ComScore: Social Networking Is Now Top Online Activity

New data from comScore shows that it is indeed a "social world" with social networking accounting for one in every five minutes spent online by users around the world, making it the most popular online activity.

The new comScore report "It's a Social World: Top 10 Need-to-Knows About Social Networking and Where It's Headed," also found that more than half the world's internet population visited in Oct. 2011.

Social networking sites now reach 82 percent of the world's Internet population aged 15 and older that accessed the Internet from a home or work computer, representing 1.2 billion users around the globe, according to comScore.

But the United States, with 6.9 hours per person spent in online social network, did not even rank within the top ten countries for social networking engagement.

The report found that Israel led all countries with visitors spending an average of more than 11 hours on social networking sites during the month. Argentina ranked second at 10.7 hours, followed by Russian (10.4 hours) and Turkey (10.2 hours).

The report found that women are more spending more time on social networking sites, with females worldwide spending on average 6.5 hours versus 5 hours for men worldwide. In North American women spent about 7.9 hours versus about 6 hours by men in North America in October of 2011.

Europe and Latin America were the most social regions, with women spending an average of 8.2 hours in both regions during October of 2011 at social networking sites.

The report also found widespread usage of social media across age groups, with 79.9% of people aged 55 and over spending time at social networking sites versus 84.4% of those aged 15 to 24 worldwide.

In North American 94.7% of those aged 55 and older spent time at social networking sites.

Worldwide, females aged 15 to 24 spent the most time with social media (8.6 hours in October) but older women also were very active, with 4.9 hours.

Mobile devices were also playing a key role in the growing use of social media. In the U.S. nearly one third (32%) of the total U.S. mobile population aged 13 and older reported accessing a social networking site at least once in October of 2011 via their phone.

Even higher proportion of smartphone owners were active social media users. In the U.S., 64% of smartphone users accessed social networking sites at least once in October 2011, with 2 in 5 smartphone owners connecting via social networking nearly every day.

The report noted, however, that ad revenue has not kept pace with usage. "Although more than a quarter of ads are seen on social networking sites, the category only attracts 15 percent of U.S. display ad dollars," the report notes.

A free copy of the report can be found here.