In a world full of answers you start your journey by asking the right questions
To begin with there appears to be little doubt that the second wave of the web is changing the way we think about online advertising. Even Google is not immune from the way Social Media is repositioning both the media and the context of mass media advertising.
“Google’s monetary metrics of success still trend in the right direction, but its “search, seek, and consume” model — the core of its business — is clearly threatened by the rise in popularity of online social activities that replace search.” – When social replaces search what can you do to monetize?
That’s because Social Media is fundamentally changing the way a generation of consumers under 30′s are interacting with the Internet.
This graphic displays the long wave of social media as it rolled through 2007. What it shows us is the percentage of people online involved in Social Media activities like Twitter, Facebook and Blogging across the various age groups from Teenagers to Retirement. More granular detail is available in this article from BusinessWeek: What people are doing with the web and this presentation on Social Media and Young Adults from the Pew Research Centre. [Updated 6-4-2010] You will find the most up to date profile of FaceBook’s Demographics posted on Inside Facebook.
As you can see there is a distinctive wave that is moving through the age groups. Back in 2007 the momentum was clearly with the age group under 26 years of age. The question is will this wave of hyper-social activity ripple through as this group ages or will it gather momentum and wash over the whole online population within the next 5 to 7 years in much the same way the original web has done over the past 15 years?
Today I suspect that most web commentators are right when they suggest there are now two media systems in play. There is the passive “old” media of the TV and the Google Web that meets the needs of the over 30’s and there is the new social media that meets the needs of the under 30’s.
If you are in advertising or marketing the choice is simple. If your market is under 30 social media is your platform of choice. If your market is over 30 “old media” your platform of choice.
In the next few years this simple formula will become increasing problematic for a couple of reasons. Firstly if Social Media does turn into a Tsunami then it will probably become the most dominant media platform across all age groups within the next 5 to 7 years.
Secondly in Asia today the social media platform of choice is the mobile phone. So if the USA and European continues to follow the Asian trend then the future is mobile and we will be more interested in what people are doing with their mobile phones than on their personal computers.
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