Thursday, October 01, 2009

UK Online Audience and Social media statistics reviewed: Sept 09

Internet penetration in the UK is up 5% year on year to 72% with “the home and work active digital universe” numbering 43 million in the UK (Nielsen Online, January 2009). In comparison to the rest of Europe the UK has the most active online population, with the highest number of daily visitors (21.8m), the highest usage days per month (21 per user) and the highest average time spent on the web per month per user (34.4 hrs), (comScore June 2007).

"Online is not the medium of a new generation, but the new
medium for all generations"

The online population in the UK now reflects the demographic make-up of the UK as a whole, with a 52% / 48% male /female split. 21% of internet users are 25 to 34 years - and at the other end of the spectrum the over-50s now represent 30% of total time spent online (Source: IAB UK, 2008).

UK visits to News and Media sites are up 28% year on year and these industries are reported as having the second highest growth rate after online video (Hitwise, February 2009). These statistics further indicate that an increasingly amount of people are looking for information online. Google continues to be the most popular site in the UK (Nielsen Online, Feb 2008) and their new search features ‘Show Options’ is allowing people to be more savvy with their searching online, reviewing forum posts, news and reviews, (suddenly social media is in the main search results).

Social networks account for an increasing proportion of UK internet visits and they are also becoming an important source of traffic for other websites. People go online to socialise, to learn, to be entertained, to stay informed and to inform others and for the traditional web users they sometimes go online to buy products or services and learn about the products before they purchase or sign up. Social media and networking also encourages the building of communities: groups of people with common interests who are keen to interact with one another on matters important to them.

The Daily Telegraph reported (April 2009) that it receives 8% of its online traffic from social media sites such as news aggregators like Digg and Reddit, as well as Twitter, which is now becoming more popular with companies using it as a communication tool.

Interest in the social media tool in the UK has risen from 3% use to 49% use in just a year, (Guava UK Search Marketing Benchmark Report, April 2009). Many users of Twitter say that they find it “additive” and research has shown that the time people spend on the site has risen from just 10 minutes a year ago to half an hour now (Hitwise, January 2009), so evidence here that the audience are searching for chat/communication or for something new.

Visiting blogs has become more popular with the UK internet audience, with 41% of people in the UK visiting a blog once a month (comScore, August 09). Blogs have also performed well at driving traffic to websites: Hitwise (June 2008) reported that blogs drive 1.19% of all UK traffic, which is equivalent to one in every 84 visits to a site.

eMarketer (Jan 2009) predicts that social network ad spending is expected to reach around 4.4% of total online ad spending in the UK in 2009. This figure isn’t surprising, seeing that back in Oct 2007 social networks already accounted for 7.7% upstream Internet traffic to all other websites, making the category the second most important source of traffic after Search Engines (Hitwise Jan 2008).

All in all it is pretty exciting Autumn for search engines and social networks a like and we loving the work, get in touch if you would like us to set a social media or search strategy for you.

Author: Sarah Griffiths


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