SocNets in the USA: 27% of Online Time; 15% of Mobile Browsing Time

Experian-Share-of-US-Online-Time-by-Category-2012-v-2011-Apr201327% of Americans’ time spent online last year was spent accessing social networking sites and forums, says Experian Marketing Services in newly-released data. That’s the equivalent of 16 minutes of every hour spent online, ahead of time spent with entertainment (9 minutes; 15% share) and shopping (~5 minutes; 9% share). But it isn’t all rosy news for social networking: that 27% share of time spent in the US is actually down from 30% in 2011. Social media’s share of online time also declined in the UK and Australia, by 3% each (to 22% and 24%, respectively).

It’s not clear whether the decrease in share of time spent with social networking sites and forums contributed to a decrease in actual time spent with those sites, as trends in overall internet consumption aren’t part of the Experian data release. But, a recent study from WSL/Strategic Retail found that self-reported time spent with social networks in the US last year decreased by 0.6 hours per week, to 6 hours.

Turning to US browsing data for mobile devices (this time covering Q1 2013), the Experian data reveals that email was the largest category, at 23% of time spent, with social networking accounting for a more muted 15%. Crucially, though, the data does not include application usage, although it does include mobile browsing within an app. A previous report estimated social media to account for 31% of smartphone internet time, although a more recent study from Nielsen was more in line with Experian’s figures, putting social networking and blogs at 20% of online time and 10.2% of mobile time. (The definition of what constitutes social media/networks may be partially to blame for the data inconsistencies.)

According to the latest monthly tracking data from Experian, Facebook dominated all social networking websites and forums in March, to the tune of 58.5% share of US visits, followed by YouTube (24.2%) and Twitter (1.7%).