mean for the future of the market
  • How many friends and contacts does the average user have on his or her most used SNS, and which demographics tend to be the most “connected”
  • How is hardware access changing the use of SNS
  • Which are the most popular SNS
  • How has the ranking of popularity between sites changed in the last year and why
  • Which sites appeal to different demographics by gender, age, household income, and race/Hispanic origin, and why
  • Which sites are profitable, and which are monetized at all? How can SNS become profitable, which sites already are, and how can marketers profit from them
  • What are “apps” and how can they help your company
  • How are sites used in terms of viral marketing of brands and media? How does demographic data factor into viral pass through
  • What is the role of self-promotion and self-expression in the future of social networking
  • What different types of advertising are there on SNS, and what are the best ways to utilize them? Who is likely to be reached and impacted by different types of promotions? What are the best ways for marketers to use Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and other sites
  • Who is using below-the-line marketing effectively, and what can be learned from successful examples

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
        • Data sources
          • Consumer survey data
            • Advertising and promotions
              • Abbreviations and terms
                • Abbreviations
                  • Terms
                  • Executive Summary

                    • Market sized at 248 million users, $2.4 billion
                      • More profiles, more friends
                        • Increasing access to PCs and smartphones drives market
                          • Facebook leads the pack
                            • Facebook’s appeal is nearly universal among SNS users
                              • MySpace skews male, young, and low-income
                                • Twitter
                                  • LinkedIn
                                    • Blog sites
                                      • How sites are used
                                      • Insights and Opportunities

                                        • Monetizing corporate profiles and third party apps
                                          • Non-professional LinkedIn
                                            • Recovery networking
                                              • Organizing social network feeds
                                                • Creating a fan base
                                                  • Men, young people want to participate in advertising, be rewarded
                                                    • Figure 1: Interest in participating in ad campaigns via social networking profiles, by gender, November 2009
                                                    • Figure 2: Interest in participating in ad campaigns via social networking profiles, by age, November 2009
                                                • Inspire Insights

                                                    • Trend: Rise of the Screenager
                                                      • Implications: Meeting new friends to change as offline and online realities merge
                                                        • Implications for the market: Transferring knowledge
                                                          • Implications for the market: Location-based marketing
                                                          • Market Size

                                                                • Figure 3: U.S. SN marketing spend, 2007-11
                                                                • Figure 4: U.S. SN marketing spend, at inflation-adjusted prices*, 2007-11
                                                                • Figure 5: U.S. social networking marketing spend as share of new media marketing, 2007-09
                                                            • Market Drivers

                                                              • Increasing access to PCs and broadband at home
                                                                • Figure 6: Ownership of home PCs and office use of PCs, 2003-09
                                                              • Smartphone uptake
                                                                • Other portable devices
                                                                  • Dual personas/privacy
                                                                  • Leading Companies

                                                                    • Introduction: Penetration for having a profile
                                                                      • Figure 7: Penetration for SN profiles, by gender, age, and household income, November 2009
                                                                    • Facebook doubles traffic in 2009
                                                                      • Figure 8: Unique visitors to SNS, January 2009 vs. December 2009
                                                                      • Figure 9: Web usage and business models of top SNS, December 2009
                                                                      • Figure 10: Web usage and business models of top SNS, December 2009 (continued)
                                                                    • Trended weekly users
                                                                      • Figure 11: SNS used on a weekly basis, October 2008 vs. November 2009
                                                                    • Facebook skews female while MySpace draws men
                                                                      • Figure 12: SNS used on a weekly basis, by gender, November 2009
                                                                    • Those aged 25-34 central to the market
                                                                        • Figure 13: SNS used on a weekly basis, by age, November 2009
                                                                      • Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs appeal to the affluent
                                                                        • Figure 14: SNS used on a weekly basis, by household income, November 2009
                                                                    • Brand Qualities

                                                                      • Facebook
                                                                        • MySpace
                                                                          • Twitter
                                                                            • LinkedIn
                                                                              • Ning
                                                                                • Tagged
                                                                                  • Classmates
                                                                                    • Blog sites
                                                                                      • Blogger
                                                                                        • Livejournal
                                                                                          • Tumblr
                                                                                            • Multimedia sites with social networking capabilities
                                                                                            • Innovations and Innovators

                                                                                              • Facebook streams videos live
                                                                                                • Facebook and Huffington Post launch HuffPost Social News
                                                                                                  • Twitter phone joins Facebook phone
                                                                                                    • AN SNS for moms
                                                                                                      • Sears and Kmart get their own SNS
                                                                                                        • Facebook makes tracking viral content easier
                                                                                                          • Lufthansa updates Twitter or Facebook status messages
                                                                                                            • Google joins the fray
                                                                                                            • Advertising and Promotion

                                                                                                                • Cross-branding
                                                                                                                  • Figure 15: Black Planet co-promoted with Dove television ad, 2009
                                                                                                                  • Figure 16: Twitter co-promoted with TMZ television ad, 2009
                                                                                                                  • Figure 17: Twitter co-promoted with News Channel 13 television ad, 2009
                                                                                                                  • Figure 18: MySpace co-promoted with Glee television ad, 2009
                                                                                                                • Moms Like Me
                                                                                                                  • Figure 19: Moms Like Me television ad, 2009
                                                                                                              • Profiles and Friends

