A recent study conducted with qSample’s general consumer panel reveals that more than 60% of respondents surveyed access Facebook 3-6 times a day. Results also show those who are logged in that frequently earn an income of $50,000 or less per year.
The survey was conducted during the last week of September, with more than 400 respondents participating. Among those who completed the survey, their employment status were as followed – 41% are employed full-time by a company other than their own, 17% are retired and 13% are self-employed. Others label themselves as full-time homemakers, full-time students or chose “other” for employment status.
Compared to Facebook usage, respondents use other social media sparingly. They report using other social media sites like Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Pintrest and Instagram only a few times a month. And their main reason for using Facebook? Over 66% say that their primary reason is to connect with friends and family while16% use it for entertainment purposes. Please see the infographic below for additional survey results.
Originally, Facebook’s enormous user retention success was partly due to the member’s ability to post, share and save pictures. Although some sites originally based on text have since added this capability (with Twitter on board only within the past two years), users seem to spend more time on the platform than any other social media sites.
Twitter has tried to replicate the activities of Facebook in allowing the addition of pictures to updates, changing each user’s homepage to stream updates, making media visible within that stream, and (more recently) tagging pictures with user’s names in hopes of increasing usage of the site.
Results from our survey also indicated that over half (51%) of the respondents use social media between 5:00pm-11:00pm and they are choosing the time brackets of noon-4PM and 9:00am-11:00am as secondary options.
Although several of these stats are not surprising, it’s a great idea to always keep up with what the consumer is thinking, and perhaps sometimes delve into why they think they way that they do. Here’s why:
The more marketers tune into consumers and their target audiences, the better they can hone specific messaging to draw them in. As an example, if 70% of a target audience is made up of moms, they can develop messaging that is attractive to most moms.
If companies know when their audience is logged onto certain sites, they can determine if advertising at certain times is beneficial or not. For digital advertising, there is often a choice of the time of day that ads run and advertising is sometimes more expensive during these prime times. Knowing when an audience in online is key to ensuring that a target market is seeing the message.
As always, things to consider when analyzing survey data include human behavior, personalities, potential reasons for responses, etc.
For this survey, we should consider that people who make under $50,000 a year may have more time on their hands than those who are earning more, giving them more time to connect with friends and family on Facebook. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment rates are lower in those with a professional or doctoral degree, while they run close to 11% for those with less than a high-school diploma and 7.5% for those with a high-school diploma.
Many of us know people above the $50,000 annual income category who choose activities other than social media. When asked for their reasons for not being social on-line, their answers often have something to do with lack of time (or as one mother-of-five said “I’m afraid it would be a huge time-sucker.”). In fact, 5% of people do not use Facebook at all, 55% don’t use Twitter, 54% don’t touch LinkedIn, 70% of people have no interest in Pintrest and 85% do not use Tumblr.
We should also consider that although people in this response group primarily use social media to connect with others, they may also be using Facebook to network and research potential ways to increase their income. With more education, telecommuting and contracting opportunities accessible via the internet, it is much easier to obtain additional sources of income. And many of the options are available to all who have internet access and not limited to those with a higher education level, who reside in a specific location or have other demographics that are needed for performing off-line jobs.
Why do we use social media so much? It appears that people find true value in it. Surprisingly, only 7% of respondents use it to “pass the time” versus using it for business purposes, connecting with family and friends, entertainment or “other”. On this scale, using it for “other”, whatever that may entail, describes only 2% of our general population consumers.
Consider how modern house plans differ from older house plans. In many regions, large front porches are gone and former “front porch activity” is delegated to the backyard area, which is often fenced off from other people in the neighborhood. Many now sit out in the backyard area with specifically-invited family or friends versus greeting the neighbors on their after-dinner strolls. Is social media a way that people reach out to be social, but to also stay within their comfort zones where life feels safer?
A large majority of people are coming home from work and logging onto social media. And although it appears that the majority of these people earn less than $50,000 annually, they are a market for product and services. Companies who reach the audience where they naturally spend their time will likely see the results in the bottom line.