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MySpace and Isobar Debut First Comprehensive Research Study on Social Networks and Marketing


April 23, 2007; 09:35 AM
Fox Interactive Media (FIM), a division of News Corporation, today released a series of research findings from the first comprehensive study examining both the growth and marketing power of online social networks. Conducted in partnership with Isobar and Carat USA by leading independent marketing research firms TRU, TNS and Marketing Evolution, the study incorporated both quantitative and qualitative feedback from approximately 3,000 U.S. Internet users, as well as MySpace clients for in-depth case studies. The results were released this morning in Los Angeles at Never Ending Friending, a conference for FIM marketing clients.

Key findings revealed today include the fact that social networks have caused a fundamental shift in the way people interact with each other and with media. More than 70% of Americans 15-34 are actively using social networks online, and the research showed social networking sites taking a strong foothold in the primetime hours; enriching existing relationships with family and friends; and initiating meaningful brand connections.

This is an incredible piece of research that will not only serve as a valuable resource for the advertising community, but will also enable us to learn even more about what our users want so we can continue to deliver the best product possible, said Michael Barrett, Chief Revenue Officer of Fox Interactive Media. There is no doubt that social networks are a phenomenon, but its our job to continue building our products in a way that maximizes the experience for both consumers and advertisers and the learnings from this type of data will be crucial to that mission.

GAINING MOMENTUM

As part of the study, Marketing Evolution -- a marketing ROI measurement and consulting firm for leading global brands -- delved into the impact of social interaction on campaigns within MySpace. The research found that brands such as adidas and Electronic Arts attributed more than 70% of their marketing return on investment to the Momentum Effect. The Momentum Effect, a new metric coined by Marketing Evolution, quantifies the impact of a brand within a social network beyond traditional advertising impressions to encompass the pass along power of consumer-to-consumer communication.

The research also reveals key findings regarding unique marketing opportunities available to advertisers within social networking environments. According to the study, more than 40% of all social networkers said they use social networking sites to learn more about brands or products that they like, and 28% said at some point a friend has recommended a brand or product to them.

Marketers are beginning to truly understand how to activate the communities that exist within social networking environments, said Sarah Fay, President, Isobar. At Isobar, we believe the brands that win are those whose consumers tell each other the best stories. Social networks provide the perfect platform for creating the Momentum Effect. Also, by communicating through the consumer, the brands message carries more authenticity and credibility.

NEVER-ENDING FRIENDING

According to the study, Internet users arent just trying social networks, theyre using them more than other forms of communication and entertainment. Of U.S. social networkers asked which free-time activity they would choose, users chose interacting on sites such as MySpace.com as their favorite activity online or offline, ahead of television viewing and on par with cell phone usage.

And more consistent with the offline world than might be expected, the vast majority of time was spent connecting with family and friends as opposed to meeting new people. Of those polled, 69% said they utilize social networks to connect with existing friends and 41% said they use the sites connect with family members.

In addition, the study revealed that current social networkers spend on average more than seven hours per week on social networking sites, and that those hours are driving the growth of overall time spent online. More than 31% of online social networkers claim they spend more time on the Web in general after starting to use a social network. They were also more inclined to engage in other entertainment media and activities including listening to music, playing games and talking on the cell phone.

The study also reinforced that MySpace was the Webs most popular social networking site, with an overall user satisfaction rating of nearly 80%.

MySpace has thrived as a global community driven by self expression, discovery and connection of now more than 100 million people around the world who use it each month, said Chris DeWolfe, CEO of MySpace. Users are empowered to create and share, build and maintain relationships and in the process have created an entirely new medium that is deeply integrated into their everyday lives. Smart marketers know how to tap into the passion and energy of individuals who care about their products to vastly multiply the impact of their campaigns.

WHY FRIENDING NEVER ENDS

In addition to tracking overall usage of the site, the research study focused on the reasons why users are continuing to flock to online social networks. The data indicated that social networkers use the sites not just to improve their online lives, but also to make their offline lives richer and more exciting. More than 48% said they are having more fun in life in general and 45% said their lives are more exciting as a result of spending time networking online. In addition, 57% said theyve found more people with similar interests and 52% said they feel more in tune with whats happening socially in their lives due to social networking sites.

STUDY METHODOLOGY

The Never Ending Friending study was conducted in multiple phases encompassing independently-fielded qualitative, quantitative and in-depth client case study research. A series of focus groups of MySpace users in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York were conducted by TRU. An online survey of 3,000+ U.S. panelists aged 14-40 was conducted by TNS and included three segments: MySpace users, social networkers from other sites, and non-social networkers. Finally, detailed case studies including behavioral tracking and survey measurement with two MySpace clients, adidas and Electronic Arts were conducted by ROI measurement firm Marketing Evolution.

