Facebook Racks Up 53.5 Billion U.S. User Minutes in May
Facebook had 140.3 million U.S. adult visitors last May, when the social networking site reached 70 percent of all active U.S. Internet users, according to a new Nielsen report. Moreover, U.S. adults collectively spent nearly 53.5 billion minutes on Facebook during the month, the firm's researchers said.
With respect to the sheer amount of time users spent at the website last May, Facebook dramatically outperformed Yahoo (17.2 billion minutes), Google (12.5 billion minutes), AOL (11.4 billion minutes), Windows Live (9.5 billion minutes, including visits to MSN and Bing), and YouTube (9.1 billion minutes). And in the social networking category, Facebook bested its nearest rival Blogger (723.8 million minutes).
Nielsen noted that emerging social-media player Tumblr nearly tripled its audience during May in comparison with the year-earlier period. Still, the new report underlines just how powerful Facebook has become with respect "to connecting people with just about everything they watch and buy," Nielsen researchers said.
Overall, social networks and blogs accounted for nearly a quarter of the total number of minutes that adult Americans spent on the Internet -- and with 53 percent of active adult social networkers following a specific brand. Nielsen also observed that nearly 40 percent of social-media users were accessing social-media content from their mobile phones.
Influencing Purchase Decisions
The value of the time consumers spend online and on social networks and blogs is most visible through the inﬂuence on purchase decisions, Nielsen observed.
"For instance, 60 percent of those who use three or more digital means of research for product purchases learned about a speciﬁc brand or retailer from a social networking site," Nielsen researchers wrote in a new report. And within this group, 48 percent "responded to a retailer's offer posted on Facebook or Twitter."
In comparison to the average Internet surfer, active social-media users are 75 percent more likely to spend heavily on music. Nielsen also noted that active social-media users are 47 percent more likely to be heavy spenders on clothing, shoes and accessories.
Additionally, older American adults are becoming more of a social-media force. According to Nielsen's latest survey, the highest year-over-year growth rate (109 percent) among U.S. mobile handset users involved in social networking involved users who were 55-plus years of age.
Inexpensive Ad Investments
Forrester Research predicts that advertisers will spend $77 billion on interactive marketing by 2016, which is equivalent to what advertisers spend on television ads today. So as the influence of social media -- and those using social media -- continues to grow, traditional media, retailers, brands and advertisers need to understand how different consumer segments use and share content.
Search marketing, display advertising, mobile marketing, email marketing, and social media will grow to 26 percent of all advertising spend within the next five years, predicted Forrester Research Vice President Shar VanBoskirk.
"Search marketing will continue to own the largest portion of the interactive marketing pie," VanBoskirk wrote in a blog. "But its overall share will decline as marketers shift search spend into biddable display investments, mobile marketing, and even social media."
Social media marketing is expected to grow moderately as advertisers invest in integrated social-media campaigns like Facebook gifts or sponsored conversations, social assets development and social-media management technologies. "None of these investments are actually very expensive," VanBoskirk said.
What's more, social networking has become a global phenomenon of major importance to multinational companies. "Across a sample of 10 global markets, social networks and blogs are the top online destination in each country, accounting for the majority of time spent online and reaching at least 60 percent of active Internet users," Nielsen researchers wrote in a blog.