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Nielsen Reveals how Much Online Time Internet Users Around the World are Spending

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The Internet has definitely become a much more crowded place now than it was years ago. Certainly, the online world has turned into a haven for social interaction and not just a place for getting useful information. Double-digit growth in Internet usage has been observed in many site categories, but the social networking sites have experienced the biggest boost in online usage.

According to the latest study of the marketing and advertising research giant Nielsen, the usage of social media networking sites has significantly increased at a rate of 22%. It doesn’t seem like a massive change in online usage, but we have to take into consideration that the findings are covering worldwide usage. The statistics are based from data in online usage last April 2010 and it may have actually grown bigger in the weeks since.

To put things in perspective, people around the world spend one in every four and a half minutes of their time on the Internet on messaging, commenting, blogging, and sharing information on different social media, social networking sites or blogs. That is like a total of 110 billion minutes spent on social sites and blogs every month. This actually marks the first time ever that around three-quarter of the overall world population who use the Internet visit a social networking site or blog each time they go online. This is an increase of 24% from the same period last year. On the average, an online user currently spends two and a half hours more on these site categories, or a 66% increase in online time, compared to last year. According to Nielsen, people were only spending time in social sites and blogs for three and a half hours as of April 2009.

Additionally, Facebook, YouTube, and Wikipedia have risen to the top as the most popular sites in the world. It was also reported that an impressive 13 billion videos have been watched on YouTube every month, and more recently, YouTube has recently surpassed 2 billion views a day. Facebook has also experienced significant boost in online videos, with more than 2 billion videos being watched by Facebook users monthly.

Facebook has been head-to-head with Google with the highest online traffic. According to Nielsen data, Facebook was able to surpass all web sites in terms of global time spent online. Facebook’s half a billion users spend six hours per month of their online time there. Google has strived to become the most visited site in the world, with 82% of Internet users around the globe using the site every month and spending 80 seconds to navigate and generate search results on the average.

Other sites that have been considered as the most visited sites online are MSN, Bing, Yahoo, eBay, Apple, and AOL.

In a per country basis, Brazil has proved to be the most socially connected country in the world. According to Nielsen, it boasts the largest percentage (86) of online users visiting a social network. Brazilian users also spend time on social site at an average of five hours a month.

Australian users spend the longest time on social sites at an average of seven hours and 20 minutes, more than users in the United States and Italy who spend six and a half hours each.

Speaking of Italy, Facebook has proved to be the most popular social networking site in that country as of April 2010. It has gained the biggest market share among social sites with two-thirds of the whole Italian web population visiting Facebook every month. Facebook has also gained the biggest chunk of the Australia, U.S., and U.K. markets with more than 60% of online users actively visiting the site.

This study from Nielsen should serve as an impetus for social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to expand and improve their services to continuously satisfy the needs of their current users and to attract even more people from all over the world in the long run.