Social networking time doubles – IM is dying

Social networking has doubled in the last 12 months in the UK, Nielsen has found.

Respondents to the survey indicated that they spent 65 percent more time online in April 2010, than in April 2009 and the big winner of their time was Social networking.

Nearly 23 percent of all time spent online is now taken up with social networking – which is an increase of 14% since 2007, when social networking accounted for just 9 percent of time spent online.

What this report doesn’t tell us though is exactly what people were doing social networks during that increased time. Does it really represent a huge opportunity for marketers to get more engaged access with consumers? Do consumer use social networks as a refuge from, or to engage with marketing, advertising and communications by companies?

Social networks gaining more time

There is no doubt that some of the growth within social networks is being spent on company facebook pages and groups – but what that percentage is at the moment an unknown.

There are two big losers as identified by Nielsen’s report. Instant messaging suffered a devastating drop of 66% year on year and time spent looking for software information and products also dropped by a whopping 36%.

The drop in the latter however could have been replaced somewhat by referrals and online word of mouth through friends – rather than traditional time spent searching for the information.

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