                                                                                                                  • Figure 20: Penetration for SN profiles, by gender, age, and household income, October 2008 vs. November 2009
                                                                                                                  • Figure 21: Number of friends/contacts, by age, November 2009
                                                                                                              • The Artists Online

                                                                                                                • Deviant Art and Vimeo: Social networking specifically for artists
                                                                                                                  • Under-35s post their own content
                                                                                                                    • Figure 22: Posting one’s own music and video on SNS, by age, November 2009
                                                                                                                  • Young men interested in self-promotion
                                                                                                                    • Figure 23: Artistic promotion on SNS, by gender, November 2009
                                                                                                                    • Figure 24: Artistic promotion on SNS, by age, November 2009
                                                                                                                • Viral Pass through: Media Properties

                                                                                                                  • Under-35s like to share music, video
                                                                                                                    • Figure 25: Active viral pass through of media on an SNS, by age, November 2009
                                                                                                                  • SNS users like to learn about media from friends
                                                                                                                    • Figure 26: Passive viral pass through of media on an SNS, by age, November 2009
                                                                                                                  • Women more close to, trustful of SNS friends
                                                                                                                    • Figure 27: Trust and closeness of friends on SNS, by gender, November 2009
                                                                                                                  • Under-35s least likely to trust SNS friends
                                                                                                                    • Figure 28: Trust and closeness of friends on SNS, by age, November 2009
                                                                                                                • Gaming

                                                                                                                  • Networked gaming appeals to a wide audience
                                                                                                                    • Under-45s central to social gaming
                                                                                                                      • Figure 29: Participation in gaming on an SNS, by age, November 2009
                                                                                                                  • Below the Line Marketing

                                                                                                                    • Examples of below the line marketing on SNS
                                                                                                                      • More than one third friends with a brand
                                                                                                                        • Figure 30: Activities related to below-the-line marketing on SNS, November 2009
                                                                                                                      • Trendwatch: Friending brands on rapid uptake
                                                                                                                        • SNS branding to appeal to 25-34-year-olds
                                                                                                                          • Figure 31: Activities related to below-the-line marketing for non-media properties on SNS, by age, November 2009
                                                                                                                        • Under-25s often fans of media
                                                                                                                          • Figure 32: Activities related to below-the-line marketing for media properties on SNS, by age, November 2009
                                                                                                                        • Wealthy respondents follow brands’ tweets
                                                                                                                          • Figure 33: Following companies or brands on an SNS, by HH income, November 2009
                                                                                                                        • Sweepstakes on SNS
                                                                                                                          • Figure 34: Entering sweepstakes on an SNS, by gender, November 2009
                                                                                                                          • Figure 35: Entering sweepstakes on an SNS, by age, November 2009
                                                                                                                      • Ads on SNS

                                                                                                                        • Widgets make online marketing entertaining and useful
                                                                                                                          • Under-55s central to SNS above-the-line advertising
                                                                                                                            • Figure 36: Activities related to ads on an SNS, by age, November 2009
                                                                                                                          • Trendwatch: Interest in above-the-line advertising on SNS falling
                                                                                                                            • Men, young people want to participate in advertising, be rewarded
                                                                                                                              • Figure 37: Interest in participating in ad campaigns via social networking profiles, by gender, November 2009
                                                                                                                              • Figure 38: Interest in participating in ad campaigns via social networking profiles, by age, November 2009
                                                                                                                          • Learning about Brands

                                                                                                                            • One in five visit brand profiles
                                                                                                                              • Figure 39: Brand-related activity on an SNS, by age, November 2009
                                                                                                                          • Shooting the Breeze

                                                                                                                                • Figure 40: Discussing the news on an SNS, by age, November 2009
                                                                                                                            • Apps and Gifts

                                                                                                                              • Popular promotional apps and gifts
                                                                                                                                • Non-branded apps twice as popular
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 41: Use of apps, by age, November 2009
                                                                                                                                • Virtual gifts appeal to women
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 42: Giving virtual gifts on an SNS, by gender, November 2009
                                                                                                                                • Gifts for 35-44-year-olds
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 43: Giving virtual gifts on an SNS, by age, November 2009
                                                                                                                              • Dating, Career, Causes and Events

                                                                                                                                • Dating apps
                                                                                                                                  • Men making new friends on SNS
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 44: Activities on an SNS, by gender, November 2009
                                                                                                                                  • Under-35s meet people, find parties on SNS
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 45: Activities on an SNS, by age, November 2009
                                                                                                                                  • Men use SNS for career advancement, dating
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 46: How SNS are used, by gender, November 2009
                                                                                                                                  • Those aged 25-44 look to SNS for career, dating
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 47: How SNS are used, by age, November 2009
                                                                                                                                • Mobile Networking

                                                                                                                                      • Figure 48: How SNS are used, by gender, November 2009
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 49: How SNS are used, by age, November 2009
                                                                                                                                  • Race and Hispanic Origin

