May 19, 2008 12:06 ET

High Growth Forecasted for the Online Social Networking

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - May 19, 2008) - announces that a new market research report related to the Internet Business industry is available in its catalogue.

Online Social Networking


Globally, the use of online social networks as a means to communicate and interact is rising sharply. Interactive social media has given people more control over their media experience. This creates both new opportunities and challenges in marketing. This report will help you understand when and how to utilize social media as part of a successful marketing strategy


  • Detailed insights and analysis documenting the drivers behind the continued popularity of online social media
  • Key country-by-country data outlining social network memberships, internet access, broadband access and mobile phone ownership
  • Strategic conclusions and actionable recommendations on harnessing the power of social media for marketing purposes
  • Global scope countries covered: France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, UK, US, Australia, N. Zealand, Japan, China, S. Korea, India


Across the globe, consumers are becoming more connected through the help of new technology. In particular, increased broadband internet access has encouraged new internet users, as well as those already using the internet to spend more time on it, because it enhances the user experience and makes the evolution from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 possible.

It is incorrect to assume that successful Online Social Networking (OSN) based marketing is only relevant for brands targeting younger consumers. Although they remain the core group driving the trend, the reality is that OSN is also relevant to a broad range of age cohorts.

Social media derived marketing needs to be engaging and not overly forced. Consumer packaged goods companies that would be especially well-advised to engage in the commercialization of social networking are those whose target market already feels a strong sense of engagement.

Reasons to Purchase

  • Obtain a detailed understanding of consumers' need to connect online and how this can be effectively leveraged commercially
  • Use the latest evidence based insights to structure effective marketing campaigns through social media
  • Access a compelling blend of quantitative and qualitative data illustrating consumer attitudes and best-practice marketing across the globe

Overview 1
Catalyst 1
Summary 1
TREND: OSN has become an established form of connecting 2
OSN can be defined in different ways and reflects a changing media landscape 2
Key take-outs and implications: marketers must recognize and plan for changing media orientations 4
TREND: Membership and usage of OSN is continuing to rise globally as more people have internet access 4
Access to and time spent using the internet and mobile communication devices continues to increase across the globe 4
Membership numbers and usage of online social networks is growing globally 6
Interpersonal factors beyond technology account for the growth of OSN 8
Key take-outs and implications: the sheer scale of online activity-especially through social networking sites-cannot be overlooked by marketers 9
INSIGHT: The continued growth of OSN and its commercial impact will depend on the future effects of potentially important inhibitors 10
The issues of trust and privacy have caused some concern among consumers 10
Internet advertising is considered to be less trustworthy than other forms of advertising 11
Mixed evidence surrounds consumer trust in using social media for information about companies 11
Consumers are easily bored and are always on the lookout for new forms of entertainment 11
A backlash against the superficiality of virtual connectivity is a distinct possibility 12
There is a growing wariness about the commercial influence of social networking sites 12
Day-to-day usage may decline as tighter controls are implemented by employers 13
Key take-outs and implications: social media also presents commercial challenges 13
INSIGHT: Online networks are proving popular with a broad range of socio-demographics 14
There are some notable socio-demographic and cultural variances in OSN usage 14
Cultural and geographic differences dictate OSN site preferences 15
Key take-outs and implications: effective marketing based around social media must account for socio-demographic variances 16
ACTION: Consider using pre-existing online communities as a medium for expanding brand exposure and sales 17
Look for opportunities to develop branded applications for social networking sites 18
Use online networks as a new distribution channel to build actual product sales 18
Target a social network for which usage is skewed towards your target audience 18
Be selective: identify and leverage brands that consumers are passionate about 19
Use social media platforms to tell more detailed brand stories 19
ACTION: Use existing and newly created social networking communities to facilitate cost effective, yet targeted consumer research 20
Create positions in your marketing team to monitor brand conversations in social media 20
Establish 'closed' online communities that can feed into the market research process by encouraging brand conversation and ideas 20
Establish 'open' online communities that can feed into the market research process by encouraging brand conversation and ideas 21
Keep the content of branded social networks fun and varied 21
Ensure that canvassing online social networks does not become a replacement for traditional market research techniques 22
ACTION: Develop engaging content that easily can be shared virally online and that has high interactivity 23
Make content that leverages social media humorous 23
Ensure social media-aligned marketing content is simple, but with highly topical content 24
Encourage user-generated content and interaction to keep the consumer's attention 24
Try to elicit actual product recommendations rather than just brand buzz 25
ACTION: Utilize multiple online touchpoints to maximize message exposure 25
Explore opportunities offered by virtual worlds 26
Additional data 27
Definitions 28
Methodology 29
Further reading and references 29
Ask the analyst 30
Datamonitor consulting 30
Disclaimer 30
List of Tables
Table 1: Current and forecasted memberships of OSN sites in selected countries, 2007-12 (millions) 8
Table 2: The number of broadband internet subscribers in selected European and Asian countries and the US (millions), 2002-12 27
Table 3: Mobile phone ownership in selected European and Asian countries and the US (millions of units), 2001-06 28
List of Figures
Figure 1: Consumers' media orientations are changing, with participative and engaging social media becoming more important 2
Figure 2: OSN can be divided into four categories 3
Figure 3: Social, personal and technological drivers have contributed to OSN 9
Figure 4: Case study: Friends Reunited exemplifies how loyalty to social networking sites can be transient, especially in the absence of compelling, interactive content 12
Figure 5: Case study: Badoo has achieved rapid user growth via its anti-advertising approach 13
Figure 6: Case study: dedicated sites appealing to older users exemplify that online networks are proving popular with a broad range of socio-demographic groups 15
Figure 7: France and the US highlight how regional differences characterize OSN popularity 16
Figure 8: Social networking sites can help marketers to more effectively understand target consumers 23
Figure 9: Social networking sites can help marketers to more effectively understand target consumers 25

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