50% of online time on Facebook?

22.7% of US online time is spent on social networks. This is 43% more than a year ago. The biggest loser has been email that has dropped 28 percent in last twelve months. I believe this indicates that people are moving their personal communications to social networking sites. Another big loosing segment was portals where people used 19 percent less time than a year ago. (The numbers are from Nielsen).

RANK Category Share of Time
June 2010
Share of Time
June 2009
% Change in
Share of Time
1 Social Networks 22.7% 15.8% 43%
2 Online Games 10.2% 9.3% 10%
3 E-mail 8.3% 11.5% -28%
4 Portals 4.4% 5.5% -19%
5 Instant Messaging 4.0% 4.7% -15%
6 Videos/Movies** 3.9% 3.5% 12%
7 Search 3.5% 3.4% 1%
8 Software Manufacturers 3.3% 3.3% 0%
9 Multi-category Entertainment 2.8% 3.0% -7%
10 Classifieds/Auctions 2.7% 2.7% -2%
Other* 34.3% 37.3% -8%

Source:Nielsen NetView – June 2009-June 2010
*Other refers to 74 remaining online categories visited from PC/laptops
**NetView’s Videos/Movies category refers to time spent on video-specific (e.g., YouTube, Bing Videos, Hulu) and movie-related websites (e.g., IMDB, MSN Movies and Netflix) only. It is not a measure of video streaming or inclusive of video streaming on non-video-specific or movie-specific websites (e.g., streamed video on sports or news sites).

us hours spent online

Check out the related post: Social Media Replaces Email and IM. The convenience of using messaging tools without leaving the friendly social network will move a lot of email and IM communication away from stand-alone mail and IM clients.

Two growing sectors were online games and videos/movies that gained 10 and 12 percent respectively. Looking at these numbers made me think about potential for growth of the social networks. There are millions of people who play Farmville and Mafia Wars on Facebook and the social aspect of these site will lure more and more people away from traditional gaming sites.

Then there’s email. Personal communications are moving from email to social media. This means that when social networking sites would make their internal messaging applications email compatible it would make some people to give up stand-alone mail service entirely.

Facebook seems to think that you should see the news that your friends find interesting. To some extent its true but people have used news channels for their entire lives and social networks do not yet provide adequate substitute. Here is another opportunity for social networking sites or app developers. For example a social news channel within Facebook.

As I suggested Facebook should fix it search. Now Microsoft Bing and Facebook started working on joint search project. This is the first real threat to Google and its main revenue stream.

All these opportunities are multiplied by the sheer power of the Facebook’s user base and network effect. If you can get everything from one place the most of as will do just that. If Facebook plays its hand well then it is possible to grab 50 percent of the time spent online and effectively dominate the internet.

Priit Kallas

Priit is the founder and CEO of DreamGrow Digital, an internet marketing and social media company. With his 20+ years internet marketing experience he is Helping companies to understand and use the digital marketing to reach their target audiences. He has spoken at hundreds of seminars and conferences on different aspects of internet marketing. Priit is also the organizer of Digital Elite Camp, a leading traffic and conversion event.

2 Responses

  1. November 12, 2010

    […] very big thing for Facebook and it can change how we use web for all of us. A week ago I wrote that Facebook will have 50% of all time spent on internet and if the Facebook will start with email then this is a really big step in that direction. As […]

  2. November 18, 2010

    […] This would also create visibility for the airline in your social graph. Check out the related post: 50% of online time on Facebook? If Facebook plays its hand well then it is possible to grab 50 percent of the time spent online and […]

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