Social Media is on the rise more than ever. Recently, Donanza Research announced that money spent for Social Media will exceed search by the end of the year.

This week, Nielson has released their latest Social Media report for the third quarter of 2011. Whilst a few of the findings come intuitively, some stats are quite suprising. Similarily to some Twitter stats we uncovered a few weeks back, there is a lot to learn from these figures.

The key takeaway was that Social Media continues to dominate internet traffic in all measurements. Whether it is to watch, interact or buy, Social Media is the channel in use to get information needed.

I went through the report and picked the 6 most interesting facts I found:


1.) Females Are Most Active Social Networkers Buffer this

I found this to be one of the most interesting finds from the survey. Even more striking is that females account for 62% of all Facebook pageviews according to Nielson. If sorted by age group people between 18-34 years old were the most active people on Social Networks.

Interestingly, there are 2 networks for which male users dominate. On LinkdedIn and Wikia, men are more likely to log on than females each day.


2.) 23% Of All Time Spent Online Happens on Social Networks and Blogs Buffer this

Close to a quarter of all our time we end up visiting Facebook, Twitter and other Social Networking sites, together with blogs and news sites. Second in line here is online gaming, that however only accounts for 9% of time spent.

The most important part here is that time spent is a lot more valuable than users. Twitter’s latest usage stats have also started to move away from overall users, to daily people signing in. Which Social Network is the stickiest one for you?


3.) Internet Users Spend More Time On Facebook, Than On Any Other Web Brand Combined Buffer this

When Mark Zuckerberg mentioned that Facebook doesn’t care about how many users, but how much time each of them spend on the site, it seems that there work is paying off. Over 53.5 billion minutes have been spent by US Facebook users in May 2011.

What strikes me the most that this is more than on any other online brand combined, beating the likes of Twitter, LinkedIn and Tumblr with ease.


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4.) More Women Watch Video On Social Networks, But Men Watch Longer Buffer this

Have you tapped into video marketing yet? If not, these figures might help to get you started. The survey found that women start streaming a lot more videos on Social Network but lose interest a lot faster.

Whereas men, only commit to watching a video if it makes sense to them. This of course leads to men watching longer and spending more time with few videos.


5.) Active Social Media Users Are Influential Offline Buffer this

This is one of the most surprising stats for me. The argument Nielson develops with their data is quite compelling though. Active Social Media users have developed a strong sense of networking and know how to speak up for themselves.

They are more likely to write reviews for restaurants and other offline experiences and become more proficient in the offline world through this. If you are looking for a way to make the best use of this, then you can take a look at Klout’s latest experiment: You are only allowed to attend an offline event if your Klout score is 40 or higher.



6.) Social Networking Sites Reach 60% Of Global Internet Users Buffer this

The last figure might appear quite obvious, but real data for these claims, that many have in their heads is still very powerful. In over 10 Global Markets the analysis has shown that Social Networking sites are reaching 60% of active Internet users.

This holds true for example for countries like Brazil, where Orkut dominates, or Japan, where the site FC2 blog is visited by over half of Japanese users.

What are your thoughts on the state of Social Media. Is this only the start? Or is this the peak time of Social Media already?


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Written by Leo Widrich

Co-founder and COO at Buffer. I enjoy working on company culture, customer development and marketing. For more personal posts, check out leostartsup.

  • This is a very interesting read.

    • Hi @twitter-132368813:disqus , awesome, so glad you like it! 🙂 

  • Bronwyn

    A very interesting read Leo – I like the way you have presented the data. I got a gem out of each of the six points! Australia still struggles with social media in some respect.
    I would love to interview you guys. I really enjoyed your interview with Calvin Lee – he is a fantastic bloke I know through Twitter! Buffer is a brilliant app & I make reference to it in some of the resources I am currently producing.
    Keep on creating & having fun!

    • Hi @cd90480c613874d67b783bf82e70add1:disqus , great to see you here.

      Awesome, would love to do an interview with you anytime. 

      So glad you like Buffer and yes @MayhemStudios is a rockstar, amazing to be in touch with him!

