Today Nielsen and NM Incite released the 2012 Social Media Report, which provides a comprehensive look at the current state of social media. The study found that American users spent 121 billion minutes on social networks in July 2012, an increase of 37% from July 2011. Roughly 20% of the total time users spend online via PC and 30% of total time spent online via mobile are now on social networks. Facebook remains the world’ most popular social site with over 152 million unique visitors on PC, 78 million on mobile app and 74 million on mobile web. Other networks such as Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and Tumblr all continue to see year-over-year traffic growth.

One of the biggest takeaways from this year’s report is the increasing significance of mobile in the social networking experience. The study found that almost 50% of all users now access social media sites via smartphone and almost one in five connect via tablet.┬áTime spent on mobile apps and mobile web both increased over 80% since 2011 and mobile as a whole accounted for 63% of the year-over-year growth in total time spent on social media. While some sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Blogger actually saw a decrease in the volume of PC visitors, every network registered positive growth in mobile users.┬áMobile traffic increase for top social sites as can be seen in the chart below:

As more users connect via mobile devices, the study also found Social TV — the simultaneous use of smartphone or tablet while watching TV — to be a growing consumer trend. The report shows that 41% of tablet users and 38% of smartphone users simultaneously use their devices while consuming television programs. Users are likely to be browsing social networks, looking up content related to the program they are watching,┬áresearching information from advertisements, or even shopping products they see on TV.

More data and a full report can be downloaded on Nielen’s website.

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