Life on Demand Study Reveals New Social Norms: 40 percent of Americans Feel More Comfortable Engaging with People Online than in Person

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Life on Demand Study Reveals New Social Norms: 40 percent of Americans Feel More Comfortable Engaging with People Online than in Person

49 Percent Would Rather Text than Call, 30 Percent Would Rather Connect with Close Friends via Social Sites than Traditional Methods

Performics today released the results from their 2012 Life on Demand Study, which asked nearly 2,000 Americans who visit a social network at least once a day about their use of social media across devices, channels and screens.

The study shows life is more online and on demand than ever as consumers – more aptly called participants – are constantly connected and take major advantage of devices that enable interconnectivity. For example, in an average week, women spend 9.4 hours per week on their mobile phone, outside of texts or phone calls, compared to 5.8 hours for men. Forty-two percent of people own a tablet and, of tablet owners, 19 percent have more than one. Cross channel behavior is also on the rise; 55 percent say they watch TV, movies or video on their computer at least once a week, while 29 percent watch on game consoles and 28 percent watch on mobile devices.

"These new Participants are comfortable increasingly replacing real-time communications with social media interactions," said Daina Middleton, Global CEO of Performics. "In this new social normal – one where people prefer online communication and maintain high expectations about two-way relationships – brands must utilize social channels to build exceptional, interactive digital experiences."

In fact, 41 percent of respondents indicate that they expect their friends and family to respond to online Facebook posts within one hour. If they don't receive a response within an expected timeframe, for those who indicate they care:

  • 49 percent are annoyed
  • 39 percent are sad
  • 29 percent are hurt
  • 12 percent are angry

Additional shifts in social etiquette or typical communication behaviors include:

  • 50 percent spend less time emailing because they are on social networks
  • 49 percent of would rather text than call a person
  • 48 percent use the phone less because they communicate via social networks 
  • 40 percent feel more comfortable interacting with people online rather than in person
  • 30 percent would rather connect with close friends via social sites than traditional methods

Brand Engagement, Expectations Clearer on Social Networks

Brand engagement through social channels is also on the rise and with it comes an increased expectation of equal status between people and brands. One third of respondents are most likely to respond to brand offers when they have been reposted by a friend, while 27 percent will do so on the brand's page, 26 percent will do so from the newsfeed and 20 percent will do so from a social ad. Marketers should also take note: people are most likely to engage with branded content that contain pictures (44%), status updates (40%) and videos (37%).

"Marketers must understand what motivates people and embrace marketing techniques that inspire participation with their brand," notes Middleton. "Everyone from moms and dads to baby boomers and Millennials are actively engaged in the Participation Age. The greatest opportunity is to interact with people across the social sphere through their networks and on their own time, in their own space and on their own terms."

The study found that moms are more likely to have a Facebook account than dads, though dads are significantly more likely than all other men and women, including moms, to have YouTube and Twitter accounts. Tablet use has reached a critical mass and parents with kids in the household are nearly twice as likely to own a tablet as those without kids in the home. Men, younger respondents, and parents with kids in the household are also more likely to watch video on devices other than TV, including tablets.

For study findings, see below:

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