  • Anonymous

    Can’t say I totally agree with all of these.  Females may be the most active on Facebook but they’ve also shown that most of that is spent playing games like Farmville.  Not something everyone would consider to be social media, they’re just games that happen to be on a social media site.

    • Haha, that’s a great point, totally agree! Also, my experience was that females normally network a lot better, I have to work on that. 

      • Anonymous

        That’s true.  They do seem to have a much easier time sharing personal information with everyone even if it is a million pictures of their kids that only they and possibly the grandparents care about.  Mothers: We don’t care about “the cutest thing” your kid did today, it’s not cute to anyone but you.

  • I’m intrigued that one can measure time spent on a website when the World Wide Web is supposed to be a stateless medium.

    • Hi Jeffery, great point, I think Nielson used various parameter to come up with these results. Not sure exactly which. 

    • Isec

      Just read Jeffery Rowans comment.  I also agree here.  Many times when I’ve answered surveys.. at that moment I’ll have an answer off the top of my head.  “How many hours online do I spend in a week.”  I might put 5.  But from for the next 3 weeks in a month I might be burned out and just want to vegge in front of my TV set instead of logging on Facebook.  Most of my friends have stopped facebooking even. I see more posts from companies or cities.  Less posts from friends.  We log on to make sure nobody has contacted us (sometimes) but we still have email and phones for that.. but the news feeds get boring after the first reading.  So we log off for several days. 
      As for the games on Facebook.  I have about 30 personal friends I know and talk to in person.  Some of us started out on Farmville and then Cafe World.  A year or 2 ago.  But that’s also about the time we stopped playing.. a year or 2 ago. After about 2 months of that it’s just boring.  But Nielsen wouldn’t count us 🙂  And in their system 30 people would have to represent a lot of people 🙂  LOL.

      I feel like a jerk Leo.  These are obviously my own opinions, and I really am open to others (as well as this article).
      I’m not being critical for the sake of being critical.  Nothing against you. I’m just critiquing Nielsen, and Arbitron.. I think there’s a study out there called Symantec too.  I got one of their books years ago and filled it half way out, then couldn’t finish because none of it applied. So I put it to the side.  How many more did the same?

      Twitter and Facebook, in my opinion, ARE GOOD for company sites or organizations to advertise whatever they’re trying to sell or promote.  I will pay attention to that stuff.  But that takes about 5 minutes of a persons time to log on, scan the feed, then log back off.  Myself.. I do that, then log back off and channel surf on my couch between Network Local Television, and Cable TV.  

  • Matt


  • Matt

    I wonder if the word “Facts” should be used?  Maybe opinion would be a better choice of a word since Nielsen findings are only from those select who get interviewed.

    • Hi Matt, thanks a lot for getting in touch on this. Yes, that is a great point there, I think statistics always need to be consumed with care!

      • Isec

        I gotta agree with Matt.  Nielsen has been wrong on many findings because of faulty survey findings.  Look at what happened with “Designing Women” in the late 80s or early 90s.  It was cancelled.  But then so many fans wrote in complaining about the shows cancellation, more fans than Neilsen realized.. and the show got picked back up. Another example would be “The Family Guy.” Same exact situation.  Bad ratings from Nielsen, show got canned, more viewers than expected wrote in, show gets picked back up.  There’s a problem with a system like Neilsen (or Arbitron) that says their findings are facts in representing what is being watched. 
        If Nielsen asks JonDoe at address 555 Anywhere Ln. what he’s watching on one night.  Tom-Doe and Bob-Doe in two separate houses in the same neighborhood might be watching something completely different, or channel surfing.  However Nielsen counts JonDoe as a majority representation in an area. 
        Myself.. I was a HEROES Fanatic!  Everybody I know loved that show.  Sure we did have our complaints, but we were still watching and we were all furious when NBC just canned the show giving fans no closure after all that time and money in merchandise we put into it.
        Ratings from any system can also hurt jobs. And that’s a real bad thing, especially when ratings are misrepresnetations.

  • ashutosh nigam

    i am totally agree with all your points………..really interesting

  • ashutosh nigam

    i am totally agree with all your points………..really interesting

  • The Big Dog

    ‘It seems that THERE work is paying off.’ This error makes me want to shoot my face off. Otherwise great read. 

  • chibzzz

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