There are signs of maturity in the social media market, as some users in certain segments are showing “social media fatigue,” according to a survey by Gartner, Inc.
The survey reveals continued localisation of usage, whereby certain country-specific social characteristics dictate preferences. However, large global brands, such as Facebook are making headway in countries where they have not historically been strong.
Gartner surveyed 6,295 respondents, between the ages of 13 and 74, in 11 developed and developing markets in December 2010 and January 2011. Consumers were asked about their use of and opinions about social media sites, with the aim of examining usage trends and how enthusiastic users were about social media in general across a range of countries.
“Overall, our survey underlined respondents’ continued enthusiasm for social media,” says Charlotte Patrick, principal research analyst at Gartner. “Teenagers and those in their twenties were significantly more likely to say that they had increased their usage, while at the other end of the ‘enthusiasm spectrum’, the age-related differences were much less marked, with fairly consistent percentages saying that they were using social media less.”
Of the respondents, 24 percent said they use their favourite social media site less than when they first signed up. These respondents tended to be in segments that have a more practical view of technology. But 37 percent of respondents, particularly those in younger age groups and more tech-savvy segments, said they were using their favorite site more.
“The trend shows some social media fatigue among early adopters, and the fact that 31 percent of Aspirers [younger, more mobile, brand-conscious consumers] indicated that they were getting bored with their social network is a situation that social media providers should monitor, as they will need to innovate and diversify to keep consumer attention,” adds Brian Blau, research director at Gartner.
“Branded content needs to be kept fresh and must be able to capture people’s attention instantly. The new generation of consumers is restless and short on attention span, and a lot of creativity is needed to make a meaningful impact,” Blau adds.
Gartner analysts also examined whether the type of social media site respondents used affected their enthusiasm. Given that 24 percent of respondents indicated that they were using their main social site “a little less” or “a lot less” than when they first started using it, respondents were asked what negative factors might be influencing their decision.
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