Women have truly integrated social media into every part of their lives, from friends and family, to networking, to shopping. There are now 86% of women using social networks, a 48% increase over 2008, according to a new study from SheSpeaks.
Social networks including Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, have become drivers of purchase intent among women, with 50% of social media users reporting they have purchased products because of information on social networking sites.
The second annual Social Media Study of the national SheSpeaks membership, yielding more than 1,500 responses, revealed the most dramatic increase in social media use was among women 50+ years of age, whose participation grew from 31% in 2008 to 70% in 2009. Social media participation was up across all age groups this year, with participation among younger women up 10% compared to 2008. In addition, more women are frequently logging into social networking sites since 2008, with 36% more women reporting they log in at least once per day (73% vs. 53%).
Last year our members were going online primarily to research purchases, but now they are looking to social media to help them research, guide and facilitate every kind of transaction, from social exchanges to purchases, said Aliza Freud, Founder and CEO of SheSpeaks. Women have become more comfortable using social media, and for marketers, the overall growth and habitual use of social media represents opportunities to reach and engage women of all ages, and influence their purchase decisions.
Facebook has dominated social media this year with 95% of those women who use social networks on Facebook, up 46% from one year ago. MySpace participation declined over the last year (63% to 42%), while nearly 40% of the women surveyed reported they have Twitter accounts. Although many women use both Facebook and Twitter, an astounding 80% prefer Facebook. In fact, 25% of those surveyed abandoned Twitter after creating their accounts, while Facebook use only declined 7% for women after creating Twitter accounts. Facebook users also reported they are two times more likely to log in daily (72%), compared to Twitter users (36%).
Although Facebook is currently more popular than Twitter among women, they each share a purpose in women’s lives, said Freud. Facebook serves women’s need to interact with friends and share photos, while Twitter has become a tool that is primarily used for professional networking and learning about up-to-the-minute news, promotions and deals.
The study also found online video has grown in popularity over the last year. Almost 40% of the women surveyed reported they frequently watch video and TV content online, and 85% say they watch it frequently or sometimes. A separate poll of SheSpeaks members found that clips from news and TV programming were the most commonly watched type of online video in the prior week (68%), followed by videos that are forwarded (49%), full news and TV programs (40%), and videos posted by friends (40%). Entertaining advertisements were the least popular type of video, but were still watched by one-third of women within the last week.