Social Media Marketing & Research Reports for SMBs

21 social media research reports, industry forecasts and expert guides to help small business ecommerce site owners to better understand the world of social commerce and marketing.

Social commerce (or social shopping) refers to the growing number of today's consumers who use social networking services and sites to share their latest purchases, deals, product reviews, want lists, and other shopping finds.  Keeping track of social media trends, research and statistics gives small business ecommerce site owners a solid foundation to plan and then to create a retail or Internet marketing strategy that is optimized for social media.

The following social media-related research and statistics are free reports or research highlights from trusted industry sources and experts.  

11 Social Media Growth and User Statistics for 2011

Here are the top industry research reports to help you understand how many people use social media and social networking sites, the growth of social media in general, and which of the services are the most popular among consumers.

  • Twenty-eight percent of all American adults use mobile or social location-based services of some kind. This includes 9 percent of Internet users who set up social media services such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn to automatically include their location in their posts on those services. (Source: Pew Research Center; Internet & American Life Project)
  • Social media has grown rapidly. Today nearly four out of five active Internet users visit social networks and blogs. Americans spend more time on Facebook than they do on any other U.S. website. (Source: Nielsen; Social Media Report Q32011)
  • Forty-two percent of online consumers have "followed" a retailer proactively through Facebook, Twitter or a retailer's blog, and the average person follows about six retailers. While shoppers' reasoning for following a retailer varies, the majority of respondents (58 percent) said they follow companies to find deals, while nearly half (49 percent) say they want to keep up to date on products. (Source: Shop.org/comScore/Social Shopping Labs; 2011 Social Commerce Study)
  • ComScore ranks Facebook.com as #4 in the list of its Top 50 U.S Properties in September 2011 (source; comScore Media Metrix; Top 50 U.S. Web Properties for September 2011)
  • Sixty-five percent of adult Internet users now say they use a social networking site like MySpace, Facebook or LinkedIn.  Among Internet users, social networking sites are most popular with women and young adults, but most of the growth over the past year came from adults over age 30. Looking at overall usage, wired seniors grew their ranks the most over the past year; 33 percent of people aged 65 and older now use the sites. (Source: Pew Research Center; Internet & American Life Project)
  • How many Facebook users are there?  The Facebook User Growth Chart shows the number of Facebook users from 2004 to 2011 based on a variety of data including Facebook. (Source: Ben Foster; Facebook User Growth Chart)
  • Ninety-one percent of online adults today (or 129 million individuals) access social media in a typical month. The greatest growth sector is among older Americans. Today 82 percent of people ages 55 to 64 use social media in a typical month. (Source: Experian; The 2011 Social Media Consumer Trend and Benchmark Report)
  • Contradicting commonly held beliefs about gender and social behaviors, the 2011 Social Shopping Study showed men more frequently research product information, read reviews, compare products, find product availability and get store information via social networks, shopping and deal sites; women reign supreme when searching for deals, coupons and specials on similar sites. (Source; Performics; The 2011 Social Shopping Study)
  • Facebook users are more trusting, have more close friends, are more politically engaged, and get more support from their friends. A Facebook user who uses the site multiple times per day is 43 percent more likely than other Internet users and more than three times as likely as non-Internet users to feel that most people can be trusted. (Source: Pew Research Center; Internet & American Life Project)
  • In previous Future of the Internet surveys, email has most often been mentioned as a key social tool online. In this survey, social networks were mentioned far more often than email. Other social applications noted by respondents included instant messaging, blogging, text messages and voice over IP. (Source; Pew Research Center; Future of the Internet Survey)
  • Experian Hitwise reports that during the month of August 2011, Facebook users spent 20 minutes and 46 seconds each time they visited Facebook.com, compared with Twitter users who spent 12 minutes and 41 seconds during a typical visit to Twitter.com. Google+ users spend considerably less time on that site with the average visit to plus.google.com clocking in at 5 minutes and 45 seconds. (Source: Experian; The 2011 Social Media Consumer Trend and Benchmark Report)

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