Social Media Represents One-Quarter of Adult Women’s Total Media Time

January 25, 2017

Among American adults, women allocate a greater share of their media time to social than any other demographic group, according to a report [download page] from Nielsen. In fact, the more than 6-and-a-half hours per week they spent with social in Q3 2016 equated to fully one-quarter of their total weekly media time, per Nielsen’s figures.

Women have long been known to be heavier social media users than men on average. In this study, they were found to spend 2 hours and 10 minutes more per week on social than men, an average of almost 20 minutes more per day.

Another headline finding from the report is that Gen X (35-49) spends more time on social media than Millennials (18-34). In fact, at just under 7 hours per week (or 1 hour per day), Gen Xers are the heaviest social media users of any of the demographic groups. However, since they’re also the heaviest media users overall, they end up allocating a smaller share (22%) of their media time to social than do Millennials (24%).

Meanwhile, on a racial/ethnic basis, African-American adults spent the most weekly time using social media in Q3 (6 hours and 9 minutes), though Hispanic adults dedicated the largest portion of their media time to social (23%).

The report also examined the habits of heavy social media users, who spend at least 3 hours daily on social media. Among this group, the most common activities performed in the prior 30 days were:

  • Visiting a friend’s profile/page (57%);
  • Commenting on a friend’s post (55%);
  • Sending a message or email (50%);
  • Watching a video (50%); and
  • Posting picture(s) (50%).

About 1 in 8 clicked on an ad within the prior 30 days, perhaps testament to the rising influence of social advertising.

Heavy social media users are also more likely than lighter users to see the importance of social networks for various brand-related activities. Some 39% say that a social networks is somewhat or very important to find out about products and services, while more than one-third say these platforms are important to receive exclusive offers, coupons and other discounts.

Heavy social media users aren’t the biggest online shoppers, however, They were less likely than other social user groups to have spent more than $500 online in the previous 12 months, and more likely to have spent less than $100 online over the course of the prior year. The top items bought online by social media users, regardless of their usage status, were clothing or accessories and books.

Turning to social’s relationship with TV, Nielsen notes that most Facebook and Twitter activity occurs on the weekend, particularly on Sundays. On an average day, 61% of those interacting with TV on Facebook are female, while 42% are Gen Xers and 40% Millennials.

The study outlines engagement rates per owned TV-related tweet in the 15 minutes after the tweet is sent, revealing that:

  • For comedy series, engagement is highest for tweets posted 30-45 minutes after the program and 60-45 minutes before airing;
  • For drama series, engagement is highest for tweet posted 15-30 minutes after the program as well as during the first and final thirds of the program;
  • For reality series, engagement is highest for tweets posted during the final third of a program; while
  • For sports events, engagement is highest for tweets sent 0-15 minutes after the program and 30-45 minutes after the program.

The figures demonstrate that consumers are using social media while watching TV, likely on mobile devices. Indeed, 45% of smartphone owners report using their device at least once a day while watching TV, more commonly to visit Facebook than to visit Twitter or a different network.

The full study is available for download here.

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