Social networking expanding across demographics

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by: Dick Stroud

A rise in the number of niche services (often age related) means that social media is no longer the preserve of the young. My recent blog postings about the numerous 50-plus social networking sites is testament to this fact.

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Established networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook have experienced a surge in older user levels as their offerings gain prominence in mainstream media circles. Over 40% of users, aged 18+ who visited MySpace over a four-week, period were 35+ (according to Hitwise).

Another aspect of social networking is the use of video on the Web. Over 60% of viral ads initiated by advertisers are videos, according to a new study by Competitrack. This does not include user-generated spoofs, spin-offs etc.

The number of viral videos climbs even higher when TV ads uploaded by fans are included. Media Post has more details about the study.

According to the research, videos that are produced specifically as online virals tend to be longer, much more narrowly targeted and more outrageous than those shown on TV. The study's archive of 3,000 advertiser-initiated online virals listed 8% as not safe for work (NSFW).

The definition of viral advertising varies. The study used a variant of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association's definition: entertaining or informative messages that are designed to be passed along in an exponential fashion, often electronically or by e-mail.

Besides video, the other types of viral ad types include microsites, games, social networks and multimedia viral campaigns.

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