04 June 2012

Social media research

Update 30 May 2012: Internet Trends published by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers for the D10 Conference. Slides by Mary Meeker here. Scribd document here. Notable: continued rapid growth in users, with mobile internet set to grow strongly.  Largest user populations are China, USA and India, but USA is now mature, ranking only 8th in terms of growth behind late-comers such as Indonesia, Philippines, Nigeria and Mexico.

The internet: the 'quiet engine' of Africa.

Facebook and Twitter are only part of the puzzle, and their penetration is much lower outside the USA and Western Europe. If you want to understand the social media environment, you need to consider the role of Orkut in India and Brazil, vKontakt in Russia, and QzoneRenren and Weibo in China. 

Don't forget the newcomers such as Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, Reddit, Imgur, etc. etc.

To learn about social media trends around the world, the following research is a good place to start. Other research is available online but is locked behind paywalls.

Some highlights:
  • 65% of online adults use social networking sites (August 2011). Social media users are getting older, as usage widens, says a Pew Internet survey.
  • Almost all US companies will be increasing their investments in social media in 2012, according to a study by consultancy Booz & Company and Buddy Media. Advertising, public relations and customer services would mostly benefit as will market research and recruitment. 
Worldwide trends - research papers (PDFs):
Usage patterns
  • Trends in Social Media: Persistence and Decay. HP Social Computing Lab (2011?). Undated empirical study finds that if a topic resonates with Twitter users it is more likely to become a trending topic. The level of user activity and the number of followers is not so relevant. 
  • New tools displace blogging in fast-growing US companies. The 2011 Inc. 500 Social Media Update finds blogging,  message boards, video blogging, podcasting and MySpace are declining for the first time since 2007 in favour of new platforms and tools including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, texting, downloadable mobile apps and Foursquare: http://goo.gl/M3I98
  • 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report. Social Media Examiner. Single survey shows growth overall, marketers keen for returns on investment, and growth in video content, Google+: http://goo.gl/OjYNc

Websites of interest

US accountants not counting the benefits
Accounting professionals are accustomed to measurable results, which might be why - in the absence of strong measures of the return on investment - a late 2011 survey found a lack of commitment to social media.