                                                                                                                                    • Minorities more likely to have a social networking profile
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 50: Having one or more social networking profile, by race and Hispanic origin, November 2009
                                                                                                                                    • MySpace, Twitter appeal to minorities
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 51: SNS used on a weekly basis, by race and Hispanic origin, November 2009
                                                                                                                                      • Active viral pass through most common among Hispanic, “other”
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 52: Active viral pass through on an SNS, by race and Hispanic origin, November 2009
                                                                                                                                      • Passive viral pass through appeals to same groups
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 53: Passive viral pass through on an SNS, by race and Hispanic origin, November 2009
                                                                                                                                      • Self-promotion for Hispanics, “other”
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 54: Self-promotion activities on an SNS, by race and Hispanic origin, November 2009
                                                                                                                                      • Gaming appeals to minorities
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 55: Gaming on an SNS, by race and Hispanic origin, November 2009
                                                                                                                                      • Minorities respond more to SNS advertising
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 56: Activities related to ads on an SNS, by race and Hispanic origin, November 2009
                                                                                                                                      • Minorities want to be rewarded for promoting brands on SNS
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 57: Monetizing ads on an SNS, by race and Hispanic origin, November 2009
                                                                                                                                    • Custom Consumer: Teens

                                                                                                                                      • Girls 15-17 most likely to have SNS profile…
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 58: Having one or more social networking profile, by age and gender among teens, November 2009
                                                                                                                                      • … and most likely to have more than 200 “friends”
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 59: Number of friends/contacts on social networking profile, by age and gender among teens, November 2009
                                                                                                                                      • Teens “friend” movies, games, books and musical artists
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 60: Relationship with a media property on an SNS, November 2009
                                                                                                                                      • Teens see ads as affront on SNS
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 61: Response to advertising on an SNS, November 2009
                                                                                                                                    • Cluster Analysis

                                                                                                                                        • Sucked in by the Kids
                                                                                                                                          • Just for Funners
                                                                                                                                            • Ambitious Addicts
                                                                                                                                              • Characteristic tables
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 62: Social networking clusters, November 2009
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 63: Number of friends on primary SNS, by clusters, November 2009
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 64: Use of entertainment media on SNS, by clusters, November 2009
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 65: Friending and “fanning” brands and media properties, by clusters, November 2009
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 66: Attitudes towards ads on SNS, by clusters, November 2009
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 67: Gifting and making friends on SNS, by clusters, November 2009
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 68: Activities related to companies, brands, and causes on SNS, by clusters, November 2009
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 69: Use of apps on SNS, by clusters, November 2009
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 70: Objective-oriented and mobile usage of SNS, by clusters, November 2009
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 71: Willingness to post ads in exchange for rewards, by clusters, November 2009
                                                                                                                                              • Demographic tables
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 72: Social networking clusters, by gender, November 2009
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 73: Social networking clusters, by age group, November 2009
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 74: Social networking clusters, by household income group, November 2009
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 75: Social networking clusters, by race, November 2009
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 76: Social networking clusters, by Hispanic origin, November 2009
                                                                                                                                              • Cluster methodology
                                                                                                                                              • Appendix: Other Useful Tables

                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 77: Activities on an SNS, by household income, November 2009
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 78: Activities related to below-the-line marketing on an SNS, by gender, November 2009
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 79: Activities related to below-the-line marketing on an SNS, by household income, November 2009
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 80: Activities related to ads on an SNS, by gender, November 2009
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 81: Activities related to ads on an SNS, by household income, November 2009
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 82: Activities on an SNS, by gender, November 2009
                                                                                                                                              • Appendix: Trade Associations

                                                                                                                                                Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                • Advertising Research Foundation
                                                                                                                                                • American Advertising Federation
                                                                                                                                                • American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA)
                                                                                                                                                • American Marketing Association (AMA)
                                                                                                                                                • Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies
                                                                                                                                                • Association of National Advertisers (ANA)
                                                                                                                                                • Bebo Inc
                                                                                                                                                • Consumer Electronics Association
                                                                                                                                                • Digital Media Association (DiMA)
                                                                                                                                                • Facebook, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                • Flickr
                                                                                                                                                • Google, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                • Greenfield Online
                                                                                                                                                • Interactive Advertising Bureau (US)
                                                                                                                                                • International Advertising Association (IAA)
                                                                                                                                                • Johnson & Johnson
                                                                                                                                                • LinkedIn
                                                                                                                                                • Microsoft USA
                                                                                                                                                • MySpace.com
                                                                                                                                                • Nestlé USA
                                                                                                                                                • Netflix, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                • Nintendo of America Inc.
                                                                                                                                                • Pizza Hut Inc
                                                                                                                                                • Research In Motion (USA)
                                                                                                                                                • Starbucks Corporation
                                                                                                                                                • The Wendy's Company
                                                                                                                                                • Twitter, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
                                                                                                                                                • World Federation of Advertisers (WFA)
                                                                                                                                                • YouTube, Inc.

                                                                                                                                                Social Networking - US - February 2010

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