The Nielsen Social Media Report 2012

Posted on December 29, 2012


State of the Media: The Nielsen Social Media Report 2012


Social media and social networking are no longer in their infancy. Since the emergence of the first social
media networks some two decades ago, social media has continued to evolve and offer consumers
around the world new and meaningful ways to engage with the people, events, and brands that matter
to them. Now years later, social media is still growing rapidly and has become an integral part of our
daily lives. Today, social networking is truly a global phenomenon.

What’s driving the continued growth of social media?


More people are using smartphones and tablets to access social media. The personal computer is still
at the centre of the social networking experience, but consumers are increasingly looking to other
devices to connect on social media. Time spent on mobile apps and the mobile web account for 63
percent of the year-over-year growth in overall time spent using social media. Forty-six percent of
social media users say they use their smartphone to access social media; 16 percent say they connect
to social media using a tablet. With more connectivity, consumers have more freedom to use social
media wherever and whenever they want, indoors or outdoors.


New social media sites continue to emerge and catch on. The number of social media networks
consumers can choose from has exploded, and too many sites to count are adding social features or
integration. While Facebook and Twitter continue to be among the most popular social networks,
Pinterest emerged as one of the breakout stars in social media for 2012, boasting the largest
year-over-year increase in both unique audience and time spent of any social network across PC,
mobile web, and apps.

Top Social Networks of 2012

Top Social Networks of 2012

How is consumer usage of social media evolving?


Social TV is on the rise. The skyrocketing adoption and use of social media among consumers is
transforming TV-watching into a more immediate and shared experience. As of June 2012, more than
33 percent of Twitter users had actively tweeted about TV-related content.

Some 44 percent of U.S. tablet owners and 38 percent of U.S. smartphone owners use their devices daily to access social media while watching television. In the Latin America region, more than 50 percent of consumers say theyinteract with social media while watching TV; in the Middle East / Africa region, more than 60 percent do.

From global events like the Summer Olympics, to regional events like the Presidential debates in the U.S., consumers around the world used social media to engage with everyone from close friends to complete strangers, revolutionizing the television viewing experience.


Social Care is transforming customer service. Social media has emerged as an important channel
for customer service, with nearly half of U.S. consumers reaching out directly to brands and service
providers to voice their satisfaction or complaints, or simply to ask questions. In fact, one in three social
media users say they prefer to use social media rather than the phone for customer service issues.

How is social media impacting marketing?


Social media enables consumers to generate and tap into the opinions of an exponentially larger
universe. While word-of-mouth has always been important, its scope was previously limited to the
people you knew and interacted with on a daily basis. Social media has removed that limitation and
given new power to consumers.


Social media is transforming the way that consumers across the globe make purchase decisions.
Consumers around the world are using social media to learn about other consumers’ experiences, find
more information about brands, products and services, and to find deals and purchase incentives.


Consumer attitudes toward advertising on social media are still evolving. Though roughly one-third
of social media users find ads on social networking sites more annoying than other types of Internet
advertisements, research suggest that there are opportunities for marketers to engage with consumers
via social media.

More than a quarter of social media users say they are more likely to pay attention to
an ad shared by one of their social connections. Additionally, more than a quarter of consumers are ok
with seeing ads on social networking sites tailored to them based on their profile information.
Nielsen and NM Incite’s 2012 Social Media Report provides some insight into what is driving our
collective, global obsession with social media.

You can find the full report here