The Social Habit survey is in the field for the first edition of our new, unified effort to improve the quality of social media consumer research available for you. In this first quarterly edition, we’re asking some custom questions, which you can ask in future editions, but we’ve built a far more in-depth range of questions about the habits of Americans 12 and up and their use of new and social media.
A series of questions we’re asking revolves around what social channels people use at various times of day during a typical weekday. Looking at the major social channels — in this iteration Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Path, message boards, blogs and YouTube are identified as such — we’re asking if people typically check or participate in these networks right after they wake up in the mornings, while working, in the evenings and right before they go to sleep.
On the surface, it might seem that we’re simply trying to ascertain what time of day people typically participate in social media. But it’s far more leading than that. Dayparting, a broadcast media term, actually does far more than tell you when people do things. It also can tell you what they prioritize and depend on rather than just use. For instance, if you spend an hour on Facebook each day, but in the evenings when you have time to kill, it could be considered a “when I get to it” behavior. But if you check Facebook first thing each morning before you even shower and dress, there’s an implication of higher engagement, priority and even need.
While we know that we don’t know the answers yet, what if we discover:
- Facebook users participate right before they go to bed and right after they wake up, but not during work hours
- Pinterest users are far more engaged in the evening than other times of day
- Twitter users typically Tweet while at work, but not in the evenings
- Any other combination of these possibilities
The types of possible answers may be more revealing about just how addicted or dependent upon certain social activities we are. We are looking at the Habits of social users. Perhaps answering “Yes” to using a certain network in all four time frames indicates a far higher level of engagement for one network’s users or anthers than we ever anticipated.
Certainly, we can guess at the answers. But if we were to go to bat with our guesses we may as well swing blindly and without consideration of the type of pitch coming. Understanding not the time of day, though that may be relevant, but the stickiness — or lack thereof — of each individual network, gives marketers some revealing information with which to make decisions.
Fortunately, we’ll also be asking a lot of other questions that when cross-tabbing with this type of information will be even more discovery-ripe. So make sure you are subscribed to the research so your brand can get smarter about its understanding and use of social media.
What other insights do you think can be extracted from understanding when a person might engage with certain social networks? We’d love your thoughts in the comments.