Despite the increasing range of extra activities that sites like Facebook offer, internet users are still mostly pre-occupied with one another, with research showing 66% visit to keep up with current friends compared with 10% of respondents that visit social networks for music, for example. How can social networks encourage more active participation and drive up advertising revenues as a result?
- Social networks depend mainly on advertising revenues. However many are looking to broaden into new areas to grow profits, such as e-commerce. Research for this report shows that few respondents would ever consider buying goods and services through a social network, even less for a virtual product. How will social networks overcome the challenges ahead?
- While Facebook is still the most popular social network according to Mintel research, it is not the fastest-growing – with newer sites Twitter and LinkedIn all making much larger gains in new subscribers over the last 12 months. Are established social networks such as Facebook under threat or will there be room for these various social networks to co-exist?
- According to Mintel research one in ten respondents use social networks on their mobile phone. But these are also the most valuable to networks, and are among their most enthusiastic users. While low smartphone penetration is an issue, what strategies are social networks, mobile networks and handset manufacturers doing to encourage greater mobile usage?
- While attention has shifted away from the Facebook versus MySpace debate, the smaller social network continues to innovate around its music credentials, which have remained core to the platform’s values since it originally launched. Will its upcoming new music and videos platform be enough to re-energise the site and turn around its declining user base?
- According to Mintel research for this report 75% of respondents say that they keep personal information to a minimum. However, attitudes to security vary by gender (females being the most security conscious) and age (young being the least). What strategies are social networks putting in place to ensure the safety of all users, and how effective will these be?