Obsessed with Facebook? You’re not alone. The hours you spend logging on to update your status, post photos, and make comments on friends’ walls is not simply a “phase” you’re going through which will end sometime soon. It’s a ongoing trend affecting everyone these days and it has serious implications for the online advertising industry.
According to new figures from Nielsen, the amount of time spent surfing social networking and blogging sites had tripled since last year, suggesting “a wholesale change in the way the Internet is used,” says Jon Gibs, VP of media and agency insights at the company’s online division.
As of August 2009, the time spent on social networking and blogging sites accounts for 17% of the total time spent online, a number up from 6% from a year ago. This change reflects a growing desire for people to stay connected with each other, communicate and share, reports Nielsen.
Advertisers Taking Notice
While for consumers, hitting up Facebook for a daily dose of socializing is just par for the course nowadays, this change in consumer behavior has had dramatic impact on the online advertising industry. Where before, advertisers were somewhat wary of social media properties, they’re now spending more than ever for prominent spots on social networking sites. Even as companies decreased their overall ad expenditures, they increased their spend on top social networks and blogs – up 119% from last year. ($108 million in August 2009 up from $49 million in August 2008). And when broken down by category, the increases are even more dramatic. The entertainment industry, for example, has increased spending by 812% year-over-year on social network sites and the travel industry increased spending by 364%.
When it comes to which sites advertisers choose, there’s no doubt that Facebook is currently the king. Ten out of thirteen industries analyzed by Nielsen listed Facebook as advertisers’ number one choice when ranked by display ad impressions. The only industries where MySpace still ruled were Entertainment, Financial Services, and Hardware & Electronics.
Those findings seem to mostly support what a study from earlier this year said about MySpace’s demographics. Namely, MySpace users are more focused on entertainment than those on other networks and have the lowest average income (hence the need for financial services). However, it’s LinkedIn users who are the most interested in gadgets said the study, so the Hardware and Electronic ad spend on MySpace is a bit surprising. We suppose that’s simply because the number of MySpace users dwarfs that of LinkedIn. Well that, and the fact that these days “Entertainment” means TVs, game consoles, and other techie gadgets.
For a full look at the dollars spent by category, check out Nielsen’s full report.