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As Social Media Usage Grows, Consumer Shopping Patterns Make It Easier for Marketers to Target Them

As social media usage continues to grow, it is becoming
easier to identify opportunities for marketers to target specific consumer
buying patterns.

"Social Media Report 2012," a recent study by
Nielsen and NM Incite, finds that behavior toward social media advertising
varies by ethnicity, with Asian-Americans being the ethnic group most likely to
share, like or purchase a product after seeing an ad on a social network site.
Conversely, white consumers are the least likely to take any action after
seeing ads on social networks.

The numbers on ethnic groups making a product purchase after
seeing a social network ad find that 31% of Asian-Americans will do so,
followed by 22% of Hispanic consumers, 18% of African-American consumers and
12% of white consumers. The biggest driver of consumers making a purchase
after seeing a social network ad was found to be coupons obtained on a daily
deal or retailer's site-that goes the same across all groups. Social ads alone were
much less of an inspiration for consumers to go to the actual retail store to
buy a product that was advertised online.

Among the other interesting findings about social shopping

  • 33% of all respondents agree that ads on social networking
    sites are more annoying than other online ads.
  • 26% of respondents are more likely to pay attention to an ad that has been
    posted by one of their social network acquaintances.
  • 26% are okay with ads that are identified based on their profile information.
  • 17% feel more connected to brands seen on social networking websites.

Driving the evolution and engagement potential of social
media is the growing number of smartphone and tablet usage. The study finds
that "while the personal computer is still at the center of the social network
experience, consumers are increasingly looking to other devices to connect on
social media." Time now spent on mobile apps and mobile Web access account for
63% of the year-over-year growth in overall time spent using social media. Of
social media users, 46% say they use their smartphones to access social media;
16% say they connect to social media via tablets.

Between July 2011 and July 2012, time spent on PCs and
smartphones was up 21% overall but only 4% growth was in the PC area. Facebook
continues to be the No. 1 social network used by consumers, with 17% of their
overall PC time being spent on the site.

Facebook is not only the top social network in terms of U.S.
unique PC visitors with 152.2 million, but it also has the most U.S. unique
mobile Web visitors with 78.3 million, according to the study. Twitter has
42.3 million unique mobile Web visitors; Blogger has 19.9 million mobile Web
uniques; Pinterest has 14.3 million; Wordpress, 11.9 million; LinkedIn, 9.6
million; and Tumblr, 8.5 million uniques.

Pinterest is the fastest growing social network site on a
percentage basis, growing 1,047% to 27.2 million unique PC visitors from July
2011 to July 2012. It also grew 4,225% among unique mobile Web visitors to its
current 14.3 million.

Women are by far the biggest users of Pinterest.
Among its U.S. audience composition, its PC site users are 70% women, its
mobile app users are 84% women and its mobile users are 72% women. Its users
are also predominantly white, with 86% of Pinterest PC site users being white, along
with 79% of mobile app users and 74% of mobile users. The next largest ethnic group
among Pinterest users is Hispanics with 8% using its PC site, and 22% each
using its mobile site and mobile app. Overall, most Pinterest users fall
in the 18-49 demo range.

The study finds most people have positive experiences after
participating in social networking: 76% say their experience was positive to
21% calling it negative.

More than half people 25-54 (51%) surveyed said they use
social networking in their office, the highest of any demo group. And in an
interesting side statistic, nearly one-third (32%) of people age 18-24 say they
use social networking in the bathroom.

Regarding smartphone and tablet usage while watching TV,
here is some of the data from the survey:

  • Overall, 41% of tablet owners and 38% of smartphone owners
    use their device daily in front of the television.
  • Among those watching TV, 22% of smartphone users and 45% of tablet users are
    also shopping.
  • 38% of smartphone users and 44% of tablet users are visiting a social
    networking site during a program.
  • 23% of smartphone users and 35% of tablet users look up information related to
    the TV program they are watching.
  • 15% of smartphone users and 26% of tablet users looked up product information
    for an ad seen on TV.
  • 12% of smartphone users and 24% of tablet users looked up coupons or deals
    related to an ad seen on TV.

The study also finds that Twitter drives social TV. It found
that during June 2012, 33% of Twitter users tweeted about TV content, up from
26% in January 2012.

The Nielsen Social Media Study is based on a
sample of 1,998 adults, age 18-plus, and social media users who were recruited
from the Nielsen Online Panel to take an online survey conducted from July 19
through Aug. 8, 2012.