When it comes to tracking consumers’ views on media — traditional, social or otherwise — few companies have a better handle on the current state of affairs than the longtime trend-trackers at Nielsen. So when they publish a report called “State of the Media: The Social Media Report 2012,” rest assured there are plenty of insights to be gained.
As discussed last week, people’s feelings about their interactions in social media are overwhelmingly positive. Beyond that, the report also notes that social media has moved beyond its rudimentary roots and is now being used in new and different ways. Among the takeaways:
People are spending more and more time online: In July 2012, U.S. Internet users spent a total of 520 billion minutes online, a 21% increase from July 2011.
People are spending more of that time online on social media: Social media accounted for 20% of desktop users’ time online and 30% of mobile users’ time, more than any other category of sites.
More people are accessing social media on mobile devices: In July 2012, 81.1 million Americans accessed the Internet via the mobile web, a year-over-year increase of 88%.
More people expect to get customer service via social media: While many businesses still see social media as strictly a marketing channel, more consumers expect companies to provide customer service through it, as well. According to Nielsen, 47% of social media users engage in so-called “social care” and 1 in 3 prefer it to contacting a company by phone.
More time online, more time on social media and more time on mobile devices. Add in consumers’ expanding expectations of what social media can and should be used for and it’s clear that there’s a lot more to it than sharing serial updates and posting funny photos.
As Deirdre Bannon, Nielsen’s social media practice lead, says:
Social media is coming of age. Since the emergence of the first social media networks some two decades ago, it has continued to evolve and offer consumers around the world new and meaningful ways to engage with the people, events and brands that matter to them. Now, years later, it is still growing rapidly and has become an integral part of our daily lives.