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BizReport : Social Marketing : October 12, 2006

Is Social Networking Losing Clout With Youth?

The popularity of social networking sites is changing the way everyone uses the internet and is bringing about a new web-based e-commerce system.

by Kristina Knight

New numbers from Nielson//NetRatings shows teens age 12-17 are the group most likely to visit social networking sites and invest time in setting up their own site. This is a change from what teens have done on line historically.

According to ratings numbers, in 2003, teens were most likely to visit icon sites for instant messaging. The most popular sites then were (77%) and (76%). Today the most popular sites are (68%) and (67%). Both of these sites offer social networking tools.

The older generation is also visiting, according to comScore. More than half of the visitors to popular MySpace are now 35 and over – that is up from less than 40% last year.

For marketers, this is a good thing. A new report from Compete indicates that social networkers, no matter their age, are creating their own e-commerce system. According to the report, those on social networking sites have more discretionary income, shop online more and pay less attention to traditional media. That is a host of potential customers just waiting to be tapped into.

So far, the marketers having the most success with the new networking shopper are those integrating their brand with an online philosophy. Including forums, peer and customer reviews, blogs, branded micro-sites and user generated content sites have the most luck finding these new shoppers and creating loyalty within the group.

Tags: MySpace, social marketing, social network

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