Nielsen’s third quarter study, “State of the Media: The Social Media Report,” examines the increasing influence of social networking on consumers and points to trends that bode well for businesses active in the social media space.
“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,” Nielsen reports. Adults active on social networks and blogs are 12 percent more likely than the average user to shop online; nearly 4 in 5 active Internet users participate in these activities and 70 percent make online purchases.
The study found that Americans spend the most time on Facebook, with Yahoo and Google a distant second and third, respectively. Close to 40 percent of those active in social media access content on their cell phone.
Facebook is also the most popular mobile app across all platforms, with Internet users over the age of 50 currently driving the growth of social networking on mobiles. Further, more than half of adults active in social networking follow a brand. Other key findings in The Social Media Report:
- Social networking apps are the third most-used among U.S. smartphone owners.
- More women watch online video displayed on social networks and blogs, though men stream more video overall and tend to watch longer.
- Tumblr is gaining ground in the social media space, having nearly tripled their audience in one year.
- Americans spend almost a quarter of their online time on social networking sites and blogs, more than twice the amount of time spent on online gaming sites and three times the time spent on email.
The profile of the average social networker is an interesting one. According to Nielsen, she is between 18 and 34, likely Asian or Pacific Islander, has obtained a bachelor’s degree, and makes less than $50,000 per year.
Examining the average demographic of users on various sites, several other observations appear:
- 41 percent of Blogger’s audience earns more than $75,000 per year.
- 25 percent of WordPress readers have a bachelor’s degree.
- Female teens are better represented on Tumblr than any other social network.
- 62 percent of page views on Facebook come from female users.
- African Americans are better represented on Twitter than on any other social network.
In comparing active adult social networkers to the average Internet user, Nielsen found them 45 percent more likely to go on a date; 47 percent more likely to be heavy spenders on clothing, shoes and accessories; and 75 percent more likely to spend heavily on music.
“As the influence of social media – and those using social media – continues to grow, it’s crucial for traditional media, retailers, brands and advertisers to understand how different consumer segments use and share content,” according to the report. “Consumers frequently trust the recommendations of their peers, making social media an ideal platform for influencers to spread their ideas and purchase power.”