Social networking accounted for nearly 1 in every 5 minutes spent online globally in October 2011, ranking as the most engaging online activity worldwide. Social networking sites now reach 82 percent of the world's Internet population age 15 and older that accessed the Internet from a home or work computer, representing 1.2 billion users around the globe, according to a report from comScore, a company specializing in the measurement of the digital world.
The report, "It's a Social World: Top 10 Need-to-Knows About Social Networking and Where It's Headed," analyzes the current state of social networking activity around the globe, providing insights into how social networking has influenced the digital landscape and the implications for marketers operating in this social world. In October, Facebook reached more than half (55 percent) of the world's global audience and accounted for 1 in every 7 minutes spent online around the world and 3 in every 4 social networking minutes, the report found.
"The emergence and widespread global adoption of social networks has vastly influenced human interaction on an individual, community and larger societal level, and underscores the convergence of the online and offline worlds," said Linda Boland Abraham, comScore CMO and executive vice president of global development. "Regardless of geography, social networks are weaving themselves ever more intricately into the fabric of the digital experience, opening a world of new opportunity for business and technology."
In recent years, microblogging has taken hold as a popular social networking activity on a global scale. In October, Twitter reached 1 in 10 Internet users worldwide, growing 59 percent in the past year. Other popular microblogging destinations seeing rapid adoption include Chinese site Sina Weibo, with its audience growing 181 percent in the past year to rank as the 10th largest social network in October. Tumblr, which ranked 12th worldwide in audience size, grew 172 percent in the past year.
Although young users age 15-24 still represent the most highly engaged segment of social networkers, with an average of 8 hours per visitor spent in the category in October, social networking is catching on among older age segments across the globe. The report found people age 55 and older represented the fastest-growing age segment in global social networking usage, with the penetration of social networks in the segment increasing nearly 10 percentage points since July 2010 to 80 percent in October 2011.
In the United States, 64 percent of smartphone users accessed social networking sites at least once in October 2011, with 2 in 5 smartphone owners connecting via social networking nearly every day. In the EU5, 45 percent of smartphone owners accessed social networks on their mobile device during the month, with nearly 1 in 4 doing so on a near daily basis. Of the 43 markets individually reported by comScore, 41 markets saw at least 85 percent of their respective online populations visit social networking sites in October 2011.