According to the OPA, internet users continue to spend a majority of their time on content sites, up from 34 percent in 2003 to 42 percent in 2009.
The six-year analysis gauged monthly time spent with Commerce, Communications, Community, Content and Search. And, while consumers may be spending significant time with Community sites, it’s coming at the expense of their time with Communication sites whose core capabilities are email and Instant Messaging (IM).
“In the six years that the IAI has reported on how consumers are spending their time online, we have seen some significant shifts, most notably the emergence of Community,” said Pam Horan, president of the OPA. “While Community has grown, data from the IAI proves that Content is still king; these sites continue to be a place where consumers spend the majority of their online time and provide an environment for brand marketers to reach and engage with consumers.”
The latest IAI report provides insights into how consumers are spending their time online, and how that has changed over the past six years. Based on the analysis, the OPA found that the percentage of time spent online with Web sites providing news, information and entertainment, like NYTimes.com, ESPN.com and Edmunds.com (Content sites), has grown even in the wake of Community sites like Facebook. Moreover, Communication sites offering email and IM have decreased in share of online time spent due to the ability to conduct these activities elsewhere.
“In 2008, we introduced the Community category based on the emergence and popularity of sites like Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn,” continued Horan. “These new sites have had significant impact on the Communications category, which saw a 41 percent decline, due to the fact consumers are using Community sites where they can conduct these same activities more efficiently.”
When comparing how people used the Internet in 2003 with how they use the Internet today, the OPA found a number of factors behind the changes, including monthly average time per person:
When we shift from IAI’s time spent to the share of online time each category attracts over six years, we see significant changes as to how consumers spend their online time:
IAI’s share of time helps to provide further context. For example, Content consumption, as a share of online time, surpasses Communications as the leading way online audiences spend their time. Furthermore, although time spent with Search doubled, its share of time is very small and has only increased by two percentage points. Monthly time spent with Communications decreased by less than half an hour, but declined by 41 percent as a share of a consumer’s online time.