Social Infidelity: Life on Demand Study Finds 20 Percent Use Social Media to Keep Tabs on Partner

December 11, 2012 05:56 PM

Breaking up via text message more acceptable than email

CHICAGO – Surprising shifts in how technology impacts relationships were measured in a new study from performance marketing agency, Performics (part of Publicis Groupe), which today released the newest iteration of its ongoing Life on Demand Study. They surveyed nearly 2,000 Americans about how social media are impacting aspects of their behavior.

A Socially Awkward Dating World

Social media presence is practically ubiquitous as nearly 93 percent of all respondents have a Facebook account. With so much information about individuals, their friends and their activities available on social profiles and easily accessible at all times via a mobile device, these trends are impacting other areas of participants’ lives, such as their relationships.

For example:

    Twenty percent of respondents use social networks to keep tabs on partner, with young males being the most “suspicious” of their partners

    Thirty percent of individuals report that they hide people on Facebook to avoid problems with their spouse or partner

    Thirty two percent un-friend others for the same reason

For those entering or exiting a relationship:

    Nearly half of respondents ages 18-29 use social networks to find out anything they can about a person before a first date or at the beginning of their relationship

    Breaking up with someone over text was found to be more acceptable than via email

    Over 20 percent of people think it is okay to ask someone out on a date via social media, with men more likely to say it’s okay

As people are increasingly connected and life happens “on demand,” they want faster response times to their text messages. The majority of individuals expect a response within 15 minutes, and if you haven’t responded in a day, nearly 30 percent say don’t bother.

Sixty Percent Own Smartphone, Aren’t Afraid to Use It - 72 Percent Take Post-Purchase Action on Social

In addition to social etiquette, another portion of the Life on Demand study delved into device dependence and social engagement levels with brands. Dependence on mobile devices is pervasive, with 20 percent saying they use their mobile phone within five minutes of waking up. Approximately two thirds of respondents say that they are extremely dependent on their mobile phone, compared to 57 percent saying the same about their desktop computer and 42 percent about their laptop. This is especially true for women and younger respondents, who rely heavily on the ability to text and browse the web.

The widespread adoption of mobile devices drives participants to engage with brands in a meaningful way – literally, at the touch of button. The study found that 72 percent of individuals take some action on social media after making a purchase. Of these individuals, nearly 50 percent share positive experiences and over one third make product recommendations.

“Participants are active on social via their mobile device, so brands have an opportunity to create a lasting impression through their purchase experience, whether it be in a physical location or by phone, tablet or another device,” said Daina Middleton, Global CEO, Performics and author of the recently released book, Marketing in the Participation Age. “In fact, our study found that over one third of people take more post-purchase action now than they did one year ago. Your potential participants are in control in this new environment, and they are demanding a relentless reciprocal relationship. If they don’t find benefit in the relationship, then they move on. The participation age requires new dynamic and nonlinear models of performance marketing.”

Marketers must also be smart about how their brand engages with individuals in this connected and amplified world. It impacts not just brand marketing but also performance marketing, as you may lose the ability to even start a conversion conversation. One third of participants indicated they stopped following a company or brand on a social network because of irrelevant or unexpected content, and too frequent posts. “Participants have increased expectations for a two-way value exchange; so brands must be careful to engage with customers on their terms and in relevant ways that keeps them coming back for more,” notes Middleton.

The study found that men are more likely than women to research products, fill out online warranties, and scan bar codes; while women are more likely to share photos and comment about purchases on social networks.

When asked, “What is the most significant way in which mobile technology has changed your life?” participants touched upon common themes, including:

    Instant accessibility to information such as directions

    Product prices and reviews

    Ability to communicate with anyone around the world

    Staying connected to family and friends

    Access to entertainment, including games, movies, music and reading material

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