Social Media By the Numbers

While the importance and efficacy of “social media” continues to be debated by people across the marketing landscape, most will agree that it is a tricky medium on which to get a good grasp. Finally, however, there are cold, hard numbers that we life science marketers can hold tight.

Nielsen Media Research (yes, of Nielsen TV ratings fame) crunched the numbers and unearthed some insightful statistics and trends shed light on social media as an effective marketing channel. Social networks and blog sites are here to stay, and their importance is growing. Want more proof? Read on…

Today, nearly 80 percent of US Internet users visit social media sites. Taken as a group, these sites dominate the majority of our time online: nearly a quarter of our entire time spent on the Internet. This is more than twice the amount spent on the next category (online gaming).
While social networking generally skews female (9 of the top 10 sites), LinkedIn is the main exception — where men account for the majority of users.
Not surprisingly, Facebook dominates the social sphere — far eclipsing all other networks & blogs in terms of time spent on site (53,457,258,000 minutes a month, to be exact). What is stunning is that US Internet users spend more time of Facebook than on any other website (including Google, Yahoo, AOL, Microsoft & Apple).
Not only is social media on the rise, generally — but mobile social media usage is increasing at an even quicker rate, with nearly 40 percent of users now accessing these services through a mobile device. Both social media app usage & mobile internet browser usage have increased: 30 percent and 47 percent respectively, over the past year alone.
Another big trend in social media is video. Over 31 million US users watched 157 million video streams through social media sites over the course of a month this year. Noteworthy is that although more women view more videos than men, men tend to watch for longer periods of time.
While Facebook and Twitter get most of the social media “buzz,” blogging sites, have seen a meteoric rise in popularity recently. Tumblr, in particular, has nearly tripled its user base over the last year.
Interestingly, Nielsen pinpointed the average American social networker — an 18-34 female, of Asian decent, with at least a bachelor’s degree, who makes under $50K per year and who hails from New England.

Those are powerful numbers. The bottom-line: active social media users are influential. 60 percent of social media users review products and services online with research that shows consumer-created reviews and ratings are the preferred source of information about product/service value, price and quality. Therefore, social media is an ideal platform for peer reviews and recommendations — allowing influencers (including brands) to spread their ideas and purchase power.

With numbers like these, it is pretty difficult to think that social media is just a passing fad.