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March 29, 2012

As Latin America's Online Culture Grows, Social Networking Dominates

By Shawn Hebert, TMCnet Contributing Writer

In its annual Latin America report on digital trends, comScore Inc. found social networking sites such as Facebook, Orkut and Twitter (News - Alert) eclipsed web portals as the most engaging web activity in late 2011, accounting for 25 percent of all time spent online. 

The report analyzes significant trends in areas such as social media, web search, mobile and advertising.

The Latin America online population grew faster than any other global region in 2011, rising to 129.3 million online visitors in December 2011 – A year-to-year increase of 16 percent, and will continue to grow this year.

“2011 was an extraordinary year for digital media in Latin America as more people than ever before went online and began adopting behaviors like social networking and watching online video with increasing frequency,” said Alejandro Fosk, comScore (News - Alert) Senior Vice President for Latin America. “In order to capitalize on this burgeoning digital economy, it’s important for brands and publishers to understand the key trends driving growth today so they can determine where to invest and how to position their offerings to the needs of the marketplace.”

Social networking accounted for nearly 30 percent of online minutes at the end of the year, an increase of 9.5 percent from 2010. Facebook (News - Alert) led the pack, comprising 25 percent of all time spent online. Users in Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico all averaged anywhere between 7 to 10 hours on social networking sites in December 2011.

Other key findings from the 2012 Latin America Future in Focus report include:

Entertainment sites continued to amass visitors in 2011, growing 14 percent to reach nearly 97 percent of all online users in the region.

Online video viewing grew by double digits across Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Chile. Online retail jumped 30 percent as more Latin Americans turned to the web to shop and purchase goods and services.

The total number of searches conducted increased 38 percent to more than 21 billion in December. With an average of 173 searches per searcher, Latin America leads the globe in search frequency.

Mobile phones and tablets continue to account for a growing amount of digital traffic, with Puerto Rico leading the region with 7.7 percent of all digital traffic consumed away from a personal computer

Edited by Braden Becker
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