Bauer Media – The Value of Talk II

This post is provided by our partner Bauer Media – reaching more than 19 million adults with its influential brands. Insight Two: Social media is like the new school playground…you can play, eavesdrop & gossip, but you always watch your back. Steve Parker, managing director at MediaVest, explores the second of five key insights from the recently commissioned ‘Value of Talk’ study into women’s conversations.

Bauer Media’s fascinating and impactful research, The Value of Talk, shows how women’s talk is changing – how it happens, where it happens and what’s talked about. Few things exemplify this as much as social media.

From playing games to watching videos, from entering competitions to sending content to friends, social media is the new playground for women in the UK.  They spend more time than men using Facebook, and they are just as likely to be members of Twitter. In September 2011 alone, the average female Facebook user spent 436 minutes using the service, whilst men lagged behind at 394 minutes (UKOM data).

Bauer Media’s research complements some of the research Starcom MediaVest is conducting about women and social media. Since June this year, we have studied more than 4,000 women who are regularly active on Facebook on YouTube. Play behaviour is big. Over half (52%) of them watch a video on Facebook at least once a week, and 41% enter a competition at least once a month. And similar to the playground, Facebook is a place for women to cement friendships (which Bauer Media found is particularly important to the Queen Bee and Socialite segments they identify). Thus we found in our study that when women come across something new on Facebook, 63% share it with friends at least some of the time. One third of these share it most of the time.

Many women use brands to form an important part of their Facebook routines. Bauer Media contends that choosing to ‘like’ a brand on Facebook is partly about wanting to create the perception of being associated with it. In our study, exactly a third of  women visit a brand’s Facebook page or read content from a brand on their newsfeeds at least a few times a week. But what do they do when they visit brands on Facebook? To answer this, we sent our participants to 37 brand Facebook pages in order to find out what they thought about these pages and what their activities were likely to be.

The Gillette Venus brand page was one of these pages. Thirty-eight percent of our visitors to the page said they were likely to watch a video on the page, whilst 40% said they were likely to enter a competition. Reflecting the roles that some women give to brands in cementing their friendships, we also found that a quarter said they were likely to share content from the Venus page with friends on Facebook. A remarkable 42% said they were likely to refer to the Venus brand in offline conversations.

The desire to create an association with the brand can extend to purchase. In our study across all pages, we found that for 75% of women who said they would be likely to share content from the page also said they were likely to buy a product from that brand.

Of course, like all playgrounds, women need to watch their backs. As Bauer Media says, social media “gives women the opportunity to explore what is going on in other people’s lives.” You can’t always be sure who is listening, and people have access to more and more of other women’s lives as they post more and more of their lives on Facebook (think Facebook Timeline). It is therefore unsurprising that one study shows that 57% of female social media users are very concerned about safeguarding their privacy, and 43% are concerned about the security of their information.

The message is that, like the playground, social media provides opportunities for playing and reinforcing relationships through talk and sharing. But be careful of what you say. Those posts and photos of your night out on the town may just come back to haunt you.

Next week we’ll explore why “women’s conversations are like their hangbags…”

  • Gordon MacMaillan

    It is a great way to put it that “, social media is the new playground for women”. It is also a very accurate piece of analysis looking at how women engage socially and how that is only going to increase as they turn to their mobiles more and more and engage whilst on the move.

  • James Walters

    What’s interesting for brands is that the link women have with social commerce is also very strong. A lot of the brands trying out social commerce are the likes of and French Connection. That suggests it might bceome a regular part of their online social activity: buying and sharing these with their friends as they would offline.