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UM-Too-Many-Companies-Involved-in-Social-Networking-Oct2013A few months ago a report from YouGov reported a “large increase” in the number of UK consumers who had stopped using social media because they’d had enough of social media marketing promotions, with the study indicating that a majority have negative attitudes to social media marketing. So how do Americans feel about companies’ involvement in social media? Results provided to MarketingCharts from UM’s recent Wave 7 survey offer some insight.

The survey asked participants aged 16-54 to rate the extent of their agreement with the statement that there are too many companies involved in social networking. Within the US, almost half – 47.1% – of respondents who had been active on any type of social network in the previous 6 months indicated some level of agreement. Just 18.6% disagreed.

It was interesting to see only small variations in the age and gender breakdowns. Among the social networking users, a similar proportion of men (48.9%) and women (45.4%) agreed that there are too many companies involved in social networking. The 16-24, 25-34, and 35-44 age groups all fell in the 45-47% range of agreement, with 45-54-year-olds slightly higher, at about 51%.

There was more variety when sorting by race and ethnicity. 54.2% of Asian-American social networkers agreed to some extent that there are too many companies involved in social networking. By comparison, 49.9% of self-identified Hispanics agreed, as did 47% of Caucasians and a relatively smaller 43.3% of African-Americans.

The Perceived Glut of Companies Hasn’t Turned Feelings Negative

UM-Positive-Perceptions-Companies-With-SocNet-Pages-Oct2013While the general sentiment among respondents appears to be that there are too many companies involved in social networking, it’s not all an uphill climb for social media marketers. In a separate question, UM asked participants to rate their agreement with a statement concerning their attitudes towards companies with pages on social networks.

Overall, 33.9% of American social networkers aged 16-54 agreed to some extent that they think more positively about companies with social networking pages, compared to 26% who disagreed. (Almost all of the rest were neutral.)

In terms of thinking more positively about companies, there was again little variation between male (34.8%) and female (33.1%) respondents. Age, though, played much larger of a role in these responses: 45.9% of 16-24-year-olds agreed that they feel more positive about companies with a social presence, a figure which dropped to 39.4% of 25-34-year-olds, 29% of 35-44-year-olds and just 21.6% of 45-54-year-olds, who were actually more inclined to disagree (36.7%) with the statement.

Interestingly, among the sample of social networking users, self-identified Hispanics were highly likely (48.4%) to agree that they think more positively about companies with a social presence. Asian-Americans weren’t far behind (42.3%), but just 33.4% of African Americans agreed, with 26.2% disagreeing.

In tandem, the results suggest that while social networking users are more likely than not to look favorably at companies with a social media presence, the perceived glut of companies involved may swing that perception in the future and/or cause users to be more selective about the brands they follow. The results also indicate that brands may have to work harder to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack.

About the Data: Wave is an annual social media study conducted by UM, a division of IPG Mediabrands. Wave retains the same methodology from Wave 1 to Wave 7, enabling comparison across Waves. UM has surveyed 48,945 16 ”“ 54 Active Internet Users in 65 countries, representing the views of over a billion people. All surveys are self-completed and the data collected is purely quantitative.

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