The use of social media by shopping centers leveled off last year, indicating that the trend may have matured, according to a survey by research firm Alexander Babbage. The survey of some 1,600 American shopping centers showed that as of the fourth quarter nearly 70 percent of properties measuring 300,000 square feet or larger used Facebook to reach shoppers, and about 55 percent used Twitter, up 20 percent from a year ago in both cases. But much of that growth was driven by Premium Outlets’ introduction of a shared Facebook page in the first quarter of last year.
Through the rest of 2011 Facebook and Twitter use among the shopping centers surveyed grew just 1 percent. Some, such as the mixed-use New Roc City, in New Rochelle, N.Y., actually terminated their Facebook pages in the past year. Babbage says the adoption of social media is likely to slow considerably this year, at least as concerns Facebook and Twitter, the most popular platforms.
Glimcher Realty remains the most active social-media user among shopping center owners of 20 properties or more. All of Glimcher’s properties have Facebook and Twitter accounts. General Growth Properties, Macerich and Simon Property Group are close behind, with 90 percent of their properties on Facebook and Twitter. Westfield Group has 100 percent of its properties on Facebook, and 56 percent on Twitter.
ICSC’s Western region was home to the most properties on Facebook. Some 75.5 percent of centers in that region use Facebook, according to Babbage, up from 56.1 percent a year ago; 65.1 percent use Twitter, up from 51.5 percent a year ago. The Midwest had the lowest percentage of social-media-active properties — 62.8 percent of properties on Facebook and 50.4 percent on Twitter.