Nielsen’s Social Media Report was released this month putting numbers to many of the trends that have taken place in recent months related to social media, content consumption, and mobility.

If someone tells you social networks and blogs are useless, give them this statistic from the Nielsen report:

One quarter of the total time Americans spend online is spent on social networks and blogs.

That’s time that cannot be discounted as a fad.

Nielsen’s study revealed more interesting information. Some of the highlights include:

  • 40% of social media users access content from their mobile phones.
  • Nearly 4 out of 5 active internet users visit social networks and blogs.
  • Americans spend more time on Facebook than any other website for a total of 53 billion minutes in May 2011 alone.
  • Internet users over the age of 55 are the driving force behind the growth of social networking through the mobile internet.
  • 70% of active online adult social network users are also online shoppers. They are 12% more likely than the average internet user to shop online.
  • Tumblr is a force to be reckoned with having tripled its audience in the past year.
  • Social networks and blogs are the top online destination in each country across a sample of 10 global markets. For each of those countries, social networking and blogs accounted for the majority of time people spent online and reached at least 60% of active internet users.
  • More women view online video from social networks or blogs than men.
  • Men watch more online videos overall and watch videos for longer periods of time than women.
  • 53% of active social networkers follow a brand and 23% follow a celebrity.
  • Social networks and blogs account for 23% of Americans’ time on the internet, which is double the amount of time spent on the second most popular online activity — online games.

For authoritative content publishers, these statistics are important for several reasons. First, the online audience is growing and actively seeking to consume content in a variety of ways. Second, it’s very important for content publishers to offer content through a mobile-friendly website or app. Third, authoritative content publishers should cross-promote their content and offer varied types of content (such as blog and video content) in order to reach audiences where they spend time — on blogs and social networks.

You can read the complete Social Media Report on Nielsen’s website. The statistics offer great insight into how the social media audience is consuming content, which can help you develop your publishing plans for the coming year and beyond.

Image: mikekorn