Home Forty Million Americans Now Contribute to Social Networking Sites: Who Are They?

Forty Million Americans Now Contribute to Social Networking Sites: Who Are They?

According to a new report from Netpop Research, 76% of all U.S. broadband users actively contribute to social media sites in one form or another, and 29% contribute regularly to social networking sites. Among these social networkers, Facebook is quickly catching up to MySpace, though iMeem, LastFM, Digg, and LiveJournal are also very popular with college students. The report also compares the online habits of these social networkers with those broadband subscribers who choose not to contribute to social media sites and finds a number of very interesting differences.

Social Networkers vs. Non-Contributors

The report, which is available for free until January 31, 2009 if you register at Netpop, provides an extremely rich amount of data.

Netpop, for example, found that the typical social networker is female (57% vs. 43%), between 18 and 29 years old, employed (55%) or a student (23%), and single (48%). The average social networker uses the Internet to connect with more than 18 people one-to-one in a given week, and with close to 110 one-to-many.

Interestingly, those broadband subscribers who don’t contribute to social networks tend to be male (57%), married (57%), and older. They also connect with less than 3 people online per week.

Social networkers spend an average of about $101 online, while those who don’t contribute to social networks only spend $80. On average, social networkers are also interested in a more diverse range of topics, with music, friends, movies, and games being the most prevalent interests.

Facebook vs. MySpace

Netpop also compared Facebook and MySpace users. Most of the results there aren’t highly surprising, but they do provide hard evidence for some of the more anecdotal stories we have seen about the two services.

Facebook users, for example tend to skew towards the 18 to 29 year olds, while MySpace users span all age groups. Facebook also has more users with college degrees (74% vs. 56%) and these users are less likely to be married than MySpace users.

MySpace users, however, spend more time online  during the week (5.5 hours vs. 5.1 hours) and also remain more active during the weekend.

In terms of interests, MySpace users are more interested in NASCAR, astrology, and gardening, while Facebook’s users are predictably more interested in school, science, and investing.


Netpop concludes the report with a longer discussion of what this means for online advertisers. A lot of this advice is right along the lines we have already discussed in earlier posts: engage with users on social media sites, give consumers a voice, enable companies to listen and learn, and allow your ‘fans’ to influence others.

With over 40 million Americans now contributing to social networking sites in one form or another, this is clearly a lucrative market for advertisers, but also one that is very different from more traditional online and offline media sources.

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