Research agency Crowd DNA recently produced a piece of work for IPC Media on a project called “MAGs”, a study trying to understand that notoriously incomprehensible demographic, the mass market male (MMM).
Crowd DNA surveyed over 1,000 males aged 19-29 from all over the country, the interviews complemented by ongoing desk research and social media investigations. Most intriguingly, 24 men were interviewed face-to-face while accompanied by their mates and girlfriends (the MAGs in question), who presumably acted as some kind of reality filter.
So what were the findings? Firstly, it seems, the average Sky Sports viewer/Loaded reader is more more domesticated than the stereotypes suggest: mass-market males place relationships, and even family, high on their agendas, and while “drinking with mates” is important, it’s a weekend activity that during the week plays second-fiddle to family and work commitments.
The stereotype takes another hit when it comes to social media. Far from their devil-may-care image, the research found that MMMs were more than aware of the potential pitfalls of an online presence. Social networking plays a massive part in their lives, but it’s approached with caution.
This level of awareness leads them to keep quite regimented social media accounts – while other demographics are keen to collect as many friends as possible, the MMM respondents were more concerned with pruning their networks. “I’ve just had a huge cull recently,” said one. “You go out and meet people and it’s great, but then you end up with just loads of people on there.”
What they’re culling is Facebook, because right now, for the MMMs, Facebook is social media. No surprises there – but what might be surprising is their utilitarian view of the social network, which is, as one respondent put it, “for just finding out about what nights are happening… because pretty much everything that happens now has a Facebook event, so it’s good for finding out about what’s going on.”
More worryingly for Facebook, there’s little sense that the respondents enjoy using it, or are in any way loyal to it. “Facebook feels a bit old now,” said one. “I just think it tends to be a bit detrimental to your career – or even yourself or other people you know. It gets quite invasive.”
At least Facebook can console itself that this demographic seems to care even less for Twitter. The MMMs are aware of the service, but can’t see the appeal. As one respondent put it, “no, never been on Twitter… Facebook seems more like a normal thing, the thing everyone has, but Twitter seems more for the celebrities.”