How 2012’s Eye-Popping Internet Statistics Affect You & My Mom

I’ve never done this before, so please be gentle with me. I’m writing a blog post based on a Hubspot blog post based on an eMarketer
study on 2012 U.S. digital media usage. 

Why, you ask? Well, the facts themselves are interesting for social media practitioners and in your post-holiday glow, you might have missed them. They encompass internet usage, mobile, social media and online video. But I’m not just copying facts here; I’m adding my own insights and observations. Some will make you think; some will make you smile – at least, I hope so. We’ll see. So, here we go…

Over ¾ of the total U.S. population will be online in 2012.

That’s 239 million people in the U.S. alone who are online. I’m not sure what’s more astounding – that there are that many people online or the fact that a quarter of the country still isn’t. Of course, you’ll never get 100%. Some people live in remote areas that just aren’t going to have access. And then you have to subtract all the Amish and the rest of the country that abhors technology. On the other hand, the 239 million includes my mom who turns on her computer once a month or so and then calls because she can’t get anything to work on it. I hope I haven’t upset the Amish or my mom, but chances are neither of them will ever see this.

Mobile internet users will reach nearly 114 million, up 17.1% from last year.

I know we hear every year is going to be the year that mobile really takes off. But, we may be reaching a tipping point here. According to this, by the end of the year nearly half of the internet users in the country will be accessing the net from wherever they happen to be. The number of mobile shoppers will reach 72.8 million and the number of mobile buyers will reach 37.5 million. You can’t tell me those aren’t numbers that make it worth figuring out how your company can connect with your customers in a meaningful mobile way. If you don’t do it, your competitors surely will.

Smartphone users will reach 106.7 million in 2012, up 18.4% from 2011.
It’s hard to believe that the percentage of smart phone users is rising faster than the percentage of mobile internet users. But, that’s because only 94% of Smartphone users are mobile internet users. How can that be? Well, not to pick on my mom again, but she has a Smartphone my sister bought her. If she’s having a hard time figuring out how to make a phone call on it, chances are good she’ll never use the internet function. 

Tablet users will increase a whopping 62.8%, reaching 54.8 million.

Want to talk dominate market share? iPad users will make up 76.4% of all U.S. tablet ownership. So, the bad news from the above fact is, if you’re doing digital marketing, you really need to design programs for computers, Smartphones and tablets. The good news is, your tablet strategies can pretty much be all about the iPad, ignoring the rest. Of course, so will everyone else. So, you could zig when everyone zags and be the biggest fish in the smaller non-iPad pond. 

About 2/3 of web users will use social networks. 90% of those will be on Facebook.

As dominant as iPad is in the tablet world, Facebook puts them to shame. Seems it’s the 900-pound monkey on everyone’s back. They will reach 143.4 million users in the U.S. this year. Even my mom has a Facebook page. She may not be able to figure out how to get there or what to do with it, but she has one. 

In my post about social media policies, I talked about how companies are now taking social media seriously, instead of looking at it as a passing fad. This is why. The majority of us online use social media and that number is growing every day. And, as much as you’d like to ignore Facebook, with 90% of social media users in their pocket, you really can’t. 

Online video viewership will reach over 169 million this year.

That’s 53.5% of the general population and 70.8% of all U.S. internet users. Part of this is because nothing tells a story or conveys an emotion like video. Another part is because we Americans are lazy – no reading or figuring out required. Video also plays very well on mobile devices – so it can teach or entertain us while we’re stuck in line somewhere, waiting at the airport or simply on our daily commute (hopefully, not while driving). It’s not just easy, it’s very engaging. Marketers who get that are the ones who are using it best to their advantage. How are you harnessing the power of video?

2012 looks to be another year of amazement.

Technology zooms ahead faster every year. It makes the internet more accessible to more people at an ever-increasing rate. Many companies and individuals are using it to their advantage – whether to sell more goods or simply to enrich their lives. That’s why we all need to keep up with what’s going on in this realm on an almost daily basis. What are you seeing in the year ahead? How are you going to harness the constantly changing power of the web this year? If you’re developing a mom-friendly web device, I’d love to hear from you. 

Photo by Mike Licht,