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Nielsen: Social Networks Dominate Online Time

13 Sep, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Americans spend nearly 75% more time on social networking websites than watching videos and movies, according to new Nielsen research.

The research company’s third-quarter “State of the Media: The Social Media Report” found that Facebook dominates social networking, generating 83% more traffic than Twitter and reaching 70% of all adult Internet users.

Indeed, among the top 10 online user categories, social networking and blogs accounted for 22.5% of users’ time, followed by online video games at 9.8%, email (7.6%), portals (4.5%), video or movies (4.4%), search (4%), instant messages (3.3%), software updates (3.2%), classifieds or auctions (2.9%), and news and current events (2.6%).

The time users remain online (35.1%) was spearheaded by myriad activities and topics, including multi-category entertainment options, adult entertainment, sports, corporate information, schools, banking, educational resources and such.

The dominance of Facebook underscores why studios are embracing the site for catalog movie rentals — despite the fact that few visitors’ watch and rent movies online compared with other activities.

Notably, 97% of social media is accessed from the PC, while 37% also is accessed from a smartphone. Gaming consoles and the Apple iPad lag way behind at 3% each. Other options include Internet-enabled TVs (2%), e-readers (2%) and portable music players (1%).

The most popular activity on portable devices is music downloading while social networking is valued higher at 30% compared to 26% for music. The most valued portable feature is GPS at 56%.

Visitors spent 53.5 billion minutes on Facebook in May, compared to just 12.5 billion minutes on Google (not YouTube). Yahoo generated 17.2 billion user minutes and YouTube (9.1 billion minutes). Others destinations included AOL (11.4 billion minutes), MSN/Bing (9.5 billion minutes) Ebay (4.5 billion minutes), EA (4.3 billion minutes), Apple (4.3 billion minutes) and Microsoft (3.4 billion minutes).

Among Facebook viewers, 62% are female, while men are more likely to frequent LinkedIn and Wikipedia.

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