As a regular post topic on The Shelf Facebook has again been hitting the headlines this week, this time with a detailed study of visitor statistics and user trends that I found interesting.
After August 2007 statistics were released Facebook was ranked third in terms of pageviews, and furthermore is claimed to be winning users from Myspace. In August Facebook logged 26 million visits and being that Facebook allows only restricted activity without a membership, 22 million of these visits were new applicants. I personally wonder whether this huge influx of new members is as a direct result of Facebook opening up member profiles to Google, meaning anyone can Google a friend and find their Facebook profile in Google search results.
User trends of Myspace and Facebook (as the two big social networking players) are already thought to be significantly different. Myspace users are thought to be more tech savvy being able to control basic elements of their web pages, whilst Facebook users are thought more professional, using the site much as an extended e mail. So can Facebook actually be attracting visitors form its competitor when they have such different needs.
Of the 22 million visits to Facebook, 21 million spend their time viewing their own profiles or profiles of friends. Beyond this 14 million interacted with Facebook applications which themselves are responsible for capturing more time per session than any other activity on the site. 16 million visitors browsed photos, of which 150 were viewed on average per user over the month. 80k poked other people, an action on each user’s profile.
Interestingly Facebook’s Marketplace was used by 1.3 million visitors with an average of 2.27 minutes per visit, whilst group activity and networks browsing accounted for 8 million and 5 million visits respectively.
Reading these statistics it does seem Facebook Applications and picture sharing account for the large majority of user’s time, and some reports state that applications alone account for 37% of Facebook’s growth. This will have direct competition from Google’s upcoming project involving the building applications for all social networking sites in the OpenSocial partnership, of which Facebook is the only big player no to be involved. It will be interesting to see if this move slows Facebook’s growth at all in the future.
Regardless of future developments and without all the hype of Facebook’s astonishing growth rate, it is however important to remember that currently Facebook is only where Myspace was two years ago in terms of total traffic. Since its launch it has come on leaps and bounds but still has a way to go to become top social networking dog.