As expected, unique visitors to social networking site Facebook have finally and decisively eclipsed those of longtime rival MySpace and continue to grow both in the US and abroad, according to figures from comScore, reports MarketingVox.
In May 2009, Facebook’s unique visitor count, as calculated by comScore, caught up to MySpace and surpassed it by a small margin. By June, Facebook hit 77 million unique visitors, representing a significant rise from May’s 70.28 million uniques – and leaving MySpace’s 68.4 visitors in the dust, TechCrunch wrote.
June data from Hitwise revealed that Facebook now holds 32% share of the US social networking market, compared with 29% for MySpace, while figures from Compete.com – which are calculated using a different methodology than comScore’s, have Facebook passing MySpace in unique visitors back in December 2008.
MySpace Hemorrhaging Visitors
Meanwhile, MySpace lost almost four million unique visitors in June, in addition to the 700,000 it lost in May. April figures show Facebook growing 700%, while MySpace declined 31%. As Facebook expands in the US and internationally, MySpace’s star appears to be waning.
Last month MySpace announced plans to cut 30% of its US team, a total of 420 employees, MarketingVox said.? Less than two weeks later, it also prepared to cut two-thirds of its international staff.
A recent eMarketer forecast projected US ad spend on social networks would slide 3% to $1.14 billion, in part because of? “problems at MySpace.”
Moreover, a Bloomberg report proclaimed that the number of clients using Facebook’s automated online ad system more than tripled over the past year, indicating more small- and mid-sized businesses are using it to target relevant demographics. And in June, Russian firm Digital Sky Technologies paid $200 million for less than 2% of Facebook, valuing the latter at roughly $10 billion.
Despite MySpace’s waning popularity, it continues to generate more pageviews than Facebook. In June the site enjoyed 32.4 billion pageviews in the US, but dropped 10% from May.
Facebook, in contrast, witnessed 21.3 billion June pageviews – a? 12% increase from May.
Globally, Facebook leads MySpace by a wide margin. Worldwide monthly pageviews for MySpace slipped from 47.4 billion in April 2008 to 38 billion in April 2009 – a 20% drop. That same period, Facebook blossomed from 44 billion to 87 billion – a 100% increase.
Developers also say activity on MySpace is decreasing by as much as “half a percent a week,” according to TechCrunch.
Move to Facebook “White Flight”
In more alarming news about MySpace, Danah Boyd, a social media researcher at Microsoft Research New England and a fellow at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society,? said young Americans’ migration from MySpace to Facebook is causing potential social divisions and could lead to more serious societal problems.
Boyd said? she has observed more white, upper-class and college-bound teenagers switching to Facebook, while less educated and nonwhite teenagers stay on or move to MySpace.? “What we’re seeing is a modern incarnation of white flight,” she is quoted as saying in a New York Times blog post. “It should scare the hell out of us.”
Falling out of favor with users bodes poorly for MySpace, which may lose a major revenue stream as a result. In 2010, MySpace receives its last payment from Google ‘ part of an ad deal inked between Google and News Corp. in 2006 – after which it will likely be cut off. Under the terms of the agreement, MySpace would have received $300 million over the next year if it met certain pageview requirements, which, given the trends, it likely will not.
According to MarketingVOX, Facebook shows no signs of slowing down. The network successfully launched its “vanity URLs,” in June, with millions of users signing up for the new feature within days. The network also got some notice around its use during the Iran elections and protests, and around the new privacy settings surrounding its “Everyone” button.