ComScore says social networks' growth is slowing
Creative Capital got ahold of the December 2007 ComScore numbers for the top social networks in the U.S. — and they are, on the whole, not good. Engagement — average minutes spent on the site per visitor — is down for MySpace and Microsoft's Live Spaces, but up for almost all the other sites. Unique visitor growth is ominously low for MySpace and, in the last three months, LinkedIn. Hit the jump to see the numbers for yourself.
MySpace has only added 8 million users since last year — and lost users since October. Valley darling Facebook has nearly doubled its user base, jumping from 19 million to almost 35 million users. Live Spaces and Hi5 have lost users, while Bebo and, incredibly, Friendster have added users, though they are still nowhere near the market leaders. The site with the big focus on business, LinkedIn, has more than tripled in size since last year — but shows almost no growth the past 3 months.
Leaving aside December, which is a likely outlier for engagement thanks to the holidays, Facebook, Bebo, Hi5 and LinkedIn all show growth between December 2006 and November 2007. Only MySpace and Live Spaces show a drop during that time period — a particularly ominous sign for News Corp.'s MySpace. At 196 minutes per visitor, it's still light years beyond any of the smaller sites. Friendster, which had shown strong engagement growth, up to 109 minutes in October, fell to under 70 minutes in November before plummeting to 40 minutes in December.
As Creative Capital points out, the News Corp. earning announcement next week will give the first insight into the money numbers from MySpace — and we'll know if the slowing growth is affecting the bottom line.