Tuesday, January 26, 2010
According to the latest Nielsen survey, social media traffic is exploding. Global consumers spent over five and half hours on social networks in December, Nielsen says, up 82 percent from the same period last year. (A year ago, users were spending just over three hours a day on social sites like Facebook, blogs, and Twitter.)
In the United States, the time spent on social media sites has increased even more, the survey says. Total time spent on network and blog sites has increased 210 percent in the last year, with the average person spending 143 percent more time on these sites than they did a year ago. The U.S. is second only to Australia in time spent on social media, the Nielsen survey says.
Social media activity ranks as the most popular, the pollsters said, with gaming and instant messaging the next most popular. Facebook emerged as the leading destination in the category, with 209.8 million unique users, or 67 percent of the world's Internet population. And that's not all: Twitter continues to grow at a faster pace than any other social media destination, with 579 percent more unique users in December 2009 than in the same month in 2008.
But social media site-runners, beware. Nielsen says there is reason to suspect that Twittering has peaked, in that traffic to the site actually declined 5 percent in December. Meanwhile, social networks Classmates and LinkedIn also showed a December decline, year-over-year.
So what does this mean? According to the Online Publisher's Association, the share of overall Web time spent on content has been in decline consistently over the past year. (In November 2008, 44.5 percent of online time was spent at content destinations compared to 9.7 percent at community sites like Facebook. In November 2009, however, the share of time spent on content had declined sharply to 37 percent, with community spiking to 24 percent.)
Says Nielsen: "This is an impressive an undeniable shift in user mindshare that no publisher can ignore. It underscores the importance of media brands learning the language of social media and having an active presence in the social networking places that users are now treating like their Internet portals."