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Social Networking - US - January 2009

Social networking sites are one of the most important components of online activity in the 21st century. The popularity of both broadband internet and smart phones increases the penetration of social networking sites. It is also clear that in upcoming years new media marketing, particularly on social networking sites, will be increasingly important, offering a chance to reach a younger audience than traditional advertising.

More specifically, this report addresses the following questions:

  • What is the current level of penetration and what segments under- and over-index on usage?

  • What population segments are likely to have multiple profiles?

  • What recent innovations are shaping current demand and the markets of the future?

  • What trends are likely to impact online social networking and how can companies position their products and brands to capitalize on these trends?

  • What features and benefits will have the greatest impact on the probability that a consumer will join a social networking site?

  • What features and benefits are users willing to pay for?

  • How are companies marketing on social networking sites and what approaches are likely to be successful in upcoming years?

  • How do attitudes about social networking sites vary by gender, age and race/Hispanic origin segments?

  • What segments provide the greatest opportunities for growth in social networking?

  • What segments are most receptive to online viral marketing?

  • The continuing shift toward smart phones and how growth in this segment is about to cause substantial changes to the market as consumers focus on real-time updates and GPS-driven social networking

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

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

                  • Market driven by uptake of broadband, smartphones
                    • Usage driven in part by mobile society
                      • The Big Three: YouTube, Facebook, MySpace
                        • Rounding up internet activity in one location
                          • SNS offer marketing non-ad-based marketing opportunities
                            • 18-34 year olds most active
                              • SNS as a means of entertainment
                                • Users seeking SNS monogamy, and neighborhood, family, and professional sites
                                  • Keeping in touch with photos and messages
                                  • Inspire Insights

                                    • Staying connected
                                      • Kings of the net
                                        • One site to rule them all
                                        • Insights and Opportunities

                                          • Helping corporations gain a handle on new tools
                                            • A carrot for utilizing your habits and interests anonymously
                                              • Charging for add-on services
                                                • Fresh avenues for branding
                                                  • Mobile phone GPS offers opportunities
                                                    • Reviews, content, and local services users can trust
                                                      • Circles of trust via personal network segmentation
                                                        • Men want more access
                                                          • My Family Tree
                                                            • Targeting diasporas
                                                              • Local art feeds
                                                                • Unemployment creates market gap
                                                                • Market Drivers

                                                                  • Internet and smartphone access
                                                                    • Figure 1: Incidence of personal internet access, by type of connection, May 2008
                                                                    • Figure 2: Trended home broadband internet, by age, 2005-08
                                                                  • Uptake of smartphones
                                                                    • Figure 3: Role of mobile phones in social networking sites, by age, October 2008
                                                                    • Figure 4: Teen usage of mobile phones to access SNS, by age and gender, October 2008
                                                                    • Figure 5: Total U.S. sales and forecast of smartphones, at current prices, 2004-10
                                                                  • A mobile population trying to stay in touch with friends far away
                                                                  • Leading Companies and Brand Qualities

                                                                    • U.S. traffic
                                                                      • Figure 6: Unique views of social networking sites in the U.S. per day, December 2008
                                                                    • Global traffic
                                                                      • Figure 7: Reach, traffic rank, and page views per user for social networking sites, with three-month change, December 2008
                                                                    • MySpace, Facebook, YouTube the “big three”
                                                                      • Figure 8: Weekly visits to social networking sites, October 2008
                                                                      • Figure 9: Weekly visits to social networking sites, by gender, October 2008
                                                                      • Figure 10: Weekly visits to social networking sites, by age, October 2008
                                                                    • YouTube
                                                                      • Figure 11: Number of weekly visits to YouTube, by gender and age, October 2008
                                                                    • Facebook
                                                                        • Figure 12: Number of weekly visits to Facebook, by gender and age, October 2008
                                                                      • MySpace
                                                                          • Figure 13: Number of weekly visits to MySpace, by gender and age, October 2008
                                                                        • Blogger
                                                                          • LinkedIn
                                                                            • LiveJournal
                                                                              • imeem
                                                                              • Innovation and Innovators

                                                                                • Social networking for a cause
                                                                                  • Badoo foregoes advertisement for user self-promotion
                                                                                    • Putting it all in one place
                                                                                      • WePlay targets youth athletes, their parents
                                                                                      • Advertising and Promotion

                                                                                        • Social networking sites as media
                                                                                          • Facebook gifts a success…
                                                                                            • …while Facebook-branded applications remain hit-or-miss
                                                                                              • Beyond ads
                                                                                                • Maguire Automotive Group
                                                                                                  • The art of the mockumentary
                                                                                                    • ‘High School Musical 3’
                                                                                                      • Toyota
                                                                                                        • Social networks as advertisers
                                                                                                          • MySpace
                                                                                                            • Figure 14: Samuel L. Jackson Calls It Genocide, ad, 2006
                                                                                                          • Classmates
                                                                                                            • Figure 15: Picture Scroll: Check Out Stories, ad, 2008
                                                                                                            • Figure 16: Photos Scrolling Across the Screen, ad, 2008
                                                                                                        • Usage of Sites – Number of Profiles and Types Used

