Study: Americans spend more than a quarter of their time online on social media

An Experian Hitwise survey of time spent online says Americans spend 27 percent of their time online using social media. By contrast, they spent 4 percent of their time on news and “adult” content.

But note: The survey “doesn’t include mobile visits made on 3G or 4G networks or app visits,” Experian’s James Murray writes (though another study published last year found similar results). Social use declined slightly from Experian’s 2011 survey, and news use went up a little bit. Time spent on email — hallelujah — declined. Last fall, Pew found that one-third of adults under 30 now get their news on social networks.

The study doesn’t include data on mobile, where people are increasingly getting their news. BuzzFeed Chairman Kenneth Lerer said Wednesday that mobile devices account for 65 percent of BuzzFeed’s traffic.

Related: What the world population is doing on smartphones and social networks | Even on smartphones, your news is more likely to be found through social media

We have made it easy to comment on posts, however we require civility and encourage full names to that end (first initial, last name is OK). Please read our guidelines here before commenting.

  • David Sanford

    Good piece! The opening line might be less misunderstood if it stated Americans spend 27 percent of their online time using social media…

  • Andy Bechtel

    For many of us, social media is news. Based on the spam I get, social media also has an adult audience.

  • Poynter

    Good point, @BobbyRock:disqus. We said nearly one-third, which is true, but it’s more accurate to say more than a quarter. I’ve updated the headline to reflect that.

    ~Mallary Tenore, Poynter

  • BobbyRock

    Isn’t this actually about one-quarter (27%) vs. one-third? It’s 2 percentage points vs. 6.33 percentage points.