Mobile social media use booms in US

5 December 2012

NEW YORK: Over 80m people in the US now access social media services using the mobile internet and apps, almost doubling uptake levels from last year, a study has shown.

Nielsen and NMIncite, the research bodies, stated that 85.8m people had logged on to social sites via an app in July, and 81.1m did so through the mobile web, a lift from 44.8m and 43m in turn 12 months earlier. The PC user base grew by 8.2m to 171.8m.

Collectively, the social media population dedicated 121.1bn minutes to this platform in July 2012, up from 88.4bn minutes on an annual basis.

A 61% share of the time spent on this activity in July 2012 was attributable to PCs, followed by apps on 34% and the mobile internet with just 5%, according to the analysis.

Fully 94% of the social media audience entered these services from a PC, ahead of mobile phones on 46% and tablets on 16%. Online-enabled television sets yielded 4% here, versus 2% in 2011.

Facebook recorded the highest amount of visitors from a PC, on 152.2m, although this marked a 4% annual decrease. Blogger was also down by 3% to 58.5m, but Twitter saw a 13% increase to 37m.

Elsewhere, Facebook attracted 78m apps users in July 2012, an 88% leap from 2011, while its mobile web figures improved by 85% to 74.2m.

Second place in this area went to Twitter, with an app audience of 22.6m, a jump of 134% year on year. The microblog's mobile web user base stood at 42.3m, an expansion of 140%.

Exactly one third of social media users polled by Nielsen agreed that ads featured on social media platforms were "more annoying" than those they viewed on other categories of website.

An additional 26% of respondents were more likely to pay attention to ads posted by their social media contacts. The same number had previously "liked" ads and were willing to receive such brand messages based on their profile data.

Another 14% had purchased products as a result of being exposed to advertising on social sites, and 15% had actively shared these communications.

More broadly, Nielsen said 44% of tablet owners and 38% of smartphone subscribers accessed social media on these devices while watching television every day. Over 33% of Twitter users had also "tweeted" about TV-related content as of June 2012.

Data sourced from Nielsen; additional content by Warc staff