ABOUT TRU

Over the course past 25 years, TRU has built an unparalleled understanding of the teen market, having pioneered the field of youth research. TRU is now recognized as an expert on Millennials, researching this dynamic, vibrant generation from tweens through teens to twenty-somethings.

A Research International company, TRU is the only youth research firm to provide syndicated, qualitative, and quantitative research. The firms research and insights inform strategy among an impressive list of Fortune 500 companies. TRU also provides guidance for policy makers in Washington on a host of critical youth-centric social-marketing issues. Last year TRU conducted more than 1,000 qualitative sessions in addition to numerous major quantitative studies. To date, TRU has interviewed one-million teens and young adults.

ABOUT TNS

TNS is a global market insight and information group. Our strategic goal is to be recognized as the global leader in delivering value-added information and insights that help our clients to make more effective decisions. As industry thought leaders, our people deliver innovative thinking and excellent service to global organizations and local clients worldwide. We work in partnership with our clients, meeting their needs for high-quality information, analysis and foresight across our network of over 70 countries.

We are the worlds foremost provider of custom research and analysis, combining in-depth industry sector understanding with world-class expertise in the areas of new product development, segmentation and positioning research, brand and advertising research and stakeholder management. We are a major supplier of consumer panel, media intelligence and internet, TV and radio audience measurement services.

TNS is the sixth sense of business.

www.tns-global.com

ABOUT MARKETING EVOLUTION

Marketing Evolution improves Marketing ROI for its clients by providing highly customized ROI measurement and consulting across media and marketing channels. Marketing Evolution not only reports what happened in terms of ROI, but why it happened and how to grow and enhance results. Marketing Evolution clients receive highly customized measurement to specifically help them improve performance on marketers current marketing through proprietary ROI measurement and real-time insights aligned with key milestones throughout the campaign. Marketing Evolution also provides planning, forecasting and portfolio management tools to achieve the highest division wide or company wide marketing ROI

Marketing ROI measurement can be complex and challenging, especially given todays fragmented media landscape. Marketing Evolutions measurement approach, first pioneered in 2001, was developed specifically to meet todays fragmented media landscape ROI and may be the most broadly, independently validated marketing ROI approach available today, and has been applied globally. Marketing Evolution has office in New York and Northern California. The company's website is www.marketingevolution.com.

ABOUT CARAT

Carat is a media-centric, diversified marketing services company managing over $7 billion in U.S. billings. With over $24 billion in global billings, Carat is the worlds fourth largest media services network, with over 100 offices in over 60 countries. Carat is transforming communications creating communications that transform clients businesses and leading transformation of the communications world. Carat provides a full range of services including media and market research; communications planning; media planning and buying; multicultural communications; corporate trade; branded entertainment; direct and digital marketing; experiential and sponsorship services; and marketing analytics and consulting. Carat is part of the Aegis Group a leading marketing services company listed on the London Stock Exchange. For more information, visit the companys website at www.carat.com.

ABOUT ISOBAR

Launched on July 5th, 2004, Isobar provides alignment, integration, coordination and leverage of all digital assets within Aegis on a global, regional and a national basis. Isobar provides clients with a full service digital marketing offering through its global network of 36 offices in 24 markets worldwide. Isobar currently has online billings in excess of $500 million. For more information, please visit: http://www.isobarcommunications.com.

ABOUT MYSPACE

MySpace, a Fox Interactive Media company, is the premier lifestyle portal for connecting with friends, discovering popular culture, and making a positive impact on the world. By integrating web profiles, blogs, instant messaging, e-mail, music streaming, music videos, photo galleries, classified listings, events, groups, college communities, and member forums, MySpace has created a connected community. As the second ranked destination in terms of page views(a), MySpace is the most widely-used and highly regarded site of its kind and is committed to providing the highest quality member experience. MySpace will continue to innovate with new features that allow its members to express their creativity and share their lives, both online and off. MySpaces international network includes localized community sites in the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, France, Germany, Australia, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Mexico, Canada, and New Zealand.

ABOUT FOX INTERACTIVE MEDIA

A division of News Corporation (NYSE:NWS), Fox Interactive Media (FIM) offers a global, border-free online network that caters to consumers by giving them the platform and tools to express themselves, communicate with each other, and engage with the best music, TV, film, sports, information and more. The company's worldwide network includes such category leaders as MySpace, IGN Entertainment, FOXSports.com, RottenTomatoes, AskMen, AmericanIdol.com and more that together comprise one of the largest and most engaged audiences on the Web.

(a) Among the top 2000 domains comScore Media Metrix, March 2007. For more information on comScore Networks, please go to http://www.comscore.com

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