Social media, news and market research

DECEMBER 7, 2011 – While Facebook offers a great way for companies to conduct market research on consumers, it seems that certain demographics rely on the website to do research of their own.

A study from Lightspeed Research found that 15 percent of all responding consumers – and 30 percent of those aged 18 to 34 – use the website to get their news. Although television, newspapers and radio remained the primary sources of information, Facebook and Twitter also made the list.

“Whilst traditional media like TV, radio and newspapers continue to dominate the way we consume news, the increasing number of ways in which we can access world updates has changed where we go for news at different times of the day,” said Ralph Risk, Lightspeed Research Europe’s marketing director.

Indeed, consumers’ news-seeking habits have also changed as more people carry mobile devices capable of connecting to the internet. More people will also follow up on a story they hear on the radio or TV by going online to get more information.

With content marketing becoming a more popular option for companies seeking to add to the conversation about a brand or product, the revelation that consumers see social media websites as sources for news could be beneficial.

According to a study from the Content Marketing Institute, the majority of business-to-business marketers are planning to increase their 2012 budgets for this strategy. Creating articles remains the dominate category in content marketing (79 percent), followed by social media (74 percent), blogs (65 percent) and enewsletters (63 percent).

The average professional in the industry will dedicate more than one-quarter of his or her budget to content marketing, the researchers found. They are also combining content written in-house with that which is outsourced – 62 percent said they use a mix of the two, up from last year’s 55 percent – and adopting social media channels at an increased rate of up to 20 percent.

“One of the most interesting findings was what we term the ‘confidence gap,’ in which marketers use tactics but are unsure of how effective they are,” said Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute. “While uncertainty still exists, marketers are becoming increasingly more confident in the content marketing tactics they are using.”

He added that the rise was particularly “notable” when it came to implementation of blogs, videos, webinars and case studies.