More than one-third (36%) of online US and Canadian women would give up chocolate, their Pradas, or their mother-in-law before they gave up their social networks, but only half would be willing to pay subscription fees to continue using such networks, according to a research study and report by ShesConnected Multimedia.
The study, “The Power of Social Networking for Women,” asked women in the US and Canada how they are using social networks and found that 53% of online women use social networks at least weekly, and that social-networking women – most of whom are highly engaged and comfortable with technology – are one of the fastest growing segments on social networking sites.
However, though social networking continues to grow in popularity and presents an increasing array of benefits, the research also found that women place paramount importance on protecting their privacy online. More than nine in 10 women say controlling their privacy settings on social networks is “very important,” and only slightly fewer (86%) say that blocking other users is of utmost importance. This compares with 72% of online women who say that posting comments is very important and 71% who say it’s very important to be able to invite a friend.
Ad Supported Models Most Favored
Women are also most comfortable with ad-supported revenue models for social networking sites, the survey found. While 92% have some degree of comfort with seeing ads on social networking sites, only 22% say the same about selling data to advertisers and 28% have comfort with a subscription-based model. Nearly half (49%) say they would not use a social networking site if It charged them a subscription fee.
Reasons for Belonging
Though it is not big news that Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are the most popular social networks for women, ShesConnected was surprised by the fact that a large number of women are using such sites to network, market and otherwise promote their businesses.
Top sites joined:
The top five reasons women belong to social networks:
Most Popular Activities
The study also found that a growing number of women are viewing video and reading blogs. According to the study, the most popular social networking activities for women:
Additional survey findings about social-networking women:
ShesConnected notes that these study findings have potentially profound implications for advertisers. “Women using Social Networks are finding such high utility in these sites that they are becoming a central component of their lives online,” the firm said in a press release, adding that “marketers need to focus on how best to provide value to the community.”
About the study: The study was conducted online using a viral approach to recruitment, including email invitations to ShesConnected registered members, links on Facebook and LinkedIn groups, and Twitter. There were 711 respondents to the study, which took place in April and May of 2009. No incentive was offered. Additional data from the US Census Bureau, Forrester Research and other published third-party studies was used to compile the final report.
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