The "total time spent on social media in the US across PCs and mobile devices increased 37 percent to 121 billion minutes in July 2012, compared to 88 billion in July 2011," Nielsen last year reported, adding that "consumers' time spent with social media on mobile apps and the mobile Web has increased 63 percent in 2012, compared to the same period last year."

Obviously, growing adoption especially of smartphones and tablets is fueling some of this growth. But here's the final staggering quote: "20 percent of time spent on PCs and 30 percent of their mobile time is on social networks."

In addition, Facebook recently shared that it has about 157 million mobile-only users and that group is growing a staggering 25 million a quarter. That level of growth would put them over a quarter billion by year end—more than those who use Twitter. And within social networks, users spend over 40% of their time within the stream.

Though it may feel as if social media marketing has been around for a while, it's important to remember that it's just picking-up steam and there will be continued growth and disruption in how consumers use social platforms.

Growth and disruption came in the form of announcements from Facebook around significant changes to the News Feed and the introduction of Facebook Home. With these announcements, Facebook swung the pendulum back toward the consumer experience and away from marketing. But one thing is clear: Right rail ads are on the path to extinction and the News Feed is the place to be to reach, engage, and convert social/mobile customers.

Since many marketers have focused their energies on right rail advertising, tab app experiences, and native posting, it's important to understand that advertising in social streams is different and the strategies and tactics required for success are distinct.

Here are three "light bulb" moments social media marketers should be aware of.

1. You're Invited!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Marko Muellner

Marko Muellner is vice-president of marketing at ShopIgniter and has over 18 years of social media and digital marketing experience. Reach him via marko@shopigniter.com

Twitter: @markozm