A very interesting survey has been recently completed by Indiabiz News & Research Services (INRS). The survey was conducted with the aim of tracking the emerging social media behavior in the youth. 350 respondents were questioned across the 4 Indian metropolitans Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore. The survey has yielded some very interesting numbers and results.
One of the first few conclusions of the survey was something that everyone has realized by now which is the unchallenged popularity of Facebook. It topped the list of the most used platform for social networking.
But the numbers regarding the behavior of these respondents on the social sites were even more interesting. Among others,the survey reveals the following points:
• 90% of the users join such sites to follow or stay in touch with their friends.
• Almost 80% follow their friends for their pictures. (now we know why the name facebook is so attractive maybe).
• 63% of those who took the poll have never engaged with Communities, Groups and Fan pages on networking sites.
• Only 11% agree that they would follow brand endorsements by their friends.
• Only 15% say they trust the information provided.
These findings throw some light on what people do with the large amount of time they spend on social networking sites. The first 2 points reveal the USP of these platforms which is that people join them primarily to bond and get closer to friends. People like to know that they are being thought of and remembered by their friends. The various features of Facebook such as like, comment etc make this very easy to do.
It has been a mystery to many as to what it is that makes these platforms so attractive and it is exactly this. They strike at the very centre of our social nerve. Visiting these platforms is akin to the desire to read horoscopes. Horoscopes generally write positive things about what one has been doing and what one can look forward to and make you feel good about yourself. Hearing from one’s friends is similar to that and having them comment on one’s photos or status updates makes one feel self important. That importance is something everyone looks forward to. It is what drives us to open our Facebook accounts everyday in the hope of seeing a new comment, a notification related to ourselves. In extreme cases this leads to obsessive compulsive disorders. Psychologists have recently observed and named a new disorder, Facebook Addiction Disorder.
Another finding of the survey was that 30%of the respondents access these sites through their mobiles. This means that there is great hunger for this technology. Why these sites are rapidly overtaking the traditional forms of communication is because of their flexibility and ease of use. You can log into your account whenever you want to i.e. you can start socializing when you are in the mood for it. You can take your time thinking over what someone has said about you or about something that interests you and give a well-thought-out reply. Your immediate reactions will never be visible to the world. Ironically, it is this lack of human proximity that makes socializing so much easier for many individuals. And it is also the reason why such sites may never really eradicate traditional forms of communication.
The platform that followed Facebook in terms of usage was LinkedIn (45.8%). 37% of the respondents belong to the 26-30 years age group and 35% of them were professionals with mid-level jobs. This explained the popularity of LinkedIn as many are capitalizing on its ability to build them contacts and seek out new professional opportunities. YouTube (36.5%) and Twitter (29.6%) succeeded the LinkedIn.
The survey also indicated that micro blogging ultimately has not hooked on as many users as is generally thought. 45% of the users said they preferred blogging over tweeting to express their opinions and present information. Moreover the top 5 categories of blogs are entertainment, current affairs, personal, fashion and technology, in order of increasing importance.
The last 3 points mentioned above in the article show that clearly brand advertising on social sites is not as effective as it is popularly considered. This fact is quite evident in the recent controversies that biggies like Facebook have been putting up with now as they make attempts to monetize their services. This is a classic dilemma of content quality being encroached upon by vested interests. And that kind of encroachment has never survived without the particular medium losing respect or atleast losing its novelty. It is a tricky give and take situation. The no or low cost feature is driven by free advertising but at the same it potentially dilutes the user experience on the website.
But all is not lost for marketers. The survey reveals that though people do not prefer marketing encroachment over their socializing, they would nonetheless like to know about brands and products via corporate blogs (41.4%), videos/pictures (40.3%) and emails/messages (37.3%). WATBlog has in the past covered the corporate side of this phenomenon with a brief on the scenario.WATBlog also actively follows surveys and research reports that attempt to understand social media behaviour. Social networking is no more a youth centric phenomenon as revealed in these reports.
Let us know your opinion.