Nielsen Tops of 2012: Digital

December 20, 2012

Smartphone owners became the majority of mobile phone users for the first time this year, growing from 49 percent of mobile subscribers in Q1 2012, to 56 percent by Q3 2012. Mobile app usage also continued to grow. Among the top 10 mobile apps, Twitter was the fastest growing Android app, and the Facebook Messenger app grew the most among iPhone apps.

Google remained the top Web brand, with an average 172 million unique visitors each month between January and October 2012, followed by Facebook, which garnered an average of 153 million visits each month. Online video continued to grow in 2012, but YouTube remained the top online video source, averaging 132 million unique viewers during the year.

Market share of Smartphone Operating Systems, during Q3 2012 in the US

Top 10 U.S. Web Brands of 2012
Rank Site Avg # of Unique Visitors
per Month
1 Google 172,649,000
2 Facebook 152,996,000
3 Yahoo! 141,579,000
4 YouTube 128,341,000
5 MSN/WindowsLive/Bing 127,822,000
6 Microsoft 92,764,000
7 AOL Media Network 86,638,000
8 Amazon 78,128,000
9 Wikipedia 76,031,000
10 Ask Search Network 73,361,000
Source: Nielsen. Data from January 2012 – October 2012 (Total). Ranked on average monthly unique audience.Read as:  During 2012, 172.6 million people, on average, visited Google.
Top 10 U.S. Online Destinations for Video of 2012
Rank Site Avg # of Unique Viewers
per month
Avg # of  Streams
per month
1 YouTube 132,468,000 15,004,387,000
2 Yahoo! 39,725,000 354,024,000
3 VEVO 37,714,000 547,615,000
4 AOL Media Network 24,563,000 446,363,000
5 Facebook 23,910,000 111,737,000
6 MSN/WindowsLive/Bing 22,601,000 215,803,000
7 The CollegeHumor Network 20,164,000 72,519,000
8 Hulu 14,627,000 832,515,000
9 ESPN Digital Network 13,081,000 245,667,000
10 Perform Group 11,554,000 71,396,000
Source: Nielsen. Data from January 2012 – October 2012 (Total). Ranked on average monthly unique viewers.Read as:  During 2012 132.5 million people, on average, streamed video from YouTube each month.
Top Android Apps of 2012
Rank Apps Avg Unique Users YTD Change %
1 Google Search 46,386,000 54%
2 Gmail 44,516,000 45%
3 Facebook 42,379,000 48%
4 Google Maps 41,976,000 41%
5 YouTube 32,223,000 70%
6 Pandora Radio 11,600,000 55%
7 Twitter 10,674,000 122%
8 Adobe Reader 10,354,000 64%
9 Advanced Task Killer 9,569,000 -11%
10 The Weather Channel 8,983,000 59%
Source: Nielsen, Data from January – October 2012 (Android only). Ranked on average monthly unique users.Read as: During 2012 46 million Android smartphone owners used the Google Search app on average each month, growing their unique users 54% between January and October 2012.
Top 10 iPhone Apps of 2012
Rank Apps Avg Unique Users YTD Change %
1 Maps 32,365,000 23%
2 Facebook 28,585,000 51%
3 YouTube 22,626,000 -4%
4 Stocks 21,080,000 51%
5 Weather 20,531,000 41%
6 Facebook Messenger 10,458,000 544%
7 The Weather Channel 10,446,000 54%
8 Twitter 9,748,000 47%
9 Pandora Radio 9,563,000 47%
10 Instagram 6,910,000 197%
Source: Nielsen, Data from January – October 2012 (iOS only). Ranked on average monthly unique users.Read as: During 2012 28 million iPhone owners used the Facebook app on average each month, growing their unique users 51% between January and October 2012.

--