Facebook stays on top in the battle for social eyeballs

  • Social media
  • March 13, 2014
  • Amanda Sachtleben
Facebook stays on top in the battle for social eyeballs

Audience numbers are one measure of the success of a social media channel and Facebook takes the honours in this measure in Nielsen's recent Kiwi chart. But the time we spend using the network is just as telling: we spend an average of seven hours and 21 minutes a month on Facebook, a long way ahead the closest rival in these stakes, Reddit, which attracts an hour and 32 minutes per person, per month.

Facebook's average audience grew from 2481000 last November to 2496000 in January, with an average across the three months of 2436.

Because the network's user numbers are so large, growth numbers will plateau, so time spent is just as important, says Nielsen's research director for media Tony Boyte. "Seven hours and 21 minutes indicates there's a portion of the population that's really engaged," he says.

Twitter's local average audience grew from 365,000 to 492,000 between last November and January, but the average time spent per person per month was 17 minutes.

"That indicates people are just dipping in and maybe only when they get a message on a phone that someone has sent a tweet that's relevant to them," says Boyte. "They had a high unique audience in January but it doesn't necessarily mean people are engaged."

Boyte also pointed to the large Facebook adoption rate among online New Zealanders of 72 percent, which compares with 64 percent in Australia and 54 percent in the UK.

Growth in the use of mobile devices was strengthening smaller channels like Snapchat and Instagram, he said. Instagram had an average audience of 210,000 for the three months from November.

Video was also a strong growth area, not just for YouTube, which has the second biggest Kiwi average audience behind Facebook, but also for Twitter short video service Vine and YouTube competitor Vimeo.

Wordpress' audience was boosted from an average of 496,000 in November to 533,000 in January. Boyte said Twitter and Tumblr's growth showed micro-blogging was popular here, but Wordpress allowed users to "express their identity".

"I think it's something New Zealanders are keen on," he said. 

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