Tag Archives: Messaging

Early Independent Research on Google+ Users

Google+ Adoption – preliminary results from MetaFacts

Early Independent Research on Google+ Users

By Dan Ness, Principal Analyst, MetaFacts

The earliest adopters of Google+ are a unique slice of highly-active socially-networked users.

Early results are showing a good-news/bad-news combination for Google+:

  • Bad news: Early Google+ users are above average among social networkers who have recently unfriended someone, removed content, and adjusted their privacy settings. They are well below average in friending someone, not a very bullish sign.
  • Good news: Early Google+ users are also above average among social networkers in clicking ads, RSVP’ing events, playing games, sharing photos, and watching videos

Unlike the launch of Google Buzz, which brought privacy concerns to the fore, Google+, even privacy-adjusters to be trying out Google+, at least so far.

Evidently, Google+ controlled its “field trial” launch, inviting and allowing in a carefully selected audience. Over half are highly experienced tech users, with 16 or more years under their belt since they used their first PC, and 12 or more years using a mobile phone (smartphone or basic feature phone).

In the coming year, it’s unlikely to see an either/or scenario between Google+, Facebook, and Twitter. Instead, the most-active social networkers will simply expand their experience, influence, and content across an ever-wider network. The privacy-conscious and ad-averse are likely to remain in the shadows or with minimal involvement. Up for grabs is the largest middle segment, and this group is most likely to wait and watch for a simple and safe experience which piques their interest. This will come in the form of competitive apps on Facebook, extensions to Twitter, or further innovation from Google.

Background and Methodology

Google+ came live shortly before the fielding of the 29th year of the MetaFacts Technology Survey, so we expanded the comprehensive user survey to include Google+ along with other social networks.

The Technology User Profile survey is independently conducted by MetaFacts. The syndicated research original service provides solid sizing and segmentation information about technology use, uniquely allowing for deep dives into use of competitive and substitute products as well as interactive segmentation and profiling.

Based on surveys with thousands of representative respondents reached by telephone and online, the MetaFacts Technology User Profile Service survey the entire range of information technology users. The full market is surveyed, from those with the richest collection of products such as Smartphones to Tablets and Netbooks, to those who don’t even use a mobile phone or PC.

Soon we will be releasing key takeways about the earliest adopters for the new service. Watch this site – technologyuser.com – for brief, complimentary updates. For full details, a special Google+ Flash Report will also be available at a special rate. Send a request to be notified of availability. Subscribers to the 2011 Technology User Profile services will receive updates directly.

1 Comment

Filed under Consumer research, Households, Market Research, Market Segmentation, Statistics, Technology, TUPdate

Fad, Niche, or Next Big Thing?

The technology industry has a perennial sport called “The Next Big Thing.” It involves spotting, creating, and being part of the newest technological advance that will change people’s lives. Even though advances seem to arrive overnight, in truth most true innovations take years to reach broad market acceptance.

Why is this important?

Timing is everything. The critical turning point for most technology products or services are when they reach that first 5% to 10% of the potential market. Depending on how they fare among these early adopters, they may either be doomed as fads, may limply hang on, or might break away into widespread use.

Even languishing niche products and services may hold promise for the future, and therefore can garner renewed investment and media attention. One recent example is the ability to make phone calls over the Internet through VoIP/Voice over Internet Protocol. Even though less than 5% of U.S. Home PCs have this as a regular activity, eBay recently committed billions to this market.  [See our TUPdate of December 1, 2005 – “VoIP: Still Calling, But Not an Answer Yet”]

Several other activities are in that same small-market zone and are worthy of note.

Most of the activities that have captured the regular attention of between 5% and 10% of home PCs involve active use. Their nature is markedly different from passive couch-potato-style TV viewing. Although dynamic activities can deliver the stickiness of frequent use so desired by marketers, the demands of regular interaction may discourage use by the broader mass of otherwise passive consumers. Writing a blog takes more ongoing and concerted effort than tuning into a primetime TV program. Indeed, there are nearly twice as many blog contributors than blog initiators.

Sites that help people meet other people are also used by this small group. The many dating services sites from Match.com to eHarmony.com have captured nearly one in fifteen home PCs. Although social networking was expected to skyrocket in the late 90’s, this activity has managed to reach a rather small, focused contingent of social and tech-savvy users.

Home PC Activities Among Small Market Segments

Activities for Which Home PC is Regularly Used (between 5% and 10% of total)

% of U.S. Home PCs

Post a comment on someone else’s blog/online journal

9.2%

Use an online dating service (e.g. Match.com)

7.4%

Create web pages (web publishing)

6.6%

Use a community/social networking group (e.g. Friendster, LinkedIn, Ryze)

5.7%

Write your own blog/online journal (e.g. MySpace, blogspot)

5.3%

Make voice telephone calls/voice chats over the Internet (VoIP)

4.5%

Source: MetaFacts Technology User Profile 2005 Annual Edition

Part of the sport of identifying technology trends involves carefully understanding core behavior. Even though technology itself may be disruptive and evolve quickly, consumer habits do not change quite so quickly. Consumers will gladly shift from one technology to another, causing seemingly fickle behavior to companies invested too deeply in a narrow technology and without their eyes on their customer’s broader activities and choices.

Leave a comment

Filed under Consumer research, Market Research, Trends, TUP 2005, TUPdate