Internet users all over the world spent 22 percent of their time on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Wikipedia and other such Websites in April, according to new data from Nielsen.
The research firm found social network or blog sites are visited by three-quarters of consumers who visit the Web. Moreover, the average visitor spent almost 6 hours on these social Websites in April 2010 compared to 3 hours, 31 minutes during April 2009.
This bodes well for advertisers and the free social networks trying to make money from their users' rampant use of their walled gardens to trade and share links, photos, videos and other information.
This goes especially for Facebook, where roughly 500 million users spent an average of 6 hours in April, blowing away all comers in terms of duration of engagement. The next closest was MSN/WindowsLive/Bing, where people spent 2 hours and 41 minutes on those three Websites.
People spent 2 hours on AOL's Media Network of sites, 1 hour, 50 minutes on Yahoo sites and 1 hour, 22 minutes on Google.
While Google leads the market in search, it is clearly behind in creating engagement for its users. Google's YouTube video-sharing Website only notched 57 minutes for each user in April, Nielsen found.
But again, Facebook is where the major social activity is happening. The social site garnered 66 percent of the active unique audience in April 2010, making the site slightly more popular in Italy than in English-speaking markets.
Australia (63 percent), the U.S. (62 percent) and the UK (62 percent) followed Italy with more than 60 percent of active online consumers visiting the site. However, the average user in Australia spent 7 hours and 45 minutes on Facebook. Users in Italy spent an average of 7 hours, while U.S. users spent an average of 6 hours, 43 minutes.
In terms of overall time spent on all social networks and blogs, Australia topped the world in terms of time spent on social networks, with the average user notching 7 hours and 19 minutes on Facebook, Twitter and others of its ilk.
The U.S. was No. 2 with each user spending 6 hours and 35 minutes on social Websites, though Italian users nipped at U.S. users' heels with 6 hours 28 minutes on average for April.
Brazil tops all comers in Web users checking into social networks, with 86 percent of Internet consumers in that country visiting Google's social Website Orkut, Facebook and others such sites.
What this all means is Internet users are spending a lot (some would say inordinate) amount of time accessing social networks at home and work. While this doesn't approiach the 5 hours of television most users watch per day, that's still a big opportunity for advertisers looking to set up shop on Facebook and other sites.