social media researchFacebook is hot.  There’s no question that Facbeook has a large audience.  But what does this mean for marketers and business owners?

Here are three recent Facebook-related studies that answer these very questions by examining how much time Facebook users invest in the platform, if Facebook ads are effective and other Facebook trends among online merchants.

#1: One-Third of Online Time Spent on Facebook Among U.S. Users

According to recent findings by market researcher Morpace, U.S. Facebook users are on the site for 1 of every 3 minutes of time spent online.  Users 18 to 34 years old spend the most time on the site per week (8.5 hours out of 22.4 spent online). Users 55 and older spend an average of 4.6 hours per week on Facebook.

The study also explored Facebook activity by ethnicity.  According to the results, Asians were the heaviest users of Facebook.  As a group, they devoted the most of their Internet time per week to Facebook (39.6%).  African Americans were the second heaviest users at 35.1%.  Hispanics spent the least amount of time on Facebook (31.7%).

Here's the breakdown by race/ethnicity of time spent on the Internet versus time spent on Facebook.

One of the most interesting stats from this study showed that Facebook users making at least $100,000 annually spent the most time on Facebook and on the web as a whole. This is valuable information for companies selling products and services online.

#2: Facebook Ads Most Effective On User Profile Pages

Facebook users spend more time looking at ads on their own Facebook profiles than they do on news feed pages (their homepages), found a new report by Mulley Communications.  Specifically, the study found that 71% of users looked at advertisements on their profile pages, while only 31% of users looked at advertisements on the news feed page.

In addition, 53% of users pay attention to page updates in their news feed wall, which may explain why they mostly ignore ads on their pages.

Here’s a short video to show the heat map of the news feed from the study.  Notice how there’s little activity in the right-hand side of the wall.

#3: Online Merchants Loving Facebook ‘Likes’

There’s been a lot of discussion about retailers extending the power of Facebook to their sites.  Website conversion company SeeWhy found that 35% of ecommerce online marketers have implemented Facebook’s “Like” plugin, while 33% plan to do so in the near future.

The second most popular Facebook social plugin was the login application, as 18% reported they had implemented it and 15% said they plan to do so in the future. The login plugin allows consumers to skip the registration step and login directly from the merchant’s site.  This allows conversion to be simple and quick, which is a huge advantage for the merchant.

Facebook social plugins have been getting a lot of attention from online merchants because they can drive traffic back to their own sites without having to build an entire ecommerce site into their Facebook page.  Although 26% of respondents said they plan to build ecommerce applications on Facebook itself, 67% said they plan to use Facebook to actually drive traffic to their sites.

In addition, 44% said they plan to use Facebook applications in place of microsites for launches and specific promotions.

Here's an example of the "Like" social plugin on the website. Fans can "like" the page without being directly on our Facebook page.

We want to hear from you! What do you think about these Facebook studies?  Do the findings help shape your social media strategy?  Let us know your thoughts in the box below.

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  • Laura H

    Skipping the registration step is a huge step toward making the Like feature more practical. And the stats are helpful for those who are still doubters. Thanks the continuing good stuff.

  • Thanks Laura!

  • Great article thanks…just in time for an Advanced Facebook seminar we have coming up for small businesses in our part of rural Northeast Arkansas, Will be sure to share this with our Facebook fans and small businesses in our area.

  • Kathrynacciari

    Compelling information, to be sure. There is no question that having business presence on Facebook is important for visibility. What would be truly fascinating is to see information on the ads on Facebook that actually resulted in a sale. What are the socioeconomic demographics of people who buy via an ad on FB? What types of products and services get the most clicks/views? What products and services sell the most on Facebook? That is where the money talks. Thanks!

  • NPO-guy

    Thanks for this post. Having those three data points consolidated is helpful in putting together strategy documentation!

  • Really good stuff

  • “Users 55 and older spend an average of 4.6 hours per week on Facebook.”

