US Internet Population Diversifies

APRIL 9, 2010

Demographic shifts online

Change is happening within the US Internet population on many levels. The average age of Internet users is rising in tandem with that of the general population, for example, and racial and ethnic characteristics are more closely mirroring those in the offline population.  eMarketer predicts that in 2010, 221 million people in the US will be online, about 71% of the total population.

Marketers already know they are navigating a dynamic digital landscape in 2010,” said Lisa E. Phillips, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report, “US Internet Users, 2010.” “In five years, the results of some demographic shifts now taking place will become more evident. Internet users will be older, and many will have lower levels of education and annual income.

“One thing is certain,” she said. “They will be more diverse racially and ethnically and expect marketing messages to appeal to them.”

 Growth is still occurring among all races and ethnicities of Internet users. eMarketer estimates the Internet population will increase 13.4% between 2010 and 2014, compared with 3.9% for the general population. Despite their already high Internet use, non-Hispanic whites and Asians will see further penetration by 2014, to 81.2% and 81%, respectively. Blacks and Hispanics, while still underrepresented online, will see steady growth in penetration rates, to 72.3% of the black population and 70% of Hispanics.

What’s the Value of a ‘Fan’ on Social Media?

April 13, 2010 – Brian Morrissey,

Brands have rushed to Facebook to build fan bases, with some amassing millions of connections. The nagging question has been: What is the monetary value of these fans?  
 
Social media specialist Vitrue, which aids brands in building their customer bases on social networks, tried to put a media value on such communities.

The firm has determined that, on average, a fan base of 1 million translates into at least $3.6 million in equivalent media over a year.
 
The company’s findings are based on impressions generated in the Facebook news feed, the stream of recent updates from users’ networks.

Vitrue analyzed Facebook data from its clients — with a combined 41 million fans — and found that most fans yielded an extra impression. That means a marketer posting twice a day can expect about 60 million impressions per month through the news feed.

“It’s important to understand that once you build that fan base, you want to make sure you’re leveraging it,” said Michael Strutton, chief product officer at Vitrue.
 
Not all brands are created equal. Vitrue found wildly divergent impression-to-fan ratios. Some marketers generated just .44 impressions per fan, while another saw 3.6 impressions. Strutton chalked that up to sexier brands having more engaged connections, giving them access to the news feed more often. The impressions are not unique.
 
Vitrue arrived at its $3.6 million figure by working off a $5 CPM, meaning a brand’s 1 million fans generate about $300,000 in media value each month. Using Vitrue’s calculation, Starbucks’ 6.5 million fan base — acquired in part with several big ad buys — is worth $23.4 million in media annually.
 
“It helps [marketers] justify the spend they’re making, especially in acquiring a fan base and engaging that fan base,” Strutton said.
 
Of course, the figures don’t include perhaps the most powerful incentive for brands building fan bases: social customer-relationship management. Marketers often use their Facebook hubs to inform fans of new products, services and promotions.
 
“When you start to [add] engagement value, it goes higher,” said Strutton. “We were trying to get an easy-to-understand valuation terminology.”