Leapfrogging to the top of the pile, Facebook earnedÂ top honors (pdf) from AdweekMedia’s third annual Digital Hot List – the top 10 powerhouse digital properties that have grabbed the attention of consumers, marketers, the press and pop culture in 2007.
Facebook (No. 10 last year) was followed by MySpace (the 2006 runner-up) and video sharing site YouTube (last year’s winner). In fourth place was celebrity chronicler TMZ.com (also fourth in 2006) – making social networking, video sharing, music downloads and celebrity gossip the hottest trends on the web.
Based on hard numbers and the ephemeral “it” factor, this year’s “Digital Hot List” (pdf) also factors in technological innovations, ad execution and user engagement: The top 10 were chosen according to substantial and consistent growth in key audience metrics, as well as buzz among media and marketing insiders.
The top four all return to the list from last year, while newcomers such as Will Ferrell’s FunnyorDie.com and Disney.com, an offering from a more traditional media company, fill out spots five through 10.
Illustrating the volatility of the digital industry, 2006 honorees (pdf) absent from this year’s list include Weather.com, Businessweek.com, Heavy.com, MLB.com, CartoonNetwork.com and ESPN.com.
The 2007 “Digital Hot List,” as determined and described by Adweek Media:
- Facebook.com: The onetime student-driven site opened wide this year in a crucial move that let anyone join and allowed third-party developers to build applications. Though smaller than MySpace, its audience has skyrocketed, bringing in big-name brand attention.
- MySpace.com: 60 million monthly unique users congregate, connect – and now consume content via the likes of Reuters and RipeTV. In February, Fox Interactive Media snatched up Strategic Data Corporation, which also resulted in the “Never Ending Friending Study.”
- YouTube: Just two-and-a-half years old, the video-sharing behemoth continues to grow with the world’s hottest tracks; Google’s $1.65 billion acquisition has fended off copyright infringement and a new ad system has been deemed a watershed.
- TMZ.com: As online video becomes ubiquitous, TMZ has benefited from the perfect combination of celebrity gossip and rising technology. With 9 million unique users per month, the AOL-owned site’s audience ballooned 101% over one year.
- Disney.com: With a newly revamped web property serving kids and parents alike, Disney’s unique visitor numbers have soared. Disney XD provides a unique social-networking/widget platform for users, resulting in an increase in the individual amount spent perusing the site.
- Veoh.com: Inking deals with NBC, National Lampoon and Paramount Pictures, Veoh is staying ahead of the pack of YouTube wannabees. Veoh expects to play a pivotal role in the evolution of video ads on the web.
- FunnyOrDie.com: Produced by Will Ferrell’s production company, the site signals that Hollywood is taking note of the power and ad-revenue of web video. The site is an avalanche of high-quality fare that also promises to bring a flood of opportunities for marketers.
- Discovery.com: Recently, Discovery.com added full-length on-demand episodes of several of its series, while featuring its original video content. This has generated steady growth in terms of engagement and unique visitors and the site has a huge user fan base.
- digg.com: A community site that is dedicated to finding the best (and wackiest) content on the web. A large male user base. Microsoft inked a three-year deal with the site to sell the site’s display inventory.
- imeem.com: Paving the way to reach young consumers, imeem provides the means for users to play music, share with friends and discover artists. Imeem enjoyed triple-digit growth this year.Â
About the list: Digital Hot List data was provided by Nielsen/NetRatings, which, like AdweekMedia, is part of The Nielsen Company. Adweek and Mediaweek editors considered ad-supported sites with a unique audience of at least 1 million as of June of this year, looking at month-by-month growth/declines in unique audience, web pages per person and time per person for the period June 2006 to June 2007. Figures reflect usage per month, not per session.