                                                                                                          • Number of profiles created - plenty of room for growth
                                                                                                            • Figure 17: Number of social networking site profiles, October 2008
                                                                                                            • Figure 18: Number of social networking site profiles, by gender, October 2008
                                                                                                            • Figure 19: Number of social networking site profiles, by age, October 2008
                                                                                                            • Figure 20: Number of social networking site profiles, by household income, October 2008
                                                                                                          • Interest in Themed Social Networking Sites - users seeking hobby, neighborhood, family, and professional sites
                                                                                                            • Figure 21: Membership and interest in multiple social networking sites, October 2008
                                                                                                            • Figure 22: Membership and interest in multiple social networking sites, by gender, October 2008
                                                                                                            • Figure 23: Membership and interest in multiple social networking sites, by age, October 2008
                                                                                                            • Figure 24: Membership and interest in multiple social networking sites, by household income, October 2008
                                                                                                        • Viral Marketing and Entertainment Usage

                                                                                                          • Social networks: where consumers learn about entertainment
                                                                                                            • Figure 25: Viral marketing on social networking sites, October 2008
                                                                                                            • Figure 26: Viral marketing on social networking sites, by gender, October 2008
                                                                                                            • Figure 27: Viral marketing on social networking sites, by age, October 2008
                                                                                                          • Entertainment Usage
                                                                                                            • Figure 28: Entertainment-related activities on social networking sites, October 2008
                                                                                                            • Figure 29: Entertainment-related activities on social networking sites, by gender, October 2008
                                                                                                            • Figure 30: Entertainment-related activities on social networking sites, by age, October 2008
                                                                                                        • Attitudes to Corporate Involvement

                                                                                                          • Making ads benefit users
                                                                                                            • Figure 31: Attitudes towards advertisements on social networking sites, October 2008
                                                                                                            • Figure 32: Attitudes towards advertisements on social networking sites, by gender, October 2008
                                                                                                            • Figure 33: Attitudes towards advertisements on social networking sites, by age, October 2008
                                                                                                        • Social Networking Fatigue

                                                                                                          • Substantial plurality seeking a streamlined experience
                                                                                                            • Figure 34: Negative attitudes towards social networking sites, by gender, October 2008
                                                                                                            • Figure 35: Negative attitudes towards social networking sites, by age, October 2008
                                                                                                        • The Matrix – alternative personalities and avatars

                                                                                                              • Figure 36: Alternate realities and social networking sites, by age, October 2008
                                                                                                          • Relationship Management

                                                                                                            • Maintaining local relationships
                                                                                                              • Figure 37: Local relationships and social networking sites, by gender, October 2008
                                                                                                              • Figure 38: Local relationships and social networking sites, by age, October 2008
                                                                                                            • Maintaining long-distance relationships
                                                                                                              • Figure 39: Long-distance relationships and social networking sites, by gender, October 2008
                                                                                                              • Figure 40: Long-distance relationships and social networking sites, by age, October 2008
                                                                                                              • Figure 41: Long-distance relationships and social networking sites, by household income, October 2008
                                                                                                          • Uses for Social Networking Sites

                                                                                                            • Common activities on social networking sites
                                                                                                              • Figure 42: Common activities performed in the last week, by gender, October 2008
                                                                                                              • Figure 43: Common activities performed in the last week, by age, October 2008
                                                                                                              • Figure 44: Common activities performed in the last week, by household income, October 2008
                                                                                                            • Less common activities on social networking sites
                                                                                                              • Figure 45: Less common activities performed in the last week on SNS, by gender, October 2008
                                                                                                              • Figure 46: Less common activities performed in the last week on SNS, by age, October 2008
                                                                                                            • Use of social networking sites for networking
                                                                                                              • Figure 47: Use of social networking sites for networking, by gender, October 2008
                                                                                                              • Figure 48: Use of social networking sites for networking, by age, October 2008
                                                                                                              • Figure 49: Use of social networking sites for networking, by household income, October 2008
                                                                                                            • Check out my artwork
                                                                                                              • Figure 50: Use of social networking sites to promote artwork, by gender, October 2008
                                                                                                          • Concerns Over Privacy on Social Networking Sites

                                                                                                              • Figure 51: Attitudes towards privacy on social networking sites, by gender, October 2008
                                                                                                              • Figure 52: Attitudes towards privacy on social networking sites, by age, October 2008
                                                                                                          • Impact of Ethnicity and Hispanic Origin

