Today consumers own more devices than ever before, and the greatest growth comes from digital devices, many of which didn’t even exist a few years ago. If fact, according to Nielsen’s recent Digital Consumer Report (full disclosure: I helped research and create this report) not only do the majority of Americans now own smartphones, but during 2013 time spent accessing the internet using smartphone apps (34 hours per person on average) surpassed time spent surfing the web on computers (27 hours on average). Whether consumers using the devices to access media or connect with one another, advertisers and marketers must follow consumer’s eyeballs as they jump across multiple screens and platforms.
The media universe is constantly expanding, so as consumers adopt more devices and gadgets their usage of how they watch, shop, and connect continues to evolve; today the media universe revolves around the consumer. As the media landscape changes, PRs, Advertisers, and Marketers must navigate this new media universe, understanding not just all the gadgets consumers own, but also how they use media across devices to form their own behaviors.
Working with Nielsen’s data to provide insights into cross-platform media usage, I helped design the 2012 Consumer Usage Report from concept through completion, including the above inforgraphic meant to help navigate the media universe just in time for CES in January 2013. Using the common marketing metaphor of the “universe”, meaning all people in the target audience, this visualization provides a snapshot overview of the US media market. Visualizing the media universe as a solar system of planets (devices) which revolve around the sun (consumers), this infographic maps consumer ownership of digital devices (computers, mobile, tablets, etc) and devices connected to the TV (cable/satellite, game consoles, etc). Pulling these devices together is gravity, illustrated by how are consumers spending their media time, and some may be surprised that the overwhelming majority of time spent (150+ hours per month) is watching traditional and time-shifted TV.
At the same time consumers’ media habits are rapidly changing, and the media universe continues to expand to incorporare new devices akin to a technological big bang. During 2012 smartphones became the majority of mobile users in the US for the first time, and nearly 1 in 5 households now owns a tablet computer. Social media usage continues to grow, and while many more consumers are using it on the go most still connect to social networks using their home computers. And for cord-cutters like me who get much of their viewing through online stream sites, it may be surprising to learn only 4% of households own IPTV sets, but with 56% of homes using video game consoles it seems likely at least a few are watching video on Netflix and Hulu on their TVs as well.
As television networks kick off the upfronts introducing new programs and picking up where existing series left off, there is increasing conversation about using social media to connect fans and viewers with their favorite shows, as well as how many may be cutting-the-cord altogether. Full disclosure: I’m an employee at Nielsen, who have a great perspective of cross-platform insights into what consumers watch, but the measurements shared in this post are my own and are not necessarily shared by my employer.
First, here’s a funny and surprisingly accurate primer on how TV viewing is measured in the US (from Jess3 and ESPN):
For the last two years I’ve been using social media tools like Get Glue, Miso, and IntoNow to track my viewing and to share my favorite TV shows with friends. These social networks use websites and smartphone apps to encourage more social viewing, opening up the sometimes isolated TV watching experience by connecting viewers who check-in to the same program and generating conversations among fans of the shows. For example, here are some of the shows I’ve checked-in to most recently: Continue reading TV by the Numbers: How I cut-the-cord and share my viewing online→
Ever since I started blogging in 2004 I’ve been trying to better understand my audience of blog readers through stats like unique visitors, pageviews, social media shares, or the number of comments readers add to each post. Analyzing these data points gives me a better a understanding of which pages interest my visitors most, and helps me think of new blog posts I hope will resonate with my audience. As an online marketing strategist I also try look at how readers come to my blog, focusing my efforts on what content I can offer which will introduce new readers to my blog, as well as how to connect with them outside my own website.
In the interest of trying to become more transparent as a blogger, here’s a look back measuring my own blog’s audience during 2011:
A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,900 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.
In 2011 there were 15 new posts on the blog, growing the total archive on this blog to 61 posts so far.
Twitter and Facebook were my main sources of referral traffic, but increasingly Google+ brought new readers to my site.
I’ve had far fewer comments in 2011 than in previous years, and average less than a comment per post.
