Social Media & Games Dominate Online Activity
By: Jeromy Puglisi
May 3, 2011
Americans spend ¼ of their online time on social networking sites and blogs, which is up from 15.8% just a year ago – a staggering 43% increase according to research released last August from The Nielsen Company.
Nielsen says that Americans spend a 1/3 of their online time – 36%, communicating and networking across social networks, blogs, personal email and instant messaging. Also according to Nielsen:
- Online games overtook personal email to become the 2nd most heavily used activity behind social networks – accounting for 10% of all U.S. Internet time. Email dropped from 11.5% to 8.%.
- Of the most heavily-used sectors, Videos/Movies (which includes video-specific and movie-related websites only – and is not inclusive of video streaming behavior elsewhere) was the only other to experience a significant growth in share of U.S. activity online. Its share of activity grew relatively by 12% from 3.5% to 3.9%.
- June 2010 was a major milestone for U.S. online video as the number of videos streamed passed the 10 billion mark. The average American consumer streaming online video spent 3 hours 15 minutes doing so during the month.
- Despite some predictions otherwise, the rise of social networking hasn’t pushed email and instant messaging into obscurity just yet. Although both saw double-digit declines in share of time, email remains as the third heaviest activity online (8.3%) while instant messaging is 5th, accounting for 4% of Americans online time.
- Although the major portals also experienced a double digit decline in share, they remained as the 4th heaviest activity, accounting for 4.4% of U.S. time online.
“Despite the almost unlimited nature of what you can do on the web, 40 percent of U.S. online time is spent on just three activities – social networking, playing games and emailing leaving a whole lot of other sectors fighting for a declining share of the online pie,”
The Nielsen Company
Email Remains Top on Mobile Internet Activities
The way U.S. consumers spend their Internet time on their mobile phones paints a slightly different picture to that of Internet use from computers. In a Nielsen survey of mobile web users, there is a double-digit (23%) rise in the prevalence of social networking behavior, but the dominance of email activity on mobile devices continue with an increase from 37.4% to 41.6% of U.S. mobile Internet time.
Portals remain as the second heaviest activity on mobile Internet @ 11.6% share, despite their double digit decline and social networking’s rise to account for a 10.5% share means the gap is now much smaller. (14.3% vs. 8.3%).
Other mobile activities seeing significant growth include music and video – both seeing 20% + increases in activity share year over year. As these activities gain usage market share, other content activities lose usage market share – both news/current events and sports sites saw more than a 20% drop in share of U.S. mobile Internet time.
“Although we see similar characteristics amongst PC and mobile internet use, the way their activity is allocated is still pretty contrasting. While convergence will continue, the unique characteristics of computers and mobiles, both in their features and when and where they are used mean that mobile Internet behavior mirroring its PC counterpart is still some way off.”
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