Tuesday, 10 March 2009

The impact of social networking

According to new research by Nielsen, social networking has now overtaken e-mail as the most popular Internet activity. As reported by AdWeek, the active reach measure used by Nielsen's online panels shows that "member communities" now exceed e-mail participation by 67% to 65%. What's more, the reach of social networking and blogging venues is growing at twice the rate of other large drivers of Internet use such as portals, e-mail and search.

The Nielsen survey predicts that this shift to social activity online would have profound effects on marketers and publishers. For publishers, social networks are eating into time spent with other online activities and for advertisers, the rapid growth of this sector represents mostly unfulfilled promise for a deeper connection with consumers who are more difficult to reach in social environments.

The use of social media includes communication methods that are taking traffic away from the traditional portals and email hubs. Nielsen found that two-thirds of the world's Internet users visited a social networking site in 2008 and social media now accounts for almost 10% of Internet time. Facebook continues to lead the market worldwide, with monthly visits by three out of 10 Internet users in nine global markets monitored by Nielsen. This growth in social media is not confined to the U.S. as the report charts comparable or higher growth for Australia, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom.

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