If you've been getting the creeping feeling that more and more of your female Facebook friends are becoming fans of brands or products, that's because they are. According to a new study on social media, last year a whopping 80% of the women polled said they had done just that (fanded? fandified?).
This may not be good news for those of us who look to catch up with old chums rather than be marketed to on social networking sites, but it is excellent data for retailers searching for clues about competing in this pinched consumer world. And there were more promising figures in the study. Half of the respondents said they bought a product in 2009 because of something they'd seen on a social networking site. And when it came to learning about new products and joining groups for new products, those two activities seemed to go hand in coupon-clutching hand: 72% said they had done both, while 40% indicated that they had purchased a product because of a Facebook coupon code.
Businesses may have once had to guess how their ads are being received, but no longer: 13% of women polled said they always look at the ads on networking sites and often feel compelled to click through, that's up from only 2% in 2008. If you are one of those types who are annoyed by the placement of ads on these sites, you are in the vast minority—only 12% of those asked were bugged by the virtual hawking.
One interesting wrinkle to the study is the difference in marketing success between Facebook and Twitter. Only 30% of female Twitter-users bought something because of an ad on that site, and just over half learned about a new product through Twitter. The study's operators, the marketing outfit SheSpeaks, believe that's because women are, so far, less engaged in general with Twitter than they are with other social networking sites. So while Twitter may be newly profitable, it will have to do more to court women if it hopes to grow.