Nielsen Says Most Social Media Users Rich and Urban

    September 28, 2009
    Chris Crum

Research from Nielsen indicates that wealthier people and people who live in big cities (at least in the US) are more likely to use social networks than people with less money that live in smaller towns.

Nielsen Claritas, a branch of Nielsen that looks at segmentation in consumer behavior, says that there is a "marked difference" in the demographic makeup between the two largest social networks – Facebook and MySpace. According to Nielsen Claritas:

– Facebook users have a largely upscale profile. The top third of lifestyle segments relative to affluence were 25% more likely to use Facebook than those in the lower third.

– The bottom third segments related to affluence are 37% more likely to use MySpace than those in the top third.

– Users of Facebook were also much more likely to use LinkedIn, a network geared towards business and professional networking, than those who use MySpace.

So much money, I can update my Facebook status

"Nielsen’s online data shows that about half of the U.S. population visited a social networking website in the last year and that number grows every quarter," says Wils Corrigan, AVP, Research & Development, Nielsen Claritas. “The rising popularity of these sites and the deep engagement consumers have with them has advertisers and marketers asking for more and more detail as to which lifestyles should be targeted for their online advertising and promotions."

According to Nielsen, the blogging and tweeting community isn’t necessarily made up of wealthier people, but they are more likely to be in urban areas. "The penetration rates of the top two most visited blogging platforms (Blogger, WordPress) and the most popular micro-blogging platform (Twitter) show that Nielsen’s 12 Urban lifestyle segments are more likely to blog and tweet than Nielsen’s 22 Town & Rural segments," says Nielsen.

The firm says that while bloggers and tweeters also tend to use Facebook and LinkedIn more often than other segments, the "Urban lifestyle segments" for Blogger are 18% more likely to use Facebook and 140% more likely to use LinkedIn than people from other segments.