I'm pleased to collaborate with Edison Research
on the new Social Habit Project
. I'm a numbers geek, so I'm overjoyed to finally get some social media data we can trust.
Here are eight fantastic facts from the Social Habit's latest study.
1. Seven percent of Americans have never heard of Facebook.
How can seven out of 100 people have no clue about Facebook? The social network has dominated all media—not just social media—for a couple of years now. It's on TV, in magazines, and in the news. It even has its own movie.
This is one mind-blowing fact. Who are these people? Even my mom knows about the "Facebox."
2. Eighty percent of Americans between the ages of 18-24 use Facebook.
Can you name any other product in the world that 80 percent of young people in the United States use? I asked this question in a class once and somebody shouted "toilet paper." Very funny, but that's not a brand.
Facebook is, and its penetration is beyond belief. That fact alone might be why some people would want to invest in it.
3. Over three years, Facebook acquired one new user in the U.S. every second.
Check out the growth rate between 2009 and 2012. Over three years, Facebook acquired about 3,805 new users per hour. That equates to almost one new user per second—and that's just in the U.S. I wish I had the server installation and maintenance contract for this outfit.
4. Seventy-four million Americans are passive about privacy.
If we believe these numbers—and we do—74 million Americans are at least somewhat concerned about privacy issues on Facebook. That is one significant gaggle of people.
Why is there no outcry? Why isn't anybody doing anything? How come there is no Occupy Facebook movement? Seems a little passive to me.
5. One in three people is a social media stalker.
How many social media users are active on Facebook but never post? If you guessed about one-third, it's only because you looked at the graph first. I would have guessed about 5 percent. Shows how much I know. I guess I haven't earned my guru merit badge yet.
6. Foursquare still sucks.
Maybe I took some liberty with that conclusion, but the data show there has been a dramatic drop-off in both the use of location-based services and the amount of check-ins.
Why? Foursquare doesn't deliver enough value to its users. We want free pastries and we want them now. Here's the bright side. It has never been easier to become the fake mayor of your favorite donut shop.
7. Companies are rapidly figuring out social media.
This chart is a real eye-popper. I don't think human nature has changed since 2010 to be more open to following brands and companies. People don't wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat and with the sudden realization that they simply must follow more brands on Facebook.
Here's how I interpret this chart: Brands are delivering more value so people want to follow them. This is a pretty amazing validation that the money companies spend on social media has at least some impact on customer connections.
8. Content marketing is for real.
Here's more good news for marketers. A significant number of people come to our social media sites because they like the content, not just because they can get a coupon.
I would like to see more research about loyalty to coupons versus content, attitudes, conversions, etc., but this is pretty encouraging. Maybe there is an alternative to buying off fans and followers with daily discounts?
If you think this information is interesting, wait until you see the whole report. It's very well done, and has a lot of pictures of Beyonce and Justin Bieber. Well, no it doesn't. But I'll suggest it for the next report, along with free pastries.
Many thanks to my partners Jay Baer, Jason Falls and Tom Webster of Edison Research for collaborating on this project.
What question should we include next time? Share in the comments.
Mark Schaefer is the author of "Return On Influence" and blogs at grow
, where a version of this article originally appeared.