Well, it’s official. Social networking has finally usurped email as the most popular Internet activity.
Yup, according to a new study released by the good folks at Nielsen, “active reach” in member communities has overtaken email participation by 67% to 65%. Additionally, social networking and blogging are growing at double the rate of any other Internet function, such as searches, portals and even email. Yes, you read that right: email has jumped the shark!
“It’s true,” 24-year-old user killedbydeath. “I never use email anymore. I just hit people up through Facebook or follow ‘em on Twitter. It’s much easier and way better.”
Nielsen says the shift to online social activity will have a big effect on marketers and publishers, who are finding networking eats into time spent with other online activities and leads to a weaker connection with potential online consumers (who are more difficult to reach in social environments). In other words, as social networking zaps up your online time, you spend less time buying and browsing. This means marketers and publishers can’t get to your wallets as quickly if you are busy hanging on Facebook, as opposed to, say, shopping on Amazon or emailing through add-heavy AOL. Get it?
Nielsen found that 2/3 of the world's Internet users visited a social networking site in 2008, and social media now accounts for almost 10% of Internet time. Of course, Facebook is the ringleader -- with monthly visits by three out of 10 Internet users in nine global markets. Three out of 10! That’s beyond impressive…that’s insane! The really crazy part is that Facebook's biggest user increase has come from 35-49 year-olds, adding twice as many 50-64 year-olds as those under 18. Yes, that’s right. Your dad is on Facebook. Maybe even Grampa! Yikes!
So what’s next? How will advertisers keep up with the ever-changing technology and Internet-savvy customer? Well, let’s ask the experts:
"As the online industry matures and the value of online real estate is increasingly measured by time spent, rather than pages viewed, a significant shift in advertising revenue from 'traditional' online media towards social media could be realized -- if the successful ad model can be found," Nielsen said in the report. "Whatever the successful ad model turns out to be, the messaging will have to be authentic and humble, and built on the principle of two-way conversation -- not a push model -- that adds value to the consumer."
So there ya go. Anyone happen to have that model handy? Let’s give it a whirl!