According to the latest data from Hitwise, Facebook, which is kicking off its developer conference today, grew 40% over the last year, while its biggest competitor, MySpace, saw a 6% drop in visits since June 2007. The numbers for average time spent on these two sites almost directly mirror the numbers for visits, with MySpace being down 4% and Facebook up 41%.
Even though Facebook is slowly catching up to MySpace, the gap between the two is still large, with Facebook having a 17% market share and MySpace 72%.
While Facebook users are starting to spend a lot more time on the site, the average MySpace users still spends about 10 more minutes there than the average Facebook user (21 min).
MyYearbook, interestingly, saw the largest gain of all social networks, a trend we have observed for quite a while now. It grew by almost 320%, though it only has a market share of 1.5%. Its users are also among the most loyal and spend about 30 minutes on the site. MyYearbook, as the name implies, mainly targets the high school market.
The data for the UK social networking market is quite different. There, Facebook already has a 45% market share, up an astonishing 172%, while every other major social network there lost between 20% (Bebo) and close to 50% (Friends Reunited and Myspace).
Facebook Still Trying to Catch Up
While Facebook is the fastest growing network and MySpace is bleeding users at a slow by steady clip, Facebook still has a long way to go before it will catch up to MySpace. Even though MySpace has a bad reputation in the blogosphere (though, thanks to some recent initiatives like Data Availability and OpenID integration, this tide might be slowly turning) and Facebook gets a lot of the hype, if advertisers and developers want to reach the largest number of potential users, MySpace is still the place to go for the foreseeable future.