10 Ways Social Media Continues to Expand Its Reach, Influence & Impact

By eleventy marketing group

Americans spent 121 billion minutes on social media sites in July 2012The first six words of a recent Nielsen report say it all: “Social Media Is Coming of Age”. What does that mean exactly? It means social media is no longer in its infancy, having grown to be an integral part of our everyday lives. With rapid adoption and expansion over the past decade, social media has become a vital communication tool. And there’s no end in sight. Social media continues to expand its reach and eat up more of our online minutes.

The Social Media Report 2012 provides the numbers to back it up. The new report looks at what’s driving social media’s continued growth, how consumer use of social media is evolving, and how social media is impacting marketing. Perhaps the most eye-popping number in the report is 121 billion – the number of minutes Americans spent on social media sites in July 2012. An article in The Washington Post noted that works out to “about 230,060 years spent posting, liking and tweeting”. In summary: Wow.

Here Are Ten More Jaw-Dropping Stats from the Nielsen 2012 Social Media Report:

Consumers spend more time on social networks than on any other category of sites – roughly 20% of their total time online via computer and 30% via mobile

Total time spent on social media in the U.S. increased 37% to 121 billion minutes in July 2012 – compared to 88 billion in July 2011

Consumers’ time spent with social media on mobile apps and the mobile web has increased 63% in 2012, compared to the same period last year

Facebook remains the most-visited social network in the U.S. via computer (152.2 million visitors), mobile apps (78.4 million) and mobile Web (74.3 million) – multiple times the size of the next largest social site

Facebook is also the top U.S. Web brand in terms of time spent, as some 17% of time spent online via personal computer is on Facebook

Pinterest emerged as the breakout star of social media in 2012, boasting the largest year-over-year increase in both audience and time spent of any social network across PC, mobile Web and apps

51% of people aged 25-34 use social networking in the office – more than any other age group

1 in 3 social media users prefer social care (customer service via social media) to contacting a company by phone

65% of users learn more about brands/products/services at least once a month via social media sites

53% of social media users compliment brands at least once a month via social sites

How Social Media Is Impacting Marketing

With more people accessing social media through mobile devices and new social sites sprouting up by the dozens, social media continues to gain more weight and influence in consumers’ lives. The immediate dissemination of information paired with the instant connection to individuals/brands social media provides have had a profound impact on marketing.

The Nielsen Social Media Report 2012 notes:

  • Social media enables consumers to generate and tap into the opinions of an exponentially larger universe
  • Social media is transforming the way that consumers across the globe make purchasing decisions
  • Consumer attitudes toward advertising on social media are still evolving
  • Social media has fundamentally changed the consumer decision journey

Consumers are turning to social media more and more when selecting brands, making purchasing decisions, and seeking customer service. As a result, brands need to keep their fingers on the pulse of social media and make an active effort to engage with and respond to consumers via social sites. Take the opportunity to get involved in the conversation. If you don’t, the conversation will go on without you.