The 2011 Social Habit report, just released by Edison Research and Arbitron, provides a valuable dive into the demographics and usage of social media. The report is derived from the 19th Edison/Arbitron Internet and Multimedia Research Series, one of the longest-running studies of consumer adoption of the internet.

  1. The internet is ubiquitous. Nearly 9 in 10 Americans have internet access. Ten years ago, making the case that potential customers don’t have or use the internet was a valid argument against online marketing. This is no longer the case. The internet has become a standard of communication as demonstrated by the data below.
  2. Social Media is the majority. More than half of Americans ages 12+ have a profile on one or more social networking sites. Social media usage isn’t occasional, it’s a habit. With more than half of Americans using social networks more than once per day, this is a clear indicator of the changing information consumption habits of B2C and B2B consumers.
  3. Social networking use is growing most in the 35-44 age demographic. Another long-believed myth is that social networking is only for young people. A look at some social media demographic data from Edison, however, shows the growth of other demographics
  4. Facebook now reaches the majority of Americans ages 12+. Facebook is driving the majority of social media adoption and usage in the United States. Adoption has become so broad that the population of Facebook users is now a representative sample of United States residents.
  5. 91 percent of social network users own mobile phones. One of the most interesting conclusions that can be drawn from this report is that mobile phones are driving social networking usage.
  6. The smartphone is the “first screen.” 64 percent of frequent social networkers would keep their smartphone over their TV. Television has long been seen as the “first screen” for consumers, though this new data suggests that mobile is battling to become the central screen for Americans.