Three Social Media Statistics You Need to Know

Here at Mopdog, we get asked about social media everyday it seems. Clients want to know all about it; what it is, how it works and why they should use it. They want to know about blogging and Facebook and Twitter and how it all fits together with other marketing fronts. One thing is certain, this newfangled thing called social media is making waves.

A new study tracking online user trends released by Nielsen finally puts some hard numbers behind what everyone suspected: social media is the next big thing. Compiled from data gathered from December 2007 to December 2008, it reveals a few surprising details:

1. Social media is now more popular than personal email
According to Nielsen, social networks and blogs are now the fourth most popular online activity – rocketing ahead of personal email for the very first time – putting it just behind searches, general interest sites and PC software. Overall, it accounts for almost 10% of online time, globally.

2. Time spent on social networking sites grew at three times internet growth
That’s a staggering statistic. What’s more, the insight behind the statistic is even better. People aren’t only visiting social media sites in a greater number, they’re visiting those sites – and staying longer. The numbers show they’re poking around and exploring content, and overall seem more engaged online than ever before. For businesses looking to take advantage of the social media space, this is an encouraging statistic.

3. Social media isn’t just for the young’uns
As social media becomes more mainstream and the early adopters give way to the majority, we see an expansion in audience ages; a trend that will certainly continue. Facebook, which saw an increase in traffic of 566% in 2008, reports that the greatest overall growth came from the 35-49 crowd. Even more surprising is that Facebook added almost twice as many 50-64 year-old users as under 18 users. The Facebook phenomenon, while remarkable in itself, is an indicator of the overall social media expansion. And this tell-tale statistic means that businesses’ ability to effectively reach customers will continue to expand as well.

All signs point to a solid future for social media on the mantle of marketing. The statistics are very exciting, and will give businesses another tool in the marketing tool belt. As it matures and marketing methods become more polished and effective, look for breakout companies to define and standardize the role of social media. But until then, it’s anybody’s game.

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