Time spent on social networking and blogging sites accounted for 17 percent of all time spent on the Internet in August 2009, according to a new report from Nielsen.
"This growth suggests a wholesale change in the way the Internet is used," said Jon Gibs, vice president, media and agency insights, Nielsen's online division.
"While video and text content remain central to the Web experience - the desire of online consumers to connect, communicate and share is increasingly driving the medium's growth."
Year-over-year, estimated online advertising spend on the most popular social network and blogging sites increased 119 percent, from about $49 million in August 2008 to $108 million in August 2009. The share of estimated spend on these sites has also grown, increasing from a seven percent share of total online ad spend in August 2008 to a 15 percent share in August 2009.
While a number of industries decreased their overall online ad spend year-over-year in August, spending on the top social network sites increased across the board. The Entertainment Industry led in growing its online ad dollars, increasing ad spending on the top social network sites by 812 percent in August. Travel Advertisers followed suit, increasing their ad spend on these sites by 364 percent.
"In the past, advertisers had significant concerns with social media advertising," said Gibs. "The considerable increases we've seen in ad spending over the past year suggest that many of these concerns have subsided or been addressed."
"In particular, advertisers that want to connect with core fan bases, such as movie studios, are allocating more and more dollars to online communities like Facebook and MySpace, where they can engage in an ongoing dialog with their target market."