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Trends in Online Consumer Behaviour

05 Aug 2010

The time spent on social media has surged 43 per cent in the past year, leading a substantial shift in how communities spend their online time. That time spent online has also sent e-mail to third behind gaming, according to research by Nielsen Co.


The time spent on social media in the U.S. accessed from PCs rose from 15.8 per cent in June 2009 to 22.7 per cent in June 2010, according to Nielsen, while online gaming gained more modestly to 10.2 per cent of online time from 9.3 per cent a year earlier. But that was enough to push gaming past e-mail, which fell to 8.3 per cent of online time spent at the PC from 10.5 per cent a year earlier.


To an extent, separating social-media time from gaming time has become tougher, given that a growing portion of online gaming takes place via Facebook applications, Nielsen analyst Dave Martin acknowledged.


"There's significant overlap there, obviously," Mr. Martin said. "A big part of the expansion of online gaming has been directly attributable to the expansion of online media."


The data also doesn't include mobile web access, which still is predominantly used for e-mail, Mr. Martin said. The shift of e-mail use from PCs to mobile devices accounts for some of the decline of time spent on e-mail at PCs, he said.


Online video and search also scored modest gains in share of online time in the U.S., according to Nielsen. But despite increasing to 3.9 per cent of online time from 3.5 per cent a year earlier, online video time still only averaged an hour and 15 minutes per person per month, an amount of time many people spend with traditional TV on the morning of the first day of the month. YouTube accounted for about 70 per cent of online video time on PCs, Mr. Martin said.


Time spent on internet portals such as Yahoo declined faster than anything but e-mail, according to Nielsen.


Instant messaging also lost share of time at the PC, Mr. Martin said, which was likely a result of increased use of mobile texting in part. Social-media usage also appears to be usurping some of the communications needs once reserved for e-mail and instant messaging, he said.


Source: Advertising Age


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