Organic Social Media: Why Marketers Must Join the Conversations
Social Media Adoption Exceeds the Population of Nearly Every Continent
Even accounting for the fact that Google has rolled Gmail and YouTube users into their Google+ user count, the total number of social network users is greater than the population of every individual continent but one. Facebook has become so globally pervasive that analysts talk about it approaching a saturation point for the worldwide addressable market of users with social capable phones.
You might be thinking "that's the market size, that doesn't tell us how users do or do not use social networks." Research from Forrester tells us that social networks have become a critical discovery platform and is now the second most popular channel for website discovery, behind only organic search.
Conductor's research supports this finding and sheds more light on how users are using social networks. Aside from "socializing", content discovery is the second most popular use of social networks.
The above tells us that social has become a critical website/content discovery method for users. But, the extent to which it has impacted consumer consumption habits was illustrated in a recently leaked New York Times internal report (hence the poor image quality below). The report showed the dramatic decline in visitors to their home page (nytimes.com, not the site overall) over time.
The reason for the decline is due, in large part, to how social has changed our content consumption behaviors. Pre-social's influence, we navigated directly to our favorite content site's home page and clicked into content from there.