[Webinar] How to Boost Your Sales on Social Media 🛍

Join this webinar to discover effective ways to drive traffic and boost sales.

Save your seat

Published December 19th 2012

How We Use Social: Highlights from the Social Media Report 2012

The annual Social Media Report by Nielson and NM Incite has now been published and it contains some fascinating insights into social media and internet usage, and how it has changed, over the last year.

We’ve rounded up what we think are the most interesting points below (note data is from July 2011- July 2012 and is US only):

We’re still loving the internet, and show no signs of stopping

  • The total time spent online in the US is up 21%
  • PCs are still the device used the most for internet access, but the audience using them is down 4% year-on-year
  • Those aged 18-24 spend the most time using PCs for social networking out of all age groups, whereas ages 25-34 spend the most time on mobile than other groups

Mobile is still growing

  • Mobile web usage is up 82% since July last year, and mobile app usage is up 85%
  • Social apps are particularly popular, with consumers increasing their social app time by 76%, and spending more than seven times more minutes on apps than on mobile web
  • We still use computers most often for social media use – 94% of people use PCs, but other devices are also increasing – notably tablets, which are used by 16% of people, up from 3% last year

Social networking dominates our online activity

  • Social networks still dominate internet usage, with 20% of PC time and 30% of mobile time spent on them: over any other category of site
  • Facebook dominates that, with 17% of PC time spent on the site
  • Females spend more time social networking than males, spending an average of 8.37 minutes social networking on PCs and 9.43 minutes on mobile web and apps, compared to 6.13 and 6.44 minutes for men

The top social networks are the usual suspects, but others are closing in

  • Facebook still tops social networks as the most used, but was down 4% year-on-year
  • Second is Blogger, also down, by 3%
  • Twitter is now the third biggest social network, up 13% from the previous year
  • Pinterest grew 1,047% and is now more used than Google+, and Myspace
  • LinkedIn usage remained static this year

We use social networking sites everywhere, all the time

  • People aged 25-34 are most likely to use social media in the office, with over half saying they do so
  • Nearly a third of 18-24 year-olds use social media in the bathroom
  • It’s easy to see why we love social: 76% of people felt positive after participating in social networking, and key words used were ‘connected’ and ‘informed’

We’re still mainly connecting with those we know in the ‘real world’

  • Knowing someone was the top reason for connecting with someone online, followed by ‘interested in keeping up’ and mutual friends
  • Other reasons included quality of profile photo, and a person’s physical attractiveness, both of which were reason more for men than women
  • Professional benefits were also a consideration, with access to business networks and a person’s number of connections both benefits listed

Dual screening is now the norm

  • 41% of tablet owners and 38% of smartphone owners use their device daily while watching TV
  • The majority of this time is spent social networking, but people are also shopping and looking up relevant programme and product info
  • Nearly a quarter of those aged 18-34 use social media to comment on the storyline while watching TV
  • During June 2012, a third of Twitter users tweeted about TV-related content

Customer service online is more important than ever

  • 47% of social media users engage in ‘social care’, meaning that customer service via social media is imperative for brands
  • One in three social media users prefer social care to contacting a company by phone; 18-24 year-olds are the most likely age group to prefer this
  • Facebook is the most common platform used to seek out customer service, followed by company blogs and then Twitter
  • But they’re not always going direct to the company – 28% use their own personal Facebook page to complain, and 14% use their own Twitter handle without actually mentioning the company’s @ name (more than the 13% that actually do mention the company)
  • 53% of social media users compliment brands at least once a month, whilst 50% express concerns or complaints
  • 70% of users hear others’ experiences with brands at least once a month

We don’t like social ads, but still engage with them

  • 33% of people agreed that ads on social networks are more annoying than other ads
  • But, social ‘likes’ are the most common action taken after seeing a social ad
  • 17% said that they felt more connected to brands seen on social networking sites
  • 26% said they are more likely to pay attention to an ad that has been posted by one of their acquaintances
  • 26% don’t mind being targeted to them based on their profile info

You can read the full report here.

Do any of these stats surprise you? What are your predictions for next year’s report?


Share this post
Brandwatch Bulletin

Offering up analysis and data on everything from the events of the day to the latest consumer trends. Subscribe to keep your finger on the world’s pulse.

Get the data
facets Created with Sketch.
facets-bottom Created with Sketch.
New: Consumer Research

Harness the power of digital consumer intelligence

Consumer Research gives you access to deep consumer insights from 100 million online sources and over 1.4 trillion posts.

Falcon.io is now part of Brandwatch.
You're in the right place!

Existing customer?Log in to access your existing Falcon products and data via the login menu on the top right of the page.New customer?You'll find the former Falcon products under 'Social Media Management' if you go to 'Our Suite' in the navigation.

Paladin is now Influence.
You're in the right place!

Brandwatch acquired Paladin in March 2022. It's now called Influence, which is part of Brandwatch's Social Media Management solution.Want to access your Paladin account?Use the login menu at the top right corner.