Research says 40% of Britons ‘getting bored’ with social media, points to rise of niche sites

Status update: I'm getting bored with social mediaNews research from YouGov shows that while the uptake and usage of social media remains high as many as 41% of the UK online population claim to be getting bored of social media and say they will use it less. It points to Facebook’s usage while almost universal among the young starting to plateau and points to the rise of niche social sites. For instance it says finance site moneysavingexpert.com has as many active users as Twitter.

The research also suggests that is “there is less benefit for brands than was originally thought” to using social media.

  • For example, just under half (44%) of the British online population would not be more positive about a product their friends have followed and/or liked
  • 43% are unlikely to talk about a brand on a social media site even if they heard something positive about it

In addition, the YouGov study says that brand marketers and media owners need to be careful of new targeting models with just under half (47%) saying that they positively do mind seeing ads on social media services that are based on their profile activities.

The findings coupled with other research suggesting that people do not want mobile ads suggest that the public is reaching point of saturation, but with Facebook and Twitter both introducing mobile ads they will become harder to avoid.

Facebook is still king

Facebook is still the social media site with the highest percentage of active users by a very long way.

  • Almost two thirds (65%) of the UK online population have used Facebook within the last month
  • Perhaps unsurprisingly, usage of Facebook amongst younger generations is practically ubiquitous: a staggering 95% of 16-20 year olds and 74% of 21-24 year olds accessed it within the last month
  • YouTube is the closest social media site behind Facebook with half (50%) of all UK internet users using the site within the last month
  • The other big hitters in terms of active users are Twitter (23%), Windows Live (14%), LinkedIn (13%), Google + (12%) and Spotify (10%)

Interestingly, the research also found that the consumer financial advice site moneysavingexpert.com has as many active users as Twitter, according to YouGov. They both sit on 23% (see table below).

That is very surprising and somewhat hard to believe, but I imagine the recession has certainly sent a lot of people searching for money saving advice that is bound to have benefitted sites moneysavingexpert.com. I’m also guessing that the markets are quite different for the two sites.

YouGov suggests that this points towards a new phase – the rise of social sites with slightly more purpose than just connecting to people for the sake of it.

Although that strikes me as a misreading of social networking as people largely do not connect “for the sake of it”, but to track friends, news and to update people on what is happening in their lives.

Future outlook for social media sites

The study says that Facebook’s usage, though still leaps and bounds ahead of the competition, might finally be starting to plateau.

  • Just under a quarter (23%) of the British online population, who actively use Facebook, state that they now use the networking site less compared with 12 months ago
  • Furthermore, 19% expect to use Facebook less in one year’s time
  • However, over half (53%) of the British online population, who actively use LinkedIn, claim to now use the site more compared with 12 months ago
  • Further good news for LinkedIn is that 30% expect to use it more in one year’s time