My most read posts in 2011 were actually from previous years, bringing in visitors searching for “Twitter internships” and how to become “Social Media Marketers“, showing the long-term value of SEO built through blog writing.
Not only is Facebook increasingly synonymous with social media usage, but it’s ubiquity reaches more than 7 out of 10 web users every month, and a growing number of weekly and daily users like myself. Here’s a few more ways to understand the impact of Facebook:
Time spent on Facebook accounts for about 1 out of every 5 minutes time spent online every month, and the most total time of any website.
My 550+ friends on Facebook represent only a fraction of Facebook’s 800+ million registered users, but it represents a historic shift in creating larger circles of friends. Thanks to Facebook’s ubiquitous popularity, I’m able to keep in touch with friends in high school and college who live hundreds (and thousands) of miles away, whereas only a few years earlier I would more easily fall out of contact with my friends. Since I grew up in the Facebook generation, I’m not alone in using the social network to keep loose-ties with old friends following my own graduation and relocation to New York City. Here’s a few more stats about how I use Facebook to connect with friends:
5 years ago I reluctantly joined the social network, admittedly at the behest of Lauren Reid who wanted to make our relationship “Facebook official”. I’m happy to say we’re still “in a relationship” (even though only 24% of my friends are single), and that I’ve been hooked on Facebook ever since. Here’s how I used Facebook when I first started:
I’ve seen this social network grow from a core of friends and college classmates into an everyday network of family and friends used by some people I never thought I’d interact with online; most recently my Mom even signed up! You can connect with me through my Facebook profile or by becoming a fan of my Facebook page for this website.
Last month Nielsen (my employer) released a new State of the Media report focused on social media use in the US and around the world. This report offers a unique snapshot overview of the social media landscape, using measurements of consumers’ behavior in their browsers rather than survey data. It reveals not only the significant growth among the population visiting social networks and blogs, but also who makes up the audience on these sites and how they use social media. Here’s a few highlights of its key findings and takeaways:
More than 4 in 5 American who are active online visited Social Media websites within the last month
About a quarter of all time spent online is using Social Networks & Blog sites, more than twice as much as the next nearest category of websites.
Facebook is by far the most popular social networking website globally, and in the U.S. Tumblr is among the fastest growing
Growth in social media users comes from people of all ages and increasingly among those aged 55+, making social media more representative of the online population overall
As a member of Nielsen’s global communications team (full disclosure), I helped research and write this report, working together with our thoughts leaders/experts and designers to create compelling data visualizations that help convey Nielsen’s insights into consumer behavior. The response to the report has been overwhelmingly positive, with coverage by key news media and thousands of links shared across social networks. Of course all ideas/opinions expressed on this site and in social media are my own (and are not necessarily shared by my employer), so hopefully you find the analysis and insight in this report as helpful as I do.
I’ve wrote before that Twitter has inspired a fixation by online marketers like myself because of how it can be measured. Since my previous post, Twitter has continued to grow its influence among newsmedia, brands, and consumers around the world. Even among experienced Twitter users like myself, Twitter use has changed significantly over the last year as the social network broke records and even breaking news. As of writing this blog post, marking my first 4 years using Twitter, here’s how I’ve used Twitter:
I’ve posted over 16,100 tweets in four years, almost double my total since April 2010, and average 11.3 tweets per day and 328 tweets per month
I’ve gained 1677 followers, about 2/3rds more since March 2010, and I’m following about twice as many Twitter users (1347) as I was during my prior blog post measuring Twitter
In celebration of my 5th year using Twitter, I wanted to update my status about how I use the social network, so I created this infographic using Visual.ly to help illustrate my use on Twitter as of September 2011:
In its short history, Instagram has become very popular is crowded market of competing mobile photo apps, or at least has become my favorite among them since I started using it in October 2010. For those not already familiar with this iPhone app, Instagram has been installed by over 1 million users who use the app to snap pics, apply creative filters to add visual interest, and easily share their photos across multiple social networks (ie Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Foursquare). Users can follow photos by their friends using a timeline inside the app, which doesn’t have a web interface but rather exists as a social network of sorts confined within the app itself (and accessible to services using its API).
