In the U.S., social networks and blogs reach nearly 80% of active U.S. Internet users and represent the majority of Americans' time online. The value of the time consumers spend online and on social networks and blogs continues to grow, most visible through the influence on purchase decisions. For instance, 60% of people who use three or more digital means of research for product purchases learned about a specific brand or retailer from a social networking site. 48% of these consumers responded to a retailer's offer posted on Facebook or Twitter.
Nielsen's "State of the Media: The Social Media Report - Q3 2011" presents a snapshot of the current social media landscape and audiences in the U.S. and other major markets:
Although a larger number of women view online video on social networks and blogs, men are the heaviest online video users overall streaming more videos and watching them longer
Social Networks and Blog sites rule Americans' Internet time, accounting for 23% of time spent online, more than twice the amount of time spent on the number two category, Online Games. Time spent on the 75 "Other" online categories combined only accounts for 35% of Americans' total Internet time.
Females make up the majority of visitors to social networks and blogs, and people aged 18-34 have the highest concentration of visitors among all age groups. Americans aged 35-49 are also avid visitors: 4% more likely than average to visit social networks and blogs than they do any other site and 27% of these sites' audience.
The average visitor to social networks and blogs is female between 18 and 34. Her household income is less than $50,000 per year, and she has obtained a Bachelor's degree. She is likely Asian or Pacific and likely lives in New England
Social networking as a whole skews female, and so do nine of the top 10 U.S. social networks and blogs, but LinkedIn and Wikia are the only sites in the category where the percentage of men visiting the respective site exceeds the percentage of total active male Internet users (47%). Facebook continues to reign as the top U.S. social network with over 140 million visitors during May 2011, nearly 3-times the audience of the number two site, Blogger, reaching 70% of active U.S. Internet users.
As app usage in the U.S. continues to grow, but not at the expense of the Mobile Internet. Mobile Internet usage, the use of a browser on a mobile device, is alive and well with the unique number of Mobile Internet users in the U.S. up 47% over last year. The Mobile Internet audience to social networking sites is up 62% during the same period, as publishers continue to optimize their content across a new generation of connected devices.
During May 2011, over 31 million people in the U.S.watched video content on social networks and blogs, viewing nearly 157 million video streams. Although over 4,000 more women view video on these sites compared to men, men are the heaviest users, streaming more videos and spending 9% more time watching.
Top 10 U.S. Social Networks and Blogs
Unique Visitors (000)
Share of page views by female visitors on facebook
Household income of 41% of blogger's audience
Demographic more represented on twitter than any of the 9 other social networks
Share of visitors to wordpress who have a bachelor's degree
Demographic that views twice as many pages on myspace than average
Internet users with a post graduate degree likely to visit Linkedin compared to average
3X as many
Demographic more represented on Tumblr than on any of the other 9 social networks
Six Apart Typepad
With a higher concentration of Six Apart visitors than from any of the other top 9 social networks
With the highest concentration of pulse visitors versus any other part of the country
New England Region
Age group more represented on Wikia than on any of the othe 9 social networks
Source: Nielsen, May 2011
Facebook has become synonymous not only with social media, but with Web use more generally, as Americans spend more time on Facebook than on any other site.
Top 10 U.S. Web Brands by Total Minutes (Billions; Home and Work; May 2011)
Billions of Minutes
Aol Media Network
Source: Nielsen, May 2011
Consumers frequently trust the recommendations of their peers, making social media an ideal platform for influencers to spread their ideas and purchase power. Research by NM Incite shows that 60% of social media users create reviews of products and services. In fact, consumer created reviews/ratings are the preferred source for information about product/service value, price and product quality, says the report. Offline, active adult social networkers are more likely than the average adult Internet user to be found at political rallies, professional sporting events and working out at the gym.
According to Nielsen and NM Incite, When Compared To The Average Adult Internet User, Active Adult Social Networkers Are...
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