    Amazing how fast opportunities change. Companies targeting boomers would likely overlook Facebook as a marketing tool 12-18 months ago, and now it is perhaps the most effective way to selectively target. This highlights why paying attention to the space and adapting to your target’s behavior is so vital to success today. The fact that people age 55+ are now spending nearly 5 hours per week on FB is astonishing to me.

    Great post & insight.


  • socialstacy

    Really great article! The stats for ethnicity and Facebook are quite astonishing, thanks for sharing!

  • Wow! Fantastic stats. I rarely feel compelled to comment on statistical findings, but these are quite insightful. Thanks!

  • I loved the heat map, thanks. I am interested that people look at ad’s on their own profile pages more than newsfeed, I know that personally I very very rarely look at my profile page.

  • Eh, I am not sure if I quite believe #2. Myself and most of anyone that I know rarely view their own profiles unless they need to. Maybe more clicks are made on the profile page rather than the newsfeed because the ads are more tailored to the person’s interests?

  • Tim

    Well written article highlighting these studies. Its this kind of information that small businesses need to help them make decisions regarding their social media strategies.

  • S Emertziadou

    Very helpful info!!!!
    The heat map video is so usefull for a social beginner like me!

  • Thanks for a great article Amy. As techie African American Boomers, we are especially interested in the stats on Facebook use by minorities and people 55+. This is critical data for those of us helping small businesses harness the power of social media.

  • Lin

    Amy – In terms of #2 why on early are you giving credibility to a study where there were only 40 people who took part?

  • Tire Rescue Network

    This is great information to have. As someone that advertises on Facebook, it’s good to see some percentages on views for the ads that go into the web feed compared to the ads that go directly on profile pages. Thanks

  • Thanks for the this article Amy. Last week I was encouraged at one of my local Hallmark stores to go online and complete a form to receive $2.00 off my next purchase. To my surprise it wasn’t a typical survey to take but instead a facebook business page to post my feedback. Your article has confirmed my thoughts that Facebook has been accepted now as an important social media tool for business marketing.

  • “#2: Facebook Ads Most Effective On User Profile Pages” This doesn’t surprise me as people look at their profile page they pretty much know what’s on there so their eyes tend to wander a bit more.

  • It is mostly down to what is easy. Facebook plugins have allowed for a lot of ease for users and people prefer it when they have as little hassle as possible. What is more easy than logging into a merchant site using facebook accounts?
    The facebook advertising is also another aspect of this ease. The advertisements are right in front of you in a section of the page which you look at heavily and interact with the most. People are more likely to have something with an image catch their eye if it is sandwiched between their wall gossip than to notice a small side add of 1 line.
    The studies involving the ethnic groups on internet use and time spent on facebook is also interesting. Why is there this trend do you wonder? Is there someone who is starting an investigation as to why the statistics are as shown?

  • Argh! I was so disappointed by the heatmap study. No duh people didn’t pay attention to the “ads” on their newsfeed, there were NO ads displayed! I wish they would have given them a feed to view with a sponsored ad available. Also, why didn’t they do a Facebook Page? Would have been helpful to see where people pay attention there.

    Ah well. In any case, thanks for pulling together these studies!

  • Dragan Mestrovic

    Facebook is going to overtake LinkedIn as a business networ.

    So it makes sense to keep an closer eye on facebook for business purposes and B2B lead generation.

  • Very insightful article,this is good information to know about Facebook thanks for sharing!

  • Danauito

    Amy. how do we get a hold of you. I have another book coming out and would like to see if you are available to work with me on promotion.

  • One of the things that struck me about Facebook is that it is an entirely different approach to marketing – the end result is the same (sales/conversions), but the process is longer, more involved, and far more dependent upon relationships built over time. I recently wrote a blog post on the topic, in fact:

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  • Thanks for the insights gleaned from these studies. However, I see no links to the actual studies themselves? Am I missing something? It would be wonderful if they could be supplied. (Yes, I know I can Google it.)

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