Nielsen Reports 17% of Internet Time is Devoted to Social Networks & Blogs

nielsenThe Nielsen Company today reported that time spent on social network and blogging sites accounted for 17 percent of all time spent on the Internet in August 2009, nearly triple the percentage of time spent on the sector a year ago.

“This growth suggests a wholesale change in the way the Internet is used,” said Jon Gibs, vice president, media and agency insights, Nielsen’s online division. “While video and text content remain central to the Web experience – the desire of online consumers to connect, communicate and share is increasingly driving the medium’s growth.”

Online Display Ad Spending on Top Social Network Sites More than Doubles in August 2009. Year-over-year, estimated online advertising spend on the top social network and blogging sites increased 119 percent, from approximately $49 million in August 2008 to approximately $108 million in August 2009. The share of estimated spend on these sites has also grown, increasing from a seven percent share of total online ad spend in August 2008 to a 15 percent share in August 2009.

While several industries decreased their overall online ad spend year-over-year in August, spending on the top social network sites increased across the board. The Entertainment Industry led in growing its online ad dollars, increasing ad spending on the top social network sites by 812 percent in August. Travel advertisers followed suit, increasing their ad spend on these sites by 364 percent.

“In the past, advertisers had significant concerns with social media advertising,” said Gibs. “The considerable increases we’ve seen in ad spending over the past year suggest that many of these concerns have subsided or been addressed. In particular, advertisers that want to connect with core fan bases, such as movie studios, are allocating more and more dollars to online communities like Facebook and MySpace, where they can engage in an ongoing dialog with their target market.”

Chart 1: Year-over-Year Percent Change in Online Advertising Spend by Industry (U.S., August 2009)

Estimated Spend on Top Social Network Sites*

Year-over-Year Percent Growth

Industry

Aug-08

Aug-09

On Social Network Sites*

On All Sites

Entertainment

$1,097,700

$10,012,800

812%

40%

Travel

$473,700

$2,198,200

364%

-11%

Business to Business

$683,400

$1,941,700

184%

-8%

Automotive

$1,110,200

$3,085,800

178%

-26%

Health

$1,131,500

$2,754,900

143%

8%

Web Media

$11,231,800

$26,855,700

139%

30%

Software

$526,400

$1,202,500

128%

-29%

Financial Services

$3,233,900

$6,415,900

98%

-10%

Public Services

$6,836,500

$13,203,100

93%

13%

Telecommunications

$12,449,500

$23,550,300

89%

-1%

Consumer Goods

$1,913,400

$3,349,200

75%

8%

Hardware & Electronics

$654,000

$1,022,900

56%

-47%

Retail Goods & Services

$8,101,400

$12,556,800

55%

-12%

Source: Nielsen AdRelevance

*Estimated spend on social networking sites is based off of data for the top ad-supported member community sites ranked by unique visitors in August 2009

Facebook.com Draws Advertisers in Most Industries
The growth of social networking sites has been fueled in part by the explosive growth of Facebook, and it is to this site that many industries head when planning their online ad dollars. In August 2009, Facebook was the No. 1 social networking site advertised on by 10 of the 13 industries when ranked by display ad impressions, while Myspace.com led in the other three industries (see Chart 2).

Chart 2: Top Social Networking Site Advertised on By Industry Ranked by Display Ad Impressions for August 2009 (U.S.)

Industry

Social Networking Site

Automotive

Facebook

Business to Business

Facebook

Consumer Goods

Facebook

Entertainment

MySpace

Financial Services

MySpace

Hardware & Electronics

MySpace

Health

Facebook

Public Services

Facebook

Retail Goods & Services

Facebook

Software

Facebook

Telecommunications

Facebook

Travel

Facebook

Web Media

Facebook

Source: Nielsen AdRelevance

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Tarek is the founder and chief researcher at Youngberry, a youth research and marketing firm dedicated to the region. Tarek founded interactiveME.com and previously worked as Manager at Flip Media (Interactive Agency), Bayt.com (Job Site) and Consulting House Qatar (Consulting firm). He is researcher and writer on internet & disruptive innovation, entrepreneurship, and youth culture.