Five of the ten fastest-growing online brands*, in terms of unique audience, over the last year in the UK relate to social and professional networking – and FacebookÂ accounted forÂ the growth of two of the five, and its own, according to (pdf) Nielsen Online.
Among the findings:
- RockYou! – providing applications and widgets for social networks – was the fastest growing online brand, its audience increasing 2,106% between Oct. ’06 and Oct. ’07.
- Facebook was the second fastest growing – up by 1,646% – followed by another provider of applications and widgets for social networks, Slide, which grew 649%.
- Overall, the 10 fastest-growing online brands contain three social networking tools, one social network and one professional network (LinkedIn).
“The phenomenal success of social networks has had a knock-on effect for providers of applications and widgets that personalize the web experience further,” said Alex Burmaster, internet analyst, Nielsen Online.
“The success of these applications is very much dependent on that of the social networks. For example, 98% of Bunnyhero’s audience are ‘Beboers’ whilst 89% of RockYou!’s audience and 79% of Slide’s audience are ‘Facebookers,'” Burmaster said.
Growth among the most popular online brands:
- YouTube and Wikipedia, the two fastest growers among the 10 most popular brands, in Oct. entered the top 10 at the expense of Real Network and AOL Network.
- The six most popular brands remain unchanged.
- Manufacturers Apple (-6%) and Microsoft (-3%) are the only brands among the current top 10 to undergo a drop in audience.
“The story of the last year has, undoubtedly, been the phenomenal growth in user-generated content, so it’s not surprising to see this reflected in the leading brands. Gone are traditional powerhouses like Real and AOL, being replaced by signature Web 2.0 brands such as YouTube and Wikipedia,” Burmaster said.
“The other leading players have experienced mixed fortunes over the last year. Whilst Amazon and Google have experienced good growth (21% and 19%, respectively), brands like the BBC, MSN, Yahoo and eBay are reaching less of the online population than they did a year ago as their audiences have grown at a lower rate than that of the total online population (12%).”
“The manufacturers, particularly, have had a tough time online during the last year despite big product launches. Microsoft and Apple’s websites are marginally less popular than a year ago despite, respectively, the launch of Vista and the buzz preceding the iPhone’s UK launch early this month,” he said.
About the data: All figures come from NetView – the Nielsen//NetRatings panel of around 45,000 UK internet users who have opted in to download a meter that records all their PC, online and application usage on a continual and ongoing basis.
*To appear in the list of fastest-growing brands, the brand must have had at least 85,000 unique visitors in October 2006. Furthermore, the audience growth must be organic as opposed to growth caused by acquisition of other online brands or rolling up other brands in a company’s portfolio into a single “network” brand.