Nielsen Releases 2012 Social Media Report
December 4, 2012

Apps And Mobile Web Drive Explosive Growth Of Social Media

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

Americans spent 121 billion minutes on social media sites in July 2012, a 37% increase over the previous year, according to Nielsen´s 2012 Social Media Report released on Monday.

The report offers a comprehensive view of the current social media landscape, finding that Americans spend more time on social networks than on any other category of sites.

“Social media and social networking are no longer in their infancy,” Nielsen said.

Consumers now spend around 20 percent of their total time online using social networks via their personal computers, and 30 percent of their time online visiting social networks on mobile devices.

Nielsen said the rapid proliferation of mobile devices and connectivity is playing a major role in the continued growth of social media.

And while the computer remains the primary device for social media access, consumers´ time spent with social media via mobile apps and the mobile web grew 63 percent from 2011 to 2012, the firm said.

Forty-six percent of social media users now say they use their smartphones to access social media, with 16 percent saying they use social media on a tablet device.

Further underscoring the impact that mobile adoption has had on the amount of time consumers spend online, Nielsen found that the U.S. mobile web audience rose 82 percent from July 2011 to July 2012, while the mobile app audience grew 85 percent. By comparison, the U.S. PC audience fell 4 percent during that time.

The total number of minutes spent on social media sites via mobile apps climbed 120 percent year over year, with mobile web usage rising 22 percent and PC usage dipping 4 percent, the report found.

Facebook remains the most-visited social network in the U.S., with 152.2 million PC visitors, 78.4 million visitors using mobile apps and 74.3 million visitors using the mobile website, Nielsen said.

The popular social network is also the top U.S. web brand in terms of time spent, according to the report.

However, the number of social media networks from which consumers can choose has skyrocketed, and countless sites are adding new social features or integrations.

Pinterest, for example, has emerged as a one of the breakout social media stars for 2012, with the largest year-over-year increase in both unique audience and total time spent of any social network across PC, mobile web and apps, Nielsen said.

Pinterest´s growing audience, which trends largely female, spent 1,255,225,000 minutes on the site via PC, 120,486,00 minutes via mobile app and 720,973,00 minutes via the mobile web.