While previously the race among social networks was for users, now engagement is becoming an increasingly important metric.
Social media takes up a huge amount of time-spend, particularly on mobile, and major properties increasingly want to carve out a bigger slice of that total.
How much time users spend on each social network and how engaged and interactive they are with content there are increasingly important ways of evaluating the sites, both for the social networks themselves and for businesses and advertisers looking at where to devote time and resources.
In a recent report, BI Intelligence calculates an Engagement Index for top major social networks and compares their performance in terms of time-spend per-user on desktop and mobile. We also look at how the different top activities on social media — photo-sharing, status updates, etc. — are indexing in terms of activity, and which sites drive the highest volume in each category.
Here are some of our findings:
- Social is now the top Internet activity: Americans now spend more time on social media than on any other major Internet activity, including email.
- Social-mobile rules: 60% or so of social media time is spent not on desktop computers but on smartphones and tablets.
- Facebook has a monster lead in engagement: Facebook is a terrific absorber of audiences’ time and attention, with an exponential lead over the other social networks. Instagram comes in second and Twitter third on desktop and smartphone combined.
- Pinterest, Tumblr and LinkedIn have made major successful pushes in 2013 to increase engagement on their mobile sites and apps. The new race in social media is not for audience per se, but for multi-device engagement.
- Multi-device social media: Our analysis is based on BI Intelligence’s social media Engagement Index, which compares the effectiveness of social networks in keeping individual users engaged across smartphones and desktop PCs (for an explanation of the Index, sign up for instant access to BI Intelligence).
In full, the report:
- Dives into the engagement numbers for established and emerging social networks, including statistics for time-spend, share of aggregate time-spend, and time-spend per-user.
- Analyses how mobile usage is the engine driving time-spend gains at social networks, which benefits Twitter.
- Explains how streams or news feeds are still creating the stickiest social experiences despite the fact that many social media sites are moving away from the metaphor.
- Discusses how photo-sharing in particular and status updates are still ultra-popular social media activities, but how content creation is also rising and drives impressive engagement.
- Reveals how Pinterest and LinkedIn have championed smartphone and tablet-based usage in the race to drive incremental engagement gains and catch up to Facebook.