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Wake-up call in social media slowdown

Wake-up call in social media slowdown

As businesses around the world grapple with how to make money out of social media, consumer segments are already beginning to tire of it

Just as enterprise starts to embrace social media as a potentially value-adding business tool, everyday users are beginning to show signs of what has been dubbed ‘social media fatigue’.

According to a study by Gartner, Trends in Consumers’ Use of Social Media, of 6295 respondents between the ages of 13 and 74 in 11 developed and developing markets, 24 per cent said they now use their favourite social media sites less than when they first signed up.

“The trend shows some social media fatigue among early adopters, and the fact that 31 per cent of younger, more mobile, brand-conscious consumers [dubbed by Gartner as 'aspirers'] indicated 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 consumers’ attention,” said Gartner research director, Brian Blau.

He added branded content needs to be kept fresh and must be able to capture people’s attention instantly.

“Consumers are increasingly restless and short on attention span,” he said. “As such, a lot of creativity is needed to make a meaningful impact.”

Of the 24 per cent of respondents who said they were using their main social site “a little less” or “a lot less” than when they first started, 33 per cent blamed concerns about online privacy. Attitudes to privacy were also age-related, with 22 per cent of teenagers agreeing or strongly agreeing that privacy concerns were decreasing their enthusiasm, against an average of 33 per cent.

“The level of consumer concern around privacy will require ongoing vigilance for brands concerning consumer opt-in and education,” warned Gartner principal research analyst, Charlotte Patrick. “Lessons should be learned from the likes of Facebook as they test the boundaries of consumer tolerance in search of more revenue.”

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