A quarter of users are using social media sites less than when they first signed up
Users of social media sites in certain segments are showing signs of fatigue, says research firm Gartner.
A new survey by Gartner has found that 24% of the respondents use their favorite social media site less than when they first signed up.
However, 37% of respondents, particularly those in younger age groups and more tech-savvy segments, said they were using their favorite site more.
There are signs of maturity in the social media market, as some users in certain segments are showing "social media fatigue", said Gartner.
Gartner research director Brian Blau said, "The trend shows some social media fatigue among early adopters, and the fact that 31 percent of Aspirers [younger, more mobile, brand-conscious consumers] indicated that they were getting bored with their social network is a situation that social media providers should monitor, as they will need to innovate and diversify to keep consumer attention."
"Branded content needs to be kept fresh and must be able to capture people’s attention instantly. The new generation of consumers is restless and short on attention span, and a lot of creativity is needed to make a meaningful impact," Blau added.
Gartner surveyed 6,295 respondents, between the ages of 13 and 74, in 11 developed and developing markets in December 2010 and January 2011.
The survey reveals continued localisation of usage, indicating that country-specific social characteristics dictate preferences. However, large global brands such as Facebook are making headway in countries where they have not historically been strong, said Gartner.
Countries with the most respondents saying they used the site less included Brazil and Russia — both with between 30 and 40% of respondents exhibiting less enthusiasm.
Gartner principal research analyst Charlotte Patrick said that though the survey underlined respondents’ continued enthusiasm for social media, there is trend that shows that nterest in social media is declining.
Patrick said, "Teenagers and those in their twenties were significantly more likely to say that they had increased their usage, while at the other end of the ‘enthusiasm spectrum’, the age-related differences were much less marked, with fairly consistent percentages saying that they were using social media less."
Among the early adopters, online privacy seems to be the main reason for the loss of interest in social media.
A third of the respondents said that they were concerned about online privacy. However, teenagers cited privacy concerns significantly less often than older respondents (22% of teenagers agreed or strongly agreed that privacy concerns were decreasing their enthusiasm, against an average of 33%).
"The level of consumer concern around privacy will require ongoing vigilance for brands concerning customer opt-in and education. Lessons should be learned from the likes of Facebook as they test the boundaries of consumer tolerance in search of more revenue," Patrick said.