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Latest UK social networking statistics


Brett Brewer, president of Adknowledge, explains the social network ad space

Brett Brewer, president of Adknowledge, explains the social network ad space



At yesterdays M&M briefing (supported by Adknowledge) on harnessing social applications for brands we got the latest stats from the guys at Nielsen. The highlights are pretty impressive, especially for Social Networks and in particular Facebook:

1. Social Networks are now mainstream in the UK reaching across all ages

21.8 million people in the UK are now on social networks (that’s over 60% of the total UK online population)

Distribution has lost its skew towards under 18s and is now 11% 2-17, 35% 18-34 year olds and a massive 54% in the 35’s and over. 

2. Facebook is king


Even my Dad is getting tagged by villagers in Aceh, Indonesia

Even my Dad is now getting tagged by staff and villagers in Aceh, Indonesia



The age skew disappearance across the top 50 social networks is partly accounted for by some growth at LinkedIn (who has an older demographic) but its predominantly a Facebook thing – older brits are arriving on the Facebook scene – 14.4m monthly uniques in September 08. (that’s nearly half the UK online population). Myspace managed 5m uniques and Bebo 4.4m over the same period. But these networks are looking even more niche every month (Bebo for youth self expression and MySpace for music).

In terms of stickiness we rack up on 4 hours 24 minutes on Facebook each month. compare this with a paltry 47 minutes on Myspace or 1 hour 23 on Bebo.

3. Facebook apps are being used more.

In July last year you might have spent 1 in 20 of your precious Facebook minutes on an app – that’s up to 1 in every 5 this year.

Of these the striking stat is not, as you might expect, that we all play Playfish at work, it’s that 20% of all Facebook online app time is spent on Mob Wars. Just how addictive is this one game!

4. Connect, enjoy and express

Universal Mccann added to the stats with a great survey on Social networking motivation:

We use social networks it seems to

  • Connect – stay in touch with friends (90%), meet new people (45%)
  • Enjoy – fun, and entertainment (58%)
  • Express ourselves – upload photos (82%), blog (22%), upload videos(32%)

Facebook is still hot in San Francisco

Apart from a sign at the airport saying “Special Alien Registration” I thought all was ordinary about San Francisco and the home of Facebook. But after a few hours it became clear that there’s a tech excitement in the air that we just don’t get back in London.

Take the border officer stamping my passport who said “Facebook eh? Yes it used to be for school kids but now it’s commercial” or the Bangalore bound microsoft exec who perked up his ears at the words “social media” to grab my card. Pass by the Apple shop and there’s still an iQueue reaching round half the block at five in the afternoon, many days after the iPhone launch.

Then at the adknowledge drinks party I got to meet the co-founder of MySpace, Brett Brewer, who is putting together a dream team for brands wanting to engage with social media. With the purchase of Dwayne Lafleur’s cubics they have a super market share and with John Cole and team, now their presence in London.

snap of wall street journal article on zynga 23 july 2008

Snap of a Wall Street Journal article featuring Zynga 23 july 200

Then, here in my Wall Street Journal, in the technology section a large article on how Zynga is outstripping the others with its known science on building and optimising Facebook social games.

The message is clear – the technorati here in San Francisco are betting with their wallets that social networks are here to stay, have massive commercial potential and legacy brands (which now includes web 1.0 companies) will lose out if they haven’t defined a strategy and invested in their social media presence.

This is Nudge‘s market place – the bridging point between brands and users – by either creating new applications or piggy backing existing ones through deeply integrated advertising, Nudge can ensure our clients get the commercial edge on their laggard competitors.

Roll on the Facebook conference itself. :o)

Comparing social ad networks

At the Facebook garage and at the Monetising Social Networks conference last week I presented slides on the ad network of the future and how app developers have to start preparing for it now.

One of the key slides was a comparison of Social Ad Networks current capacity which we see here. Across the top are the features offered to advertisers with the name of the network down the left hand side.

All advertisers offer standard display units, some offer Integrated (where you can see social network features such as a photo of a friend who is using the product), very few offer targeting (demographic by age and gender, geo by location or profile data by what people have in their profile interests) mainly because of terms of service restraints by the platform.

The most interesting column is feature sensitive (or deep integration) where the ad networks provide a commoditised way of purchasing features that are intrinsic to the apps (a Resident Evil version of Zombie, a Mike and Ike sweets gift icon on Gifts or an Indiana Jones Fedora hat on Where I’ve Been). This is the gold seam for social network advertising.

The only network really targeting this at the moment is Social Cash with its emerging Point Cash technology which allows apps to sell in game points (eg. coins on My Aquarium for example) to advertisers to offer as rewards to users who click on its ads.

Update 15/3/2009 – original matrix removed – contact Nudge London direct for latest version

This sheet is based on a review of their web sites and marketing documents. Since then I’ve met with a few ad networks to understand their offerings in more details and am building a picture of which have the winning technology.

Please do add any comments to this post and I’ll try to update the framework with the most correct information about the various feature sets of the social ad networks.

Update – 2008-10-07 – this matrix is now a bit out of date. I’ll do an update shortly

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