                                                                                                            • Number of profiles
                                                                                                              • Figure 53: Number of social networking site profiles, by ethnicity/Hispanic origin, October 2008
                                                                                                            • Viral marketing and entertainment usage
                                                                                                              • Figure 54: Attitudes towards and activities related to viral marketing on social networking sites, by ethnicity/Hispanic origin, October 2008
                                                                                                              • Figure 55: Entertainment-related activities on social networking sites, by ethnicity/Hispanic origin, October 2008
                                                                                                            • Attitudes to privacy
                                                                                                              • Figure 56: Attitudes towards privacy on social networking sites, by ethnicity/Hispanic origin, October 2008
                                                                                                            • Activities on social networking sites
                                                                                                              • Figures 57: Common activities performed in the last week, by ethnicity/Hispanic origin, October 2008
                                                                                                              • Figure 58: Less common activities performed in the last week on SNS, by ethnicity/Hispanic origin, October 2008
                                                                                                            • Use of social networking sites for networking
                                                                                                              • Figure 59: Use of social networking sites for networking, by ethnicity/Hispanic origin, October 2008
                                                                                                          • Cluster Analysis

                                                                                                              • Low Profilers
                                                                                                                • Who they are
                                                                                                                  • Opportunity
                                                                                                                    • Profilers
                                                                                                                      • Who they are
                                                                                                                        • Opportunity
                                                                                                                          • High Profilers
                                                                                                                            • Who they are
                                                                                                                              • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                • Cluster characteristics
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 60: Social networking clusters, October 2008
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 61: Number of profiles, by clusters, October 2008
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 62: SN activities conducted in the past week, by clusters, October 2008
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 63: Attitudes toward corporate involvement in SN sites, by clusters, October 2008
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 64: Motivations for using SN sites, by clusters, October 2008
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 65: Membership or interest in specific types of SN sites, by clusters, October 2008
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 66: Attitudes toward privacy on SN sites, by clusters, October 2008
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 67: General attitudes toward SN sites, by clusters, October 2008
                                                                                                                                • Cluster demographics
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 68: Social networking clusters, by gender, October 2008
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 69: Social networking clusters, by age, October 2008
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 70: Social networking clusters, by household income, October 2008
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 71: Social networking clusters, by ethnicity/Hispanic origin, October 2008
                                                                                                                                • Cluster methodology
                                                                                                                                • Custom Consumer Groups

                                                                                                                                  • The social networking monogamous choose Facebook and MySpace
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 72: Visits to social networking sites, by number of social networking site profiles, October 2008
                                                                                                                                    • Teen usage and attitudes
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 73: Teens’ number of social networking site profiles, by age and gender, October 2008
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 74: Teen usage of social networking site profiles, by age and gender, October 2008
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 75: Teen attitudes toward corporate profiles, by age and gender, October 2008
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 76: SN fatigue among teens and use of ads on SNS, by gender and age, October 2008
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 77: Parental attitudes and teen use of SNS, by age and gender, October 2008
                                                                                                                                  • Appendix: Other Useful Consumer Tables

                                                                                                                                      • Figure 78: Attitudes towards and activities related to viral marketing on social networking sites, by household income, October 2008
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 79: Social networking fatigue, by ethnicity/Hispanic origin, October 2008
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 80: Attitudes towards advertisements on social networking sites, by ethnicity/Hispanic origin, October 2008
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 81: Local relationships and social networking sites, by ethnicity/Hispanic origin, October 2008
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 82: Long-distance relationships and social networking sites, by ethnicity/Hispanic origin, October 2008
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 83: Membership and interest in different types of social networking sites, by ethnicity/Hispanic origin, October 2008

                                                                                                                                  Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                  • Bebo Inc
                                                                                                                                  • Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc.
                                                                                                                                  • British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
                                                                                                                                  • Cisco Systems, Inc.
                                                                                                                                  • Consumer Electronics Association
                                                                                                                                  • Facebook, Inc.
                                                                                                                                  • First Quench Retailing
                                                                                                                                  • Flickr
                                                                                                                                  • Friendster Inc
                                                                                                                                  • Google, Inc.
                                                                                                                                  • Greenfield Online
                                                                                                                                  • International Business Machines Corporation (IBM)
                                                                                                                                  • LinkedIn
                                                                                                                                  • MySpace.com
                                                                                                                                  • Paramount Pictures Corporation
                                                                                                                                  • Picasa
                                                                                                                                  • Skype Technologies S.A.
                                                                                                                                  • Sun Microsystems, Inc.
                                                                                                                                  • Woolworths
                                                                                                                                  • YouTube, Inc.

                                                                                                                                  Social Networking - US - January 2009

                                                                                                                                  £3,199.84 (Excl.Tax)