Good news for MySpace: January comScore numbers show some audience metrics ticking up — and in many cases, outpacing rival Facebook. The bad news for both social networks: Those same numbers still indicate that American users, at least, may be reaching social network fatigue.
The tale of the tape (U.S. audience, Dec. 2007 to Jan. 2008, and Jan. 2007 to Jan. 2008)
MySpace: Down .4% m/m, up 11.6% y/y
Facebook: Down 2.3%, up 78.6%
Total Audience: Up .3%, up 4.9%
MySpace: Up 13.3% m/m, flat y/y
Facebook: Down .7%, up 80.5%
Total Audience: Up 8.3%, up 9.2%
Total Pages Viewed:
MySpace: Up 13.1% m/m, up 8.6% y/y
Facebook: Down 1.9%, up 23%
Total Audience: Up 8.5%, up 12.3%
Average Minutes Per Visitor:
Myspace: Up 13.7% m/m, down 10.4% y/y
Facebook: Up 1.6%, up 1.1%
Total Audience: Up 7.9%, up 4.1%
Average Visits Per Visitor:
MySpace: Down .1% m/m, down 11.6% y/y
Facebook: Down 3.3%, down 12.3%
Total Audience: Up 6.7%, down 1.8%
The MySpace folks are quite pleased with these numbers, especially after December showed slippage in many metrics. And MySpace tweaked its design in the last few months in a way that should reduce page views, so watching both minutes per visitor and total pages tick up at the same time should make them feel good.
But as always, the standard “don’t reach too much into a month’s data” warning applies. For instance, last year Facebook also saw uniques drop from December to January — and then watched them roar ahead.
And in general, the comScore numbers seem to indicate that there’s a finite audience for social networks, or at least a finite amount of time people want to spend with them. Facebook, for instance, has seen its user base skyrocket over the past year, but the average user comes back to the site less often. And despite all manner of widgets, apps, content plays, etc, both sites are having a hard time convincing users to stick around longer. Yet another reason why it’s critical for both to figure out an ad model that works.
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