August 17, 2012
August 24, 2012

Recent findings from social media researchers show some shocking changes in how Americans use and consume social media. But these 11 social media statistics in particular stood out in the research.

1. Twitter users are 33 percent more likely to be Democrats
Research found that 40 percent of Twitter users are Democrats, compared to 30 percent of the U.S. population overall.The percentage of Republications and Independents on Twitter mirrors the U.S. average almost precisely. 

2. The “Check-in” is the phenomenon that never happened
Seventy-four percent of Americans are unfamiliar with the concept of checking in to a location via mobile device, and only 3 percent have ever checked in. Even more damning is that 4 percent had checked in when surveyed in 2011. This is a 25 percent decrease in check-in behaviors in a single year.

3. Only 33 percent of Americans have ever followed a brand in social media
From 2010 to 2012 the percentage of Americans following any brand on a social network has gone from 16 to 33 percent. This is a sharp increase, but looked at from the opposite perspective, it’s shocking that 2/3 of Americans using social networks have never followed a brand. Companies still have substantial room for growth in connecting with customers and fans on social networks.

4. 56 percent of Americans have a profile on a social networking site
This is up from 52 percent just last year, and 48 percent in 2010. How high can this climb? Certainly, there are sizable chunks of the populace that will never join a social networking site, but it’s amazing to consider that significantly more Americans (12 years old and up) have a social networking profile than do not.

5. 55 percent of Americans ages 45 to 54 have a profile on a social networking site
It’s not just for kids any more. The biggest growth of any age cohort from 2011 to 2012 was 45 to 54 year olds, who now exhibit participation matching the U.S. average. The only group that is below average are 55+ Americans, and even 3 out of 10 of them are in the social networking game.

6. 22 percent of Americans use social networking sites several times per day
It really is a “Social Habit.” In the past year, 12 million more Americans are using social networking many times daily. How many other things do we do several times per day? It’s not a long list.

7. Huge uptick in Facebook’s influence on purchase
Last year, 68 percent of Americans using social networks said that none of those networks had an influence on their buying decisions. This year, just 36 percent said that there was no influence. Now, 47 percent say Facebook has the greatest impact on purchase behavior (compared to just 24 percent in 2011). Incidentally, Twitter ranks below “other” at 5 percent. If you want to drive purchase behaviors within social networks, Facebook is the one and only game to play, statistically speaking.

8. Facebook via mobile continues to be a major factor
Fifty-four percent of Facebook members have used the social network via a phone, and 33 percent use a phone as their primary way to access Facebook. This despite the fact that the Facebook mobile experience and mobile apps are mediocre, at best. Here’s hoping the Instagram guys can jump start it. If so, watch for these numbers to soar.

9. Facebook is the most addicting of the social networks
Twenty-three percent of Facebook’s users check their account five or more times EVERY DAY. The mean number of daily look-ins by Facebook users is 4. Are we really so interesting that we have to keep up with our friends’ inanities every 90 minutes? Evidently, yes.

10. Twitter will have an easier time making changes to its core service than Facebook will
Fifty-three percent of Twitter users have been a member for less than a year, compared to just 19 percent for Facebook. This means that Twitter’s user base doesn’t have long-term, deep seated expectations for what Twitter is or should be.

11. 76 percent of Twitter users now post status updates
This is one of the biggest behavioral changes of the past two years. In 2010, the Social Habit research found that just 47 percent of Twitter users actually sent tweets, with more than half the user base in listen-only mode. The overwhelming majority of new Twitter users are active tweeters, driving the overall average to 76 percent.

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