Of course the concept behind Instagram isn’t new; long before this app I’ve been been sharing mobile photos on TwitPic, showcasing my photography on Tumblr, and sharing thousands of pictures on Facebook, Flickr, and many other photo sites. Although it’s not immediately apparent how useful the service might be as a branding or communications tool, it has caught on in popularity from a consumer-generated media standpoint. At least in my own experience Instagram offers immediate gratification and feedback that makes it addictive, with the added value of offering perspectives across a variety of social networking sites.
Outside of Instagram, here’s a few more ways to measure the impact of mobile on photo sharing:
The iPhone is the most popular camera on Flickr overall, and I’ve uploaded more than 5% of my 8194 photos on Flickr from pictures taken using my iPhone camera.
Photos are the most used app on Facebook, and they’re rumored to be working on a mobile photo app
At least 2 million photos are posted to Twitter each day on average, and doubtlessly more buzz comes from image driven Tumblr posts and photoblogs
Most recently with the announcement of Twitter’s new photo sharing functions, as well as their deeper integration with Apple products, photography continues its push into mobile platforms and remains a key driving force behind social media into the foreseeable future.
Since Foursquare was created in March 2009 its social network which connects people and places into an addictive public game has motivated millions to continue checking-in. Whether your friends use the social network to unlock badges for brands and special events, compete on the leaderboard, and of course become “the mayor” of their favorite venues. Location-based social networks like Foursquare have created new opportunities for friends to connect IRL (or allegedly to stalk each other), while opening individuals to new connections more like they do online.
Of course Foursquare was hardly the first location-based social media; by the time I signed-up in March 2009 I had already been checking-in for nearly a year, using networks like Brightkite and Loopt. Indeed the founders of Foursquare were well ahead of the competition, having set up the SMS-based location network Dodgeball years earlier which had been bought by Google, only to revisit their idea with smartphone technology. By mixing game elements and unlockable rewards, not to mention the right timing to take advantage of the burgeoning social media scene, Foursquare has created a unique application that has proved popular by 2010 and beyond.
In the process of the gameplay and deals that attract users and brands to use the service, one of the byproduct of using Foursquare is the data that’s created about individuals who use the service. Here’s some perspective on how I’ve used Foursquare over the past 2 years:
I was the 3,820th user to register on Foursquare, making me an early adopter of the location-based network that now tops 8 million members.
My first check-in was on March 17, 2009 at Breadsoda in Washington D.C., and have checked-in another 669 days since
In my first two years I’ve checked-in over 3000 times (3241 as of April 15, 2011) at 723 different venues.
I’m currently mayor of 7 venues, and have earned as many as 13 mayorship at any one time, earning me the Supermayor badge
So far I’ve unlocked 61 badges so far: 38 official Foursquare badges, and 23 more branded by their promoted partners
Of course Foursquare is much more than a means to broadcast your location, although the network has that reputation since many early adopters (myself included) had their service configured to tweet their check-ins automatically. However I’ve found Foursquare is best experienced not just as social media, but as a tool to connect people with places. Their service aids the discovery of new places to visit by using the suggestions and tips of friends, and on several occasions has helped result in the social media serendipity that has connected me with new friends and enabled impromptu rendezvous with friends who check-in right around the corner.
Music is a powerful means of self-expression and a deeply personal part of our lives, influencing individual attitudes and motivating our behavior on a daily basis. The pervasive influence of music in culture is well documented, and I’ve already written about it before on this blog. There are any number of ways we analyze the impact of these art forms, especially when media make their annual “Best of” and “top artist” lists each year. Since any kind of social change should be measured, I was curious: could I measure the impact of musical art on my own life much like I measure other influential media?
Fortunately I already have one data set to pull from: for the last 5 years I’ve been tracking my listening habits through Last.fm, a social network that tracks playback by music lovers so that we can compare music tastes. By keeping track of the songs I play through my computer (and more recently on my iPod), the network generates peer recommendations and Top 10 lists.