Knowledge Bridge

Global Intelligence for the Digital Transition

Latin Americans spend 25 percent of internet-time on Facebook

Last week, we covered how Latin American audiences were embracing interactivity by commenting and reading comments on news websites.  Data from comScore shows that they also continue to flock to social networks, bringing growth to Facebook, Twitter and the blogging platform Tumblr.

Based on comScore’s latest data, more than 127.3 m Latin Americans over the age of 15 visited a social networking site in April – a 12 percent year-over-year increase. Not only is the traffic high, but so is the amount of time Latin Americans spend on these sites – on average 7.5 hours a month with one in every four minutes online spent on Facebook.

While use of social networking sites increased 12 percent overall, visitors to Facebook specifically grew 37 percent. Social media consultancy Socialbakers says that South America is the continent with the fastest growth in Facebook use, with Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Venezuela representing the fastest growing countries. Currently 19% of all Facebook users live in Latin America, according to Socialbakers, and 33% of these users are between the age of 18 and 24. Facebook is such an outlier in terms of the amount of time spentTime SpentThe amount of elapsed time from the initiation of a visit to the last audience…

One caveat with this data is that it does not include public access computers, such as internet cafés, or mobile devices. While the lack of data from internet cafés has been a major problem with the data in the past, the lack of mobile device data is likely to be the bigger error now as mobile use, especially smartphone use, increases dramatically.

Regardless, with the increasing amount of time spent on social networks, they can be seen as a threat to news organisations as they battle for digital attention. In 2010, Nielsen found that while US internet users were spending similar amounts of time to Latin American users on social networking sites, about seven hours a month, they were spending, on average, only 20 minutes a month on the New York Times site and even less time, 8 to 12 minutes a month, on local news sites. As analyst Ken Doctor pointed out at the time, “that’s some 40 times more time spent on social sites than on any single news site.”

However, social networks can also be an opportunity. Forward thinking news organisations, such as The Guardian, have tapped into this new trend. Social networks now trump search engines, such as Google, in driving traffic to Guardian content, and they have allowed The Guardian to reachReach1) unique users that visited the site over the course of the reporting period,…

Reaching this growing online audience is key to your future success. In the early days of digital media, it was enough to have a website.  But now, while your website remains your primary digital presence, it is not the hub of a network, which must be connected to audiences who spend an increasing amount of time on social networks. You can take advantage of the social media revolution by making your content easy to share and recommend on social networks and also actively engaging audiences on these networks by having pages on Facebook and having journalists and editors interact with your audiences on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook.

Article by Kevin Anderson

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