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A comparison of Facebook’s yearly growth in unique visitors shows it is gaining traction at a much faster pace than several other major social networking sites, according to CompetePRO data.

Facebook, Twitter Unique Visitors Grow Year-over-Year

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Between October 2009 and October 2010, Facebook increased its unique visitor total almost 22%, from about 109.7 million to 133.5 million. Compared to September 2010, Facebook grew its unique visitor total 2% from 130.8 million.

In comparison, Twitter only increased its unique visitor total year-over-year about 1.3%, from 25.3 million to 25.7 million. Between September and October 2010, Twitter experienced negative unique visitor growth of 9.4%, falling from 28.3 million.

MySpace, LinkedIn Suffer Negative Yearly Growth

MySpace experienced significant negative unique visitor growth between October 2009 and 2010, falling 20.5% from 73 million to 58 million. Month-over-month, MySpace underwent 2.4% negative growth, dropping from 59.5 million unique visitors.

Meanwhile, LinkedIn also experienced negative year-over-year unique visitor growth of about 4.7%, going from 14.6 million to 13.8 million. However, LinkedIn posted modest month-over-month growth of 3.2% from about 13.4 million.

Personal Networking Sites Show Minimal Yearly Unique Visitor Growth

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Combined, the 248 personal networking sites tracked by Compete (including Facebook, Twitter and MySpace), showed minimal growth in unique visitors between October 2009 and October 2010.

Personal networking sites only increased total unique visitors in that time by about 0.6%, from 144.6 million to 147.9 million. Month-over-month growth was negligible, rising from about 147.1 million.

Professional Networking Sites Lose Unique Visitors from Oct. ’09

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The 47 professional networking sites tracked by Compete (including LinkedIn) drew far fewer total unique visitors than the 250 personal networking sites, and showed worse year-over-year but better month-over-month growth rates.

Between October 2009 and October 2010, unique visitors shrank about 3%, from 20.5 million to 18.9 million. However, professional networking sites increased unique visitors about 3% from 18.3 million in September 2010.

Facebook Dominates SocNet Use among Young

Seventy-four percent of young adults use Facebook to some degree, according to a recent study from Edison Research. By frequency of use, this figure breaks down to 55% actively using Facebook and 19% occasionally using it. Of the remaining 26%, only 4% are unfamiliar with Facebook.

In comparison, only 30% of young adults use MySpace, with 12% actively using it. Much higher percentages of young adults have a MySpace account but don’t use it and have deleted a MySpace account than fit these two categories for Facebook use. Unfamiliarity is also twice as high (8%).

Twitter only has a 4% active use rate and 8% occasional use rate among young adults. However, 61% have heard of Twitter but never used it, presenting significant potential for audience growth.

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