A new report shows that American adults are using social media not only to stay connected, but also to make informed buying decisions.
The 2008 Insight Report from MarketTools indicates that 68% of American adults visit online blogs, communities or social networks, and 33% of those surveyed say they visit these sites to read up on product reviews to help them make a purchasing decision.Six months ago, only 42% of adults were flocking online to visit blogs, online communities or social networks. Today, on a daily basis, one in five adults, with more women than men, is surfing the web.
Not surprisingly, the older the adult, the less frequent their visits; generation Y and X lead the way with Baby Boomers and seniors dragging behind.
The impact of social media interaction is that many are becoming more aware of consumer products. In addition, those with more money to spend are more wary of spending before researching, while Baby Boomers are more likely than others to read or post comments about products and services via social media sites.
With so much preliminary research, their subsequent consumer decisions reflect their proactive efforts. The likelihood that they've been influenced to favor of certain brands has increased as well. Most notably, adults are very susceptible to changing their minds based on what others have written about other products. Women, Gen X and Y, as well as those in the middle-income households, are the most likely to be influenced by reviews.
When not trying to get the best bargain on goods and services, a majority of online social media users are just looking to have a good time. Fun times aside, several are looking for love and education, though not at the same time.
MarketTools' survey of 1,000 American adults, aged 18 and older, can be interpreted as just another example of how relevant social media are. From Facebook and MySpace to Digg and Reddit -- they all are in the everyday lives of Americans. Applications that are fun, influential and informative will continue to gain popularity and find a place in daily routines. It's hard to imagine what we would do without them.