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Follow up on top social networks by engagement July 23, 2007

Posted by jeremyliew in social media, social networks, user generated content, web 2.0.

Last night’s post on the top social networks by engagement provoked some good response. Some readers questioned whether Pageviews per user per month was the best measure of engagement given that some social networks make use of AJAX and other RIA (Rich Internet Application) tools that would reduce pageview count.

As an alternative I also looked at the top social networks ordered by time spent per user per month (again excluding sites with less than 500k unique users per month). Here are the 14 such social networks with over 40 minutes spent per month in June according to Comscore:

top social networks by time spent on site

The top five sites by PVs are still the top five sites by time spent and there is still quite a gap between them and the other social networks. Notably, Gaia jumps from being number 5 by PVs/user/month to #1 by minutes/visitor/month, reflecting the fact that a large portion of its use is a casual immersive world delivered in Flash (which isn’t counted though pageviews).

Other than that the rest of the list is largely the same. It seems like at a high level both measures of engagement come to the same conclusions.

Top social networks for engagement – some suprises! July 23, 2007

Posted by jeremyliew in social media, social networks, user generated content, web 2.0.

Earlier today Om reported that Hi5 has raised $20m from Mohr Davidow. As Techcrunch points out, Hi5 is ranked by Alexa as 11th globally, higher than Facebook. Mashable notes that Hi5 claims 30 million members and 200 million pageviews/day, big numbers, but mostly in non-English speaking countries. Congrats to both Hi5 and Mohr Davidow.

This news prompted me to take a look at what are the most engaging social networks for US users. Comscore lists 174 sites in its social networking category. I ranked the sites by two key measures of engagement (i) pageviews per user per month and (ii) visits per user per month. I then stripped out all sites with less than 500k US unique users per month.

First lets look at the most engaging social networks by PVs per visitor (I cut off the list for sites with less than 100 PV/User/month

social networks by pvs per visitor per month

Its interesting to see that Orkut, generally thought of as a Brazilian and Indian focused site, has more pageviews per user per month from US users than even MySpace and Facebook. Myspace continues to dominate Facebook on all three key metrics, suggesting that reports of MySpace’s death are greatly exaggerated, Facebook apps notwithstanding. There is also a pretty marked step between the top 5 sites (500+ PV/UU/mth) and the next 6.

Re-ranking by visits/month (and cutting off at 4 visits per month or once a week) gives the following list:

Top Social networks by visits per visitor per month

Unsurprisingly, the top few sites are the same on both lists. A few well known sites further down such as Windows Live Spaces, Habbo Hotel, imeem, Xanga, Yahoo 360, MyYearbook and Piczo don’t show up on the other list, suggesting that each visit doesn’t go as deep as the sites on both lists (ie lower PVs/visit)

Two sites that made both lists were unfamiliar to me; hoverspot.com and vampirefreaks.com. Hoverspot is a general social networking site that has doubled its user count over the last year according to Comscore, and Vampirefreaks is a goth/industrial social network.

Also noteworthy were four sites with over 500 PV/User/month that didn’t make the first list because they had less than 500k UU/mth; Shoutlife (a christian social network), Cyworld (the US arm of the wildly successful Korean social network), Mocospace (a mobile social network) and Cherrytap which appears to now be redirecting to Fubar.com and calls itself the first online bar (and seems to mostly be about meeting people). They show that you don’t have to have a large audience to drive high engagement.

UPDATE: Some readers in comments have questioned whether Pageviews per user per month is a good measure of engagement since some sites use Rich Internet Application (RIA) technologies such as AJAX that reduce pageviews. I recut the analysis using time spent instead of pageviews and it looks like the top social networks by time spent are largely the same (follow the link for details).