This just in: Females outnumber males on social networking sites. The site Pingdom did a survey and concluded that 16 out of 19 (84 percent) of the most popular social sites have more women populating them than men. The super geek sites Digg, Reddit and Slashdot have more men on them, but the more popular sites including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, all have more women visiting them.
The average ratio of all sites surveyed, according to Pingdom, was 47 percent male, 53 percent female. You can read the article here.
Am I surprised? Not really. This strikes me as proof that women really are better communicators; certainly the data indicates that they work more at it. But while a six-point spread is significant, it is not a landslide. More research that corrects for job types and access to the Internet might be needed to see if there’s much difference.
Forget the averages for a moment. Bebo had 66 percent female users, and MySpace and Classmates each had 64 percent. Slashdot had over 80 percent male visitors. What does that say? If you are in business or designing messages for social media, you might want to start focusing your messages better. I am sure there are other studies in a similar vein — and if you know of some, please let us know — and if there are no other studies, I bet there will be.
Fundamentally, if we are at a point in the explosion of social media where we are beginning to see this kind of demographic specialization, then the trend is long passed its salad days. Early in a new paradigm, there aren’t the number of choices or specialization that we are now seeing in social media.
This has huge implications for business. For example, we already knew from more exhaustive research that women account for more than three quarters of domestic spending. If you add that to the Pingdom research, you must conclude that if you think you can market in cyberspace as if you are selling car batteries at half-time, think again and again.
Who’s Not There?
There’s so much I would like to know that this data does not illuminate. Think about the skill set that we prize in sales and marketing people. How does that skill set align with the people in the social strata?
Also, since men and women make up equal halves of the population, the data suggests that a considerable number of men are not participating. Does this mean that those who elect to participate share some characteristics with women that the abstainers do not?
Not long ago I was at a conference, and I can’t recall if someone said this or if I read it, but the statement was that men went to social sites because women went there.
If that was the case, I would have expected the numbers to be closer. Who knows — maybe another survey will reverse these findings, but for now it sure is curious.
Denis Pombriant is the managing principal of the Beagle Research Group, a CRM market research firm and consultancy. Pombriant’s research concentrates on evolving product ideas and emerging companies in the sales, marketing and call center disciplines. His research is freely distributed through a blog and Web site. He is working on a book and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.