Social Media

Social Media Pervasive and Dominant Among Online Users

Social media networks are playing an increasingly critical role in both our business and personal lives. This phenomenal growth has changed the way we consume and made a huge impact on commerce and media.

Social media’s reach continues to grow, with three in four online adults (73%) now using at least one social networking site. We spend more time on social networking than anything else: it accounts for 29% of all time we spend online when we’re on the computer, and almost 2/3 (64%) of social media users say they visit a social networking site daily through their computer.

Share of Average Time Spent per Day on Select Digital Activites by U.S. Adults, 2010-2013

hrs:mins and % of total

  2010 2011 2012 2013
Online 2:22 2:33 2:27 2:19
—Social Networking 17.5% 22.9% 26.3% 28.8%
—Video 4.2% 8.5% 16.3% 18.0%
Smartphone 0:10 0:22 0:43 1.07
—Social Networking 10.3% 18.1% 23.1% 28.4%
—Video 9.0% 9.2% 12.0%
Tablet 0:01 0:12 0:40 1:03
—Social Networking 0.0% 8.0% 13.0% 19.0%
—Video 8.3% 10.0% 19.0%

Note: ages 18+; time spent with each medium includes all time spent with that medium regardless of multitasking: for example, 1 hour of multitasking online while on a mobile device is counted as 1 hour for internet and 1 hour for mobile; *includes all internet activities on desktop and laptop computers Source: eMarketer, July 2013 

Sources: Pew Research 2013, eMarketer 7-14, Nielsen 2014.

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Facebook Leads Far Ahead of Other Social Media Sites

Facebook remains the dominant social platform, with 71% of online adults using the site compared to less than a quarter of the population for all other platforms.

Social Media Sites 2012-2013

Facebook also has a high engagement level: 63% of Facebook users visit the site at least once a day, and 40% use Facebook multiple times per day. Instagram and Twitter users also exhibit high engagement, with 57% of Instagram users visiting at least once a day (35% multiple times) and 46% of Twitter users visiting daily (29% multiple times).
Source: Pew Research Center 2013

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Businesses Develop Their Social Media Presence

Businesses have realized the value of engagement on social media: In 2010, 71% of companies had dedicated social media staff, and presumably the percentage is even higher today. A new eMarketer report entitled “Social Commerce: Influencing Shoppers and Assisting Sales” says that social media is an opportunity for “for engagement, brand awareness and influence that unquestionably affect sales.” Accordingly, ad spending on social networks continues to grow, with social’s share climbing to 10% of digital ad spending in 2013.

Social Network Ad Spending Worlldwide, by region, 2012-2015

% of digital ad spending

  2012 2013 2014 2015
North America 8.5% 9.8% 11.1% 12.2%
Latin America 7.0% 8.5% 9.1% 9.6%
Western Europe 6.4% 7.1% 7.6% 8.4%
Central & Eastern Europe 5.6% 7.0% 7.4% 8.0%
Asia Pacific 5.7% 6.7% 7.3% 8.4%
Middle East & Africa 4.3% 4.9% 5.8% 6.8%
Worldwide 7.0% 8.1% 8.9% 9.9%

Note: Includes display, search, video and other forms of paid advertising appearing within social networks, social games and social applications; excludes spending by marketers that goes toward developing or maintaining social network profile pages or branded applications. Source: eMarketer, Sep 2013 

Sources: Econsultancy, eMarketer 2/10/14 & 12/11/13

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Majority of News Stations Now Incorporate Social Media

A survey of local TV stations by Syracuse University reveals the growing importance of social media for local news. Almost all stations use social media for newsgathering, mostly through Facebook (98%) and Twitter (97%). Social media also makes it much easier for local newsrooms to find sources for a story in a matter of minutes, in contrast to past requests for sources slowly trickling down through personal networks via word of mouth. The survey asked whether a source or information from social media sites had ended up being reported on air or online, and found that 86% of stations reported yes for Facebook, and 67% said yes for Twitter.

Social media can also serve to gauge interest in a story, and about half of stations surveyed (55%) agreed that social media has affected news coverage. Reporter Amy Wood, who has been at WSPA for 21 years, says that social media gives her a leg up in covering stories that matter to viewers. “It creates a lot more passion about viewing and the brand in general,” she says. “I have never felt more connected to my audience in terms of what they care about.”

Local newsrooms have seen beneficial effects from social media, across the board. 80% agree that social media has enhanced newsrooms’ reporting of local stories, and almost all (90%) say that social media has improved interaction with viewers. Nancy Loo, a Chicago reporter at Tribune’s flagship WGN, declares that all reporters should be engaging on social media: “It takes 15 seconds to tweet. The job has changed, and this is just part of the job now.”

Sources:, Syracuse University “Facebook and Twitter in the Newsroom: How and Why Local Television News is Getting Social With Viewers”

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Why Does Local Media Need Social Media?

"Since 2002, every news outlet’s believability rating has suffered a double-digit drop, except for local daily newspapers and local TV news.

AR&D Principal and Senior VP of Multimedia Innovation Jim Willi says the big difference maker in these kinds of studies is the "personal relationship between local news anchors and their audience." "Even less-tenured local TV newscasters can form a more trusting bond by being highly engaged in social media, he says.” To do this, they must do more than just send an occasional Tweet or post something on Facebook. They must engage the audience in meaningful, and frequent conversations using social media."
Source: TVNewsCheck, September 3, 2012

Click here to read more about local social media news and trends and to see unique ways local broadcast television stations use social media to connect with consumers, on air, online & on the go.

Click here to see more social media insights on major brands and retailers, TV shows and consumer trends.


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