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Twitter, Facebook Grow as Media Hubs

On Facebook and Twitter, a significant percentage of users get news they would not have read elsewhere

Facebook and Twitter, which began as platforms for sharing personal information, are rapidly growing as publishing platforms for news, video, photos and entertainment content, according to multiple research studies analyzed in a new report by eMarketer.

The report, “Facebook and Twitter as Media Platforms: News, Video, Music and Games," covers the use of Twitter and Facebook by consumers looking to access and share media, as well as how media companies and brands use these platforms to target audiences through content marketing.

One factor affecting growth is the launch of Facebook's Timeline interface in late 2011, which puts greater focus on media activity compared with the previous iteration of the Facebook newsfeed, eMarketer found.

According to multiple studies and interviews analyzed in the report, Timeline has significantly increased user engagement with content on the site. A Simply Measured report from February, for example, found that worldwide content engagement on Facebook had gone up 46% since before Timeline.

BMW of North America’s social media manager, Kate Alini, told eMarketer in an interview that she sees Facebook as a “headquarters for social engagement.”

Twitter is also growing as a destination for both media consumers and suppliers, thanks in part to the company's recently launched #Discover interface.

According to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, 39% of Twitter users said most of the news they got on Twitter in January 2012 was not material they would have read elsewhere. On Facebook, the corresponding percentage was a bit lower at 34%. This means that, by eMarketer’s estimates of the Twitter and Facebook user bases in 2012, more than 11 million Twitter users and more than 48 million Facebook users are getting news on those services.

The full report also details how Twitter and Facebook have also become hubs for gaming, video, and photo-sharing. Key takeaways:

  • How are media and entertainment companies using Facebook and Twitter to distribute and market their content?
  • How are consumers using these sites to access and share digital content?
  • How are Facebook Timeline and Twitter Discover affecting content sharing on the sites?
  • How are marketers capitalizing on Facebook’s and Twitter’s roles in the media and content ecosystem?

eMarketer evaluated hundreds of third-party research findings for the report, eventually selecting data from several vetted sources, including comScore, Flurry Analytics, Pew Research Center, PopCap Games, Simply Measured, and VEVO.

eMarketer also conducted interviews with executives at several media companies and brands, including BMW, Converse, Facebook, GE, Kraft Foods, National Hockey League, VEVO, Oreo, Procter & Gamble, TBG Digital, and The Washington Post.

About eMarketer
eMarketer publishes data, analysis and insights on digital marketing, media and commerce. We do this by gathering information from many sources, filtering it, and putting it into perspective. For more than a decade, leading companies have trusted this approach, and have relied on eMarketer to help them make better business decisions.
www.eMarketer.com

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