News Use on Social Media Platforms: New Study From Pew Research

The Pew Research Center’s Journalism Project released a new report today, which analyzes the role of news across social media platforms. Researchers found the level of news consumption varies considerably on different social networking sites —roughly half of Facebook and Twitter users get news on those sites while only a fifth of YouTube users do so.

The report also looks at the demographics of different social networking sites; how many people engage with news across multiple social sites; and social media users’ news consumption habits on traditional platforms. Research was conducted by Jesse Holcomb, Jeffrey Gottfried and Amy Mitchell in collaboration with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. They analyzed the characteristics of news consumers and the size of their population across 11 social networking sites.

“News plays a varying role across the social networking sites.1 Roughly half of both Facebook and Twitter users get news on those sites, earlier reports have shown. On YouTube, that is true of only one-fifth of its user base, and for LinkedIn, the number is even smaller. And Pinterest, a social pin board for visual content, is hardly used for news at all,” the report shows. [Read more…]

comScore and Facebook Release Research Paper “The Power of Like 2: How Social Marketing Works”

Report Presents Framework for Optimizing Earned and Paid Media Reach to Fans and Friends and New Research on Sales Lift Analysis

comScore and Facebook today released the second white paper in The Power of Like series, The Power of Like 2: How Social Marketing Works, including original analysis demonstrating ways in which exposure to earned and paid media on Facebook drives behavioral lifts in purchase behavior. The analysis leverages data and insights from the comScore Social Essentials™ and comScore AdEffx™ products. To download a complimentary copy of the report, please visit: www.comscore.com/like2.

“Social media continues to emerge as an important marketing channel and major brand marketers are devoting more time and attention to understanding its impact on consumers,” said Andrew Lipsman, comScore VP of Industry Analysis. “While marketers understand the importance of a channel that now accounts for 1 in every 7 minutes spent online, many are challenged to quantify its effectiveness. The Power of Like research sheds new light on how brands are able to deliver earned and paid media at scale, amplify its effects from Fans to Friends of Fans, and understand how exposure to these media can drive the desired consumer behaviors, including online and in-store purchase.”

[Read more…]

Who’s Using Twitter? New Pew Research Shows 15% of Online Adults Tweet

The Pew Internet & American Life Project released its annual study of Twitter today. The report, written by Aaron Smith and Joanna Brenner, shows that overall adoption remains steady, but “typical day” usage continues to grow—8% of online adults now use Twitter on a typical day. African-Americans, young adults, and mobile users stand out for their high rates of Twitter usage.

According to the researchers, some 15% of online adults use Twitter as of February 2012, and 8% do so on a typical day. Although overall Twitter usage has nearly doubled since the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project  first asked a stand-alone Twitter question in November 2010, the 15% of online adults who use Twitter as of early 2012 is similar to the 13% of such adults who did so in May 2011. At the same time, the proportion of online adults who use Twitter on a typical day has doubled since May 2011 and has quadrupled since late 2010—at that point just 2% of online adults used Twitter on a typical day.1 The rise of smartphones might account for some of the uptick in usage because smartphone users are particularly likely to be using Twitter.

Several demographic groups stand out as having high rates of Twitter usage relative to their peers:

African-Americans — Black internet users continue to use Twitter at high rates. More than one quarter of online African-Americans (28%) use Twitter, with 13% doing so on a typical day.

Young adults — One quarter (26%) of internet users ages 18-29 use Twitter, nearly double the rate for those ages 30-49. Among the youngest internet users (those ages 18-24), fully 31% are Twitter users.

Urban and suburban residents — Residents of urban and suburban areas are significantly more likely to use Twitter than their rural counterparts.

Twitter use among 18-24 year olds increased dramatically between May 2011 and February 2012, both overall and on a “typical day” basis

Twitter use within the overall population remained steady over the last year, and usage rates within most major demographic groups changed little over the same time period. The youngest adults (those between the ages of 18 and 24) are the primary exception to this trend—nearly one third of internet users in this age group now use Twitter, up from 18% in May of 2011 and 16% in late 2010.3 Twitter use by those in their mid-20s to mid-40s largely leveled off in the last year after roughly doubling between late 2010 and mid 2011.

In addition to increasing on an overall basis, the proportion of young internet users who use Twitter on a typical day also doubled over the last year. Fully one in five internet users ages 18-24 (20%) now use Twitter on a typical day, up from 9% in May 2011.

Notably, “typical day” usage among slightly older adults (those ages 25-34) also doubled—from 5% of such internet users in May 2011 to 11% in February 2012—even as overall usage levels within this group remained stable over that time period.

Twitter and the “Mobile Difference”
We can also see this relationship between youth, mobility and Twitter use when looking specifically at Twitter use on mobile phones. Twitter usage is highly correlated with the use of mobile technologies, especially smartphones. One in five smartphone owners (20%) are Twitter users, with 13% using the service on a typical day. By contrast, internet users who own more basic mobile phones are roughly half as likely to use Twitter overall (9% do so), and just 3% of these more basic phone owners are “typical day” users.

Indeed, this correlation between Twitter adoption and smartphone ownership may help to explain the recent growth in Twitter usage among young adults. Those ages 18-24 are not just the fastest growing group when it comes to Twitter adoption over the last year—they also experienced the largest increase in smartphone ownership of any demographic group over the same time period.

In addition to asking internet users whether they ever use Twitter (regardless of the platform or device used) in our February 2012 tracking survey, we included a question in our April 2012 tracking survey in which we asked adult cell phone owners if they use Twitter specifically on their mobile phones. Overall we found that 9% of cell owners use Twitter on their phones, with 5% doing so on a typical day.4

As with general Twitter usage, smartphone owners are much more likely than average to use Twitter on their phones (overall 16% of smartphone owners use Twitter on their phones, and 10% do so on a typical day).

As with our general Twitter usage findings, cell owners ages 18-24 are more likely than older cell owners to use Twitter within the context of their mobile devices—fully one in five 18-24 year old cell owners (22%) use Twitter on their phones, and 15% do so on a typical day. African Americans and Latinos (both of whom have high rates of smartphone ownership) also stand out as heavy mobile Twitter users.