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Facebook Keeps Its Cool Among College Students

Websites, word-of-mouth top information channels

December 15, 2009

Social networking in general, and Facebook in particular, may be getting more popular among older users, but that doesn’t make the No. 1 US social network any less attractive for college students, according to data from Anderson Analytics.

The “American College Students Survey” found that not only do the vast majority of US college student Internet users find Facebook cool, more than one-quarter of them rate it their favorite Website of all. That was nearly a 12-point increase over last year, and put Facebook more than 20 points ahead of second-most-popular Google.

Top 10* Websites Among US College Student Internet Users, 2005-2009 (% of respondents)

How students use social networks is just important to marketers as they face that they do visit the sites, and the outlook is positive. Nearly six in 10 female college students learn about products on social networks, along with 44% of males. In addition, 80% of females and 76% of males get product information from Websites they visit regularly.

Sources of Product Information Among US College Student Internet Users, by Gender, 2009 (% of respondents)

That put Websites ahead of word-of-mouth as a source of product info. Earlier research, from Youth Trends, showed word-of-mouth in first place, followed by TV commercials and then Facebook as ways US college students learn about new products and services.

Alloy Media + Marketing also found that advice from friends was the leading way students learned about brands, products or services, cited by 62% of respondents. Shopping in stores was next, at 61%, followed by advertising, at 59%. Alloy did not ask students about the influence of TV commercials or Facebook specifically. However, it did ask if students got product information from online communities; 19% responded yes.

Keep up on the latest digital trends. Learn more about an eMarketer Total Access subscription, today.

Check out today’s other article, “Securing Brand Loyalty Through Relationship Marketing.”

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