Internet / Mobile / Social Media

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The World Wide Web turns 29 on March 12, 2018.  In this relatively short period of time, “going online” has become an integral part of many Americans’ daily lives – at work, at home, and at leisure.  We now have a generation of consumers who never know life without being online, and even older segments of the population have incorporated the Internet into their routines.

From the PC as geek “toy”, desktops, laptops, mobile phones and tablets have evolved into essential tools.  Consumers routinely seek out audio and editorial content online.  Ever-faster connections have led to the rise of online as a primary vehicle for video entertainment – to the point where the computer and mobile devices are now referred to as “second” and “third screens” respectively.

Penetration and Use

  • The Internet grew rapidly since its invention and in more recent years has been accompanied by the rise of mobile connectivity:
    • 55% of adults were on line in 2001
    • 71% were online in 2006
    • 88% of adults used the internet in 2016
      • 98% penetration among those in households with $75K+ incomes
      • 98% penetration among those with college degrees
      • 98% penetration among 18-29 year olds

    (Source: comScore U.S Media Metrix Multiplatform, 12/16)

  • Adult ownership of cell phones has also soared:
    • Cell phone penetration
      • 73% penetration in first survey in 2006
      • 95% in 2016
    • Smartphone ownership
      • 35% in first survey in 2011
      • 77% in 2016
    • 257 million Americans connect to the Internet via mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets in 2016, according to comScore U.S. Media Metrix Multiplatform

(Source: Pew Research Center Mobile Fact Sheet, 2017)

  • Mobile (smartphone and tablets) comprises 2/3 of all time spent online, vs. Desktop
  • 88% of smartphone users’ monthly media time is through mobile apps; 12% through the mobile web

(Source: comScore Media Metrix-Platform and Mobile Metrix, U.S., June 2017)

  • Mobile media time (non-voice) continues to grow
    • Adults will spend 3 hours, 17 minutes per day on non-voice mobile activities in 2017 — an increase of more than an hour since 2013
    • Mobile (non-voice) has the greatest share of digital time spent 56% of 5 hours and 53 minutes spent daily with digital

(Source: eMarketer, October 2017)

  • American consumers view digital as essential to their lives.
    • 89% of consumers first looked at their phones within an hour of waking up
    • 89% looked at their phone an hour before going to sleep
    • Adults look at their phones almost 47 times a day
  • 18-24 year olds look at their phones 86 times daily

(Source: Deloitte, 2017 Global Mobile Consumer Survey, U.S. edition)

  • Social media use plays a big part in American lives today
    • 69% of the American public uses some type of social media
      • 79% of internet users use Facebook
      • 32% of internet users use Instagram
      • 24% of internet users use Twitter
      • Social users are highly engaged
        • The majority of social users visit sites at least once a day
        • 76% of Facebook users visit the site daily
        • 51% of Instagram users visit the site daily
        • 42% of Twitter users visit the site daily

(Source: Pew Research Center, Social Media Fact Sheet, 2017)

  • Penetration of the 5 most popular social media sites among online adults; all grew, 2016 vs. 2012
    • Facebook – 57% > 68%
    • Instagram – 11% > 28%
    • Pinterest – 13% > 26%
    • LinkedIn – NA > 25%
    • Twitter – 13% > 21%

(Source: Pew Research Center, Social Media Fact Sheet, 2017)

  • Social networks appeal to diverse demographics:
    • Facebook popular across a diverse mix
    • Pinterest appeals to females – women nearly twice as likely as men to be users
    • LinkedIn popular among college grads, Internet users in higher-income homes
    • Twitter and Instagram once showed substantial overlap in user bases, and holding particular appeal to certain age groups but that is no longer the case:
      • Instagram - 59% A18-29 vs. Twitter 36%
      • Instagram - 31% A30-49 vs. Twitter 22%
      • Urban dwellers = 34% Instagram vs. 22% Twitter

(Source: Pew Research Center, Social Media Fact Sheet, 2017)


As online populations continue to grow and time spent with digital media, marketers are diverting more of their ad budgets to online, with digital advertising becoming the #1 media category. 

  • Mobile up 77% in FY 2016, which now reflects more than half of all digital ad spend
    • Desktop-$35,900 Million
    • Mobile-$36,600 Million
    • Total Search-$35,000 Million

(Source: IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report, Full Year 2016, IAB & PricewaterhouseCoopers)

  • A 2017 Choozle survey found that:
    • 53% of respondent reported using an ad blocker
    • Adults 3-44 reported the highest used of an ad blocker
    • 41% claimed to have never clicked on an ad
    • 19% clicked on 1 in every 10 ads
    • 41% rarely trust ads they are shown
  • Reasons why consumers dislike online and mobile ads:
  • Slow down web and mobile page
  • Ad repetition despite user's interests
  • Take up too much space on the page
  • Pop-ups and blocks page
  • Easy to mistakenly click on ad

(Source: Chooxle, Customer User Experience Survey, 2017)

  • While many digital media users are advertising adverse compared to traditional media users, they are likely to utilize devices and online sources – including advertising – to help plan purchases and compare prices among retailers.

  • Total digital advertising revenue continues to grow:
    • First-half 2017 digital ad revenue showed a 23% year-over-year increase