A Network For Every Interest: Managing Social Profiles Across Multiple Platforms



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This post highlights key research findings from our partner 140 Proof, exploring how people actively manage their social profiles across multiple platforms.

To better understand why people choose to maintain profiles on multiple networks and the implications of this behavior for marketers, 140 Proof executed a combination of quantitative and qualitative research. With their research partners, they fielded surveys, collected personal diaries, and conducted one-on-one interviews. Where possible, findings were cross-checked against relevant data from Pew Research Center and comScore.

According to comScore, 52 percent of the US adult online population uses more than one social network – which means that approximately 107 million people consider themselves to be multi-platform users. It is important for marketers to understand how consumers organize and manage their various social platforms, as well as the implications derived from these behaviors, in order to best communicate with them.

In this study, 140 Proof wanted to answer the following questions:

  1. Who do users connect with across many social networks?
  2. How does behavior vary on each social network?
  3. Do users behave differently on each social network? Do they engage with and share different types of content?
  4. Do users actively perform ‘maintenance’ on their socialpresence?
  5. How do users access social networks on mobile devices?

Use of Multiple Platforms Only Starts at Two

Of the 107 million US adults who use two or more social platforms, more than half use four or more. With the emergence of new platforms like Snapchat and Pinterest over the last two years, it is reasonable to expect that new social networks with specific use cases will continue to be introduced, leading to increased use of multiple platforms.

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Using Multiple Platforms Requires “Social Hygiene”

People do not use social networks for the same purposes. The nature of different platforms makes each suited for connecting with different types of people, engaging with different types of content, and pursuing different interests.

People using multiple platforms engage in social hygiene, which means that they are conscious of their activities on each and make intentional decisions to expose different aspects of their identity on different social networks.

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People Convey Different Interests on Different Platforms

People are complex and have a number of interests. Multi-platform users find different platforms best suited to certain topic areas. For marketers seeking a complete picture of a person’s interests, a view of only one platform proves insufficient.

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Social Connections Are Fully Visible Across Platforms

People form different relationships across different social platforms. The strength of bonds between people, the nature of relationships, and the degree to which the relationship includes two-way communication are factors in choosing the appropriate network on which to connect.

The full picture of an individual’s connections and influence can only be viewed by seeing their relationships across platforms. Marketers should keep in mind that one network alone will not reveal all facets of a person’s connections.

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“Likes” and “Follows” Aren’t Forever

Social hygiene includes removing connections that are no longer relevant. Respondents indicated that they actively manage their connections with brands, severing connections they no longer find useful. Reasons for ending these brand connections include loss of relevance to their lifestyle, the desire to switch to a new brand, or a contest coming to an end.

This finding dispels the myth that people continuously add to their friends and follows over time and that their profiles grow stale. In fact, the opposite is true – multi-platform users take the time to keep their social presence current, thus revealing an accurate portrayal of their interests and connections. For marketers, this is significant because it allows for a level of confidence when marketing to a person’s stated preferences and likes.

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Preference for Ads Targeted to Interests

Brand advertisers typically find audiences online and in mobile either by demographics or by lookalike models based on previous browsing behavior. However, respondents express a clear preference for seeing ads based on their individual interests, information that is best accessed through social data.

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Everything is Social

An increasing number of mobile apps encourage or require people to sign in using a social account. For some, there are obvious benefits to doing so – for example, games you want to play with your friends. With others, social accounts are simply useful as master passwords. The majority of people are comfortable using social accounts to authenticate, and those who do overwhelmingly feel positive about the value of connecting in this way. This allows social data to be used even in apps that are not primary social networks.

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To learn all the research insights from 140 Proof, and the implications for marketers, check out the full report here. 

About 140 Proof
140 Proof invented the Blended Interest Graph to understand what people are interested in. By interpreting and mapping activity from across an individual’s social platforms, 140 Proof can match consumers with messages that are relevant to them.

Brand advertisers and major media companies trust 140 Proof and its partner network to deliver powerful targeted advertising in mobile at scale. And because ads powered by the Blended Interest Graph perform better than display and search, top apps and publishers entrust 140 Proof to generate their revenue streams.

140 Proof and its patent-pending interest graph targeting algorithm is backed by Founders Fund, Ron Conway, and Blue Run Ventures.

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