Social Media Saturation?


From Coca-Cola to Walmart to Sheraton Hotels, everyone wants to do the “Web 2.0” thing, which involves all the right au courant buzzwords: UGC, WOM, Social Media, Social Networks etc. But there are obvious limits:

  • How many social networks can someone be apart of (and actively too)?
  • How many “great” viral vidoes can there be?
  • How much time do people have to consume all of this new media?
  • Are Internet Users really expected to hold 10-20 social network accounts – one for Yahoo, MySpace, LinkedIn, Coke, Sheraton etc?
  • Are there enough Internet users who will generate interesting content versus simply browsing content?

The whole Social Media space – which I include everything from social networks to UGC to WOM – has a saturation point like anything else. Indeed, the fast paced nature of Social Media will mean that the saturation point can be reached very quickly.

Around the Web

A lot of other folks have been asking similar questions, which is what inspired this posting.
From No Man’s Blog’s “virals: great oportunity or danger to reputation?“:

“If we are frank with ourselves, there are not too many original interactive ideas like subservient chicken or great pieces like still free, or genius practical ideas like spelling with flicker, or this brilliant idea from vodafone and soon, we will have a reality – just like good old TV days- in which there are 95% crap virals and 5% really great remarkable ideas.”

From SEOMoz on how the power-law seemingly still applies to sites like Digg:

Top 100 Digg Users Control 56% of Digg’s HomePage Content

“When folks think of Digg, they’re often misled into believing that the content seen on the homepage is representative of what a wide base of Internet users think is news-worthy and important. The numbers tell a different story – that of all stories that make it to the front page of Digg, more than 20% come from a select group of 20 users.


There’s certainly nothing wrong with this – it’s not a secret or a problem and it isn’t hurting Digg’s popularity, reputation or importance. But, it is something that many folks who use the site don’t realize and many marketers or folks attempting to use it to promote their content should be aware of. Like the college frathouse, it pays to know the right people at Digg.”

Closing Remarks

While the hype will fade and saturation point reached, Social Media will be part of the Internet and the web. But, will every major consumer website really need to have a social network to be relevent or even hip and cool? In the future how much money will be poured in to WOM, virals, and MySpace-too websites compared to the more “traditional” online channels?






5 responses to “Social Media Saturation?”

  1. Sulakshana Gopal Avatar
    Sulakshana Gopal

    An additional variable to consider is the drop in “site loyalty” or “depth of usage” with choices constantly growing and competing for user time. Imagine the resultant lack in involvement trasitively impacting ad performance and ROI. So more money to compete, lesser eyeballs, low ROI – sounds suicidal 🙂

    Taking a step back, it means the concept of ‘interactive marketing’ needs to change to keep with media convergence and usage – something we know. The question is… is the industry looking that far and planning for it?

  2. […] Comment: This touches on two points – social media saturation and diminishing return. I think the effect of social media saturation will be an underestimated factor limiting social media marketing, but effecting the WoM space in as whole rather than say a specific marketing campaign. #3 – Viral effectiveness varies depending on price and category. Social context has a high influence on the potency of viral infection. Technical or religious books for example had more successful recommendations than general interest topics. Smaller and more tightly knit groups tend to be more conducive to viral marketing. […]

  3. James Johnson Avatar

    With all the buzz about Social Media Marketing and Search Engine Optimisation using Blogs, Articles, Twitter, Digg, Squidoo and the many social bookmarking sites.

    Should we be concerned that hitting future saturation will undermine the whole principle of Trust Marketing, leading to a general lack of trust for consumers as they come to realise that the content their searches are yeilding are ‘optimized’ and irrelavent results?

  4. Daniel R Avatar
    Daniel R

    Hi James,

    I can see two sides to that question. On one hand, I’ve been somewhat distrustful of some review sites with concerns that some of the reviews are fake. Yet, in the long run – it takes a very sustained effort to fake buzz on Blogs, Twitter, Facebook etc. It can be done and I have even contacted by companies offering this, but I can’t imagine it being sustainable – in terms of the cost and time to create artificial buzz.

    And sooner or later, such guerilla marketing tactics will be uncovered – tarnishing one’s brand – and illegal in some countries, such as the UK.

    I do think that breakdown of trust can happen when there is no general consensus on something. For example, every once in awhile I come across a product on, where there are enough negative and positive reviews – good reviews too – that drive me to confusion of how I should view the product. I see the same thing on Yelp, with very passionate and dialectical views about a restaurant.

    Additionally, instead of a breakdown of trust you can just turning into separate online societies – so the conservative person only reads the Telegraph and FoxNews, while the liberal American only goes to BBC and NPR.

    It is a good question Steve, and I dont believe that it’s all roses as some people believe.

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