New Study Explores Mysteries of Social Media Growth: More Than Two Billion People Use Social Media Sites Worldwide — Double the Usage of Two Years Ago — Offering Rich, Exploding Markets

University of Utah researcher Xiao Fang and his colleagues were faced with a mystery: What factors have fueled the explosive growth of Facebook and other social networking sites over the past two years?

On October 4, Facebook reported it had topped 1 billion users, while runners-up Google+ and LinkedIn cleared 400 million and 175 million accounts, respectively. For the world’s most popular social network, Facebook, the past two years have seen user totals more than double.

Still, while retailers, game designers and marketing and sales executives salivate over the business potential of the burgeoning, worldwide social media space, no one has been able to decipher this phenomenon’s DNA. Even more of an enigma, Fang said of the revelations contained in a new paper he co-authored along with fellow Information Systems instructors Paul Hu and Weiyu Tsai and doctoral student Lionel Li, is how acceptance of opinions or products on one social media site spreads to another.

"This social contagion is the fundamental feature driving the new dynamic — for business marketing and sales, and for the democratic ideal of the public forum," Fang said, citing the recent ability of freedom fighters to spread political messages and defeat regime media controls during the Arab Spring.

The paper, Predicting Adoption Probabilities in Social Networks — accepted for future publication in the Information Systems Research Journal — not only explores factors behind social media users’ choices in products and opinions, but "proposes a novel and highly effective method to predict future adoption probabilities" for individuals who remain undecided, Fang added.

"The novelty of the proposed method lies in its consideration of a more complete set of factors driving adoption decision in a social network," Fang said. "Traditional methods focus on the factor of peer influence for adoption prediction. Our proposed method seamlessly integrates a more comprehensive set of factors, including peer influence, profile similarity between individuals — such as similarities in age, gender, or taste, and the structural position of an individual in a social network — for predicting adoption probabilities."

Such theoretical and analytical tools could revolutionize social network-based targeted marketing, bolster viral marketing techniques to better overlap numerous social networks, and give teeth to product demand predictions within specific social networking groups.

So informed, firms "could predict the expected number of adopters in the next time period, allowing them to gauge whether an offering is likely to go viral," Fang said. "If the offering is likely to go viral, the firm could act proactively to leverage it with appropriate marketing strategies, such as product bundling or cross-selling."

We've updated our Privacy Policy. Read the updated policy →

PR Biz Update PR Agency News PR People Marketing Trends
acquisition channels, customer acquisition, Digital marketing, Email marketing, Forrester, Marketing, marketing budgets, marketing investments, Mobile marketing, National Retail Federation, paid search, Pr, Public relations, Social media
Facebook Leads Digital Marketing Spend for Retailers as Social & Mobile Budgets Expand, New NRF Study Finds

Paid search and email marketing lead retailers’ lists of effective customer...

Change management, engagement strategy, management initiatives, management/employee disconnect, Marketing, organizational alignment, POPin, Pr, Public relations, Senior management, teambuilding challenges
Teambuilding Challenges: Most Companies Struggle with Lack of Organizational Alignment, Inability to Manage Change

According to a new survey of CIOs and technology execs from...

Shopping cart full of gold gift boxes and red sale sign through laptop monitor concept for e-commerce
Consumer Spend to Reach Highest Level Since Great Recession This Holiday Season—But Stores May Suffer

A Shift from Wish-List Products to Experiences Threatens Brick and Mortar...

Thought Leaders On Deadline
3BL Media, Corporate sustainability, CSR perspectives, Domtar Corporation, Gary Weiland, Marketing, Pr, Public relations, sustainability content, sustainability efforts, Sustainability reporting
CSR Perspectives: Getting Your Company’s Sustainability Efforts Recognized

By Gary Weiland, Strategic Communications Consultant Like many companies, every year...

Can Malay, Marketing, marketing department, marketing execution, marketing industry, marketing measurement, marketing objective, Marketing plan, Marketing strategy, marketing tactics, MediaMiser, Pr, Public relations, strategic execution, SWOT analysis
Strategic Execution: 6 Essential Steps for Developing a Marketing Plan

By Can Malay, MediaMiser Developing annual marketing plans and successfully executing...

AdWords, buying cycle, Clicteq, keyword, Long Tail, long tail keyword, Marketing, PPC marketers, Pr, Public relations, specific keywords, Wesley Parker
Sorry to Burst Your Bubble: The Long Tail Keyword Myth

By Wesley Parker, Founder and CEO, Clicteq  Today’s article is a...