As audiences adopt newer social networks, and people’s social activity becomes increasingly fragmented, other measures besides reach (usually measured in monthly active users) become important. 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.
It’s easy to sign up for yet another social network, and the statistics show many of the newest sites just keep growing. But then the question becomes — how much attention has the latest social network really captured, and are other networks losing engagement as these sites rise?
In a recent report, BI Intelligence looks at how much time social media is now occupying in Internet users’ daily lives and how time-spend is distributed across different networks. We also look at some of the breakout surprises, including the networks that are seeing engagement grow faster than overall audience size. The report identifies what kinds of activities are popular on the different networks, and how compelled users are to participate, rather than to simply scroll their feed. This report complements our popular reports on social media demographics and global audience sizes.
Here are some of our findings:
- Social is now the top Internet activity: Americans spend more time on social media than 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, 114 billion minutes a month in the U.S. alone, on desktop PCs and smartphones. By comparison, Instagram commands 8 billion minutes a month, ahead of Twitter, at just 5.3 billion.
- Facebook attracts roughly seven times the engagement that Twitter does, when looking at both smartphone and PC usage, in per-user terms.
- Snapchat is a smaller network than WhatsApp, but outpaces it in terms of time-spend per user.
- 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 for engagement across all devices.
- While mobile is where people are increasingly consuming social media, the desktop still leads as the place where they are interacting on social networks — posting, sharing, and commenting.
In full, the report:
- Creates engagement indexes comparing established and emerging social networks by time-spend per user, and includes statistics for time-spend, and share of aggregate time-spend.
- Analyses how mobile usage is the engine driving time-spend gains at social networks, which benefits mobile-centric networks like Twitter.
- Explains how streams or news feeds are still creating the stickiest social experiences despite the fact that many social networks 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.