Nielsen Social Media Report 2012: What You Need to Know

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Nielsen just published their social media report for 2012 and, as can be expected, things are changing. The stalwart staples continue to stand, but there are a few newcomers that have exploded out of the gate with staggering user figures. Our usage of social media continues to grow, but the way we access it is experiencing a subtle shift. However, the possibilities remain to become more engaged with consumers as they continue to supplement, and in some cases replace, old media with new.

While I highly recommend looking through the report, here are a few of the findings that really stood out to me.

Mobile is Key. Mobile web and app use continues to grow exponentially, with the amount of people using both nearly doubling in the period between July 2011 to July 2012. Meanwhile, the amount of desktop computer users fell by four percent. While the overall user base for desktops remains the largest (and there is certainly a huge overlap between the two groups, though they don’t address this in the findings), mobile’s growth cannot be ignored. Additionally, users reported that they spent the majority of their online time on social networks over any other type of site.

Facebook isn’t going anywhere. Yes, Facebook’s stumbles in the stock market sure was interesting news, but it’s still the juggernaut of the social media space. Facebook dominated as the most visited social network in the PC, Mobile App, and Mobile Web categories. In fact, those lists did not change too much in order of the usual suspects. Twitter and Blogger followed shortly thereafter in the PC and Mobile Web categories, and then LinkedIn, Google+, and all the rest came in with fairly similar numbers. People spent the most time on Facebook, and it had by far the largest amount of users. Overall, between the three categories, users spent a combined 93.3 billion minutes on Facebook over the surveyed year. Keep those Facebook Pages updated, folks.

Who is using Pinterest? You. Or at least, you should be. Pinterest kind of came out of nowhere and amassed a huge audience in an incredibly short amount of time. The virtual pinboard is one of the most visually stimulating sites on the net, and it’s worth your time. Why? To reach the nearly 30 million users on PC, 14 million on Mobile, and 5 million on apps.

Ads on Social Media are only going to grow, but the way they are spread may change. A third of social media users expressed annoyance with ads on social network sites, however a quarter stated they were more likely to pay attention to ads that had been posted or shared by friends online. It seems as though the ideal way of spreading ads continues to be through engagement. One thing's for sure, with the growth of the user base and the sheer amount of time spent on social networks, advertising on them is only going to increase.

Again, this just barely scratches the surface of the information covered in the report, but these were some of the more striking results, in my opinion. I encourage you to check it out for yourself if you haven’t, and share your thoughts! I’m definitely looking forward to seeing where we are in the social media space a year from now.

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