Bookmark and Share

Social networking - Part 2: User segment profiles
Users' key differences and similarities highlighted
One of the major attributes of ZINC Research's syndicated online survey, The Bridge, is that it takes social media research a big step further by organizing data in relation to a distinct set of five user profiles, ranging from the heaviest users to the lightest, from hard core business pros to casual dabblers. It’s this unique segmentation of the Canadian online population that most clearly sets apart The Bridge from other social media research studies.

“This survey enables business leaders to focus their studies very tightly,” says Zinc Research president Brian F. Singh. “They can look at the data for each user profile according to specific types of activities, interests and attitudinal responses. This is important because many organizations won’t necessarily always want to reach just one segment, or always look only at the same demographic. They can shift their attention to whichever type of online user can give them the most relevant feedback on a particular issue.”

Who would you like to connect with?
Here's a snapshot profile of The Bridge's user segments:

Heavy users
Representing 9% of the online population, users in this segment skew slightly towards men (56%). They spend an average 22.9 hours online every week, primarily to share ideas (81%), promote and develop business (67%), and participate in various online communities (73%), including Facebook (98%), Twitter (98%) and LinkedIn (37%).

Business users
In this highly focused segment (7% of the online population), users average 9.9 hours weekly online, not surprisingly to drum up new business (50%) and share ideas via blogging (45%). Significantly, 58% found business or made business connections using an online directory, and 28% have written articles or opinion pieces that were published online. All 100% belong to LinkedIn, 93% are on Facebook, and 32% use Twitter.

In this segment (16%) users spend a weekly average of 22 hours online ((up sharply from 12.5 hours in 2009), primarily on Facebook (99%) and Windows Live Messenger/MSN (95%). Highest ranking activities include playing online games (54%) and participating in various communities (45%), yet 29% also promote and develop business ties, and 50% are active bloggers.

Friend & family circles
Users in this large segment (27%) skew towards females (59%). They spend a weekly average of 9.4 hours online primarily on Facebook (98%), where they interact within a relatively closely-knit circle, but they are also active in several other areas, including online games (57%), sharing ideas and blogging (49%) and promoting or developing business (30%). They also go online to find entertainment (50%), and 41% found a personal or business connection using an online directory.

Casual users
These least active participants comprise the largest segment (32%), therefore their online habits are important to many researchers. Skewing towards females (55%), most in this group use Facebook (90%), where they spend an average 4.8 hours weekly. In general they rate all other networking sites between “somewhat” important to them and “not that” important. Those who do subscribe to Twitter, for example, use it an average 1.3 hours weekly.

Is The Bridge right for your organization? For information on this and other syndicated surveys conducted by ZINC Research, contact Brian Singh at: