Social Media: What Works and What Doesn’t

12 Social Media Facts For Marketers [Research & Charts]

As we continue as consumers to increase our use of and time spent on social media, our habits and expectations evolve to meet an ever greater range of needs. In turn, this requires that marketers change their approach and use of these platforms as communications, advertising and engagement channels.

Social media is where you’ll find me.

People spend more time on social media platforms than on any other category of websites according to Nielsen. Specifically, they spend 20% of their PC time on social media and 30% of their mobile time on social media. 

  • PC social media users are more deeply engaged. Intuitively, this makes sense since participants who access social media via a mobile device are more likely to be checking for a quick update between other activities. (Here’s how we consume content now.)
  • One third of social media time is via mobile apps. Participants spend seven times more time on social media via mobile apps than via the mobile web. It’s just easier to launch and use a dedicated social media app than to navigate a social media site using a mobile web browser.

 Social media ads don’t work!

Sorry to burst your bubble but consumers are on social media to socialize.  Here’s what the recent Nielsen data shows. (Here’s more data and analysis on social media advertising.)

  • One third of people believe social media ads are more annoying than other online ads. Consumers don’t want their social media integrated with advertising. If it’s bad for participants, it’s not very useful to marketers. If you’re going to use ads on social media, focus them on encouraging participants to visit your social media outpost.
  • Three quarters of people don’t want ads targeted to them based on their personal profile information. Take time to consider how your prospects feel when you show them ads based on information they don’t want other people to know. Face it—it’s creepy. While finely tuning your promotion can improve your response, understand it’s a double-edged sword that can cut your reputation to shreds if you’re not careful.
  • Only one quarter of people are more likely to pay attention to an ad posted by a social media connection. While this may seem like a low percentage, it’s attributable to the fact that consumers trust family and friends more than they trust other consumers and many participants are connected to people beyond their inner circle.

Social media activities influence sales, but not necessarily in a way that’s directly measurable.

As the buying process has evolved, so has customers’ use of social media to gather input on potential purchases.

  • 70% listen to other consumers’ experiences. The subtext is that they’re looking for the good and the bad. They also provide positive and negative input about products.
  • 65% seek product information. Use social media platforms to supply prospects and customers with information about your products and services. Go beyond product details. Show your product in action with photographs and videos. Help customers with how-to information including styling.
  • 47% share money incentives. Especially in the current economy, consumers look for the best price. One place they check is social media.

Social customer care required.

If your firm has a social media presence, you must assume that prospects and customers will expect you to answer their questions. Understand that consumers expect companies to respond to them on social media (although 70% don’t.)

  • Half of social media participants use social customer care. Since your audience is already on social media, it’s easy for them to use the platform to interact with your customer service people. Further, they use a variety of social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blogs. Expect this list to expand to other platforms.
  • One third of social media participants prefer social customer care to phone based service. For many social media users, phone calls are old school. They use social media to communicate.

Social media involves more than the obvious choices for consumers.

As consumers use more social media and integrate it into their lives, they start to extend how and where they use it. 

  • Think beyond the PC, smartphone and tablets for social media connections. While PCs and mobiles devices are the main way participants connect to social media, they’re not the only ways. There are also music devices, gaming devices, televisions and e-readers.
  • Social media connections are more than just relationships moved online. They’re about friends of friends and building networks for a variety of goals.

Marketers must understand that social media requires an integrated approach to engaging and communicating with prospects, customers and the public because participants expect it. For this activity to yield optimal business results, you must stay ahead of the evolution of how consumers use these platforms.

What else would you add to these trends and why?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

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