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BizReport : Social Marketing : February 10, 2009

eMarketer predicts continued growth in number of socnet users

A new report from eMarketer estimates that in the next few years the number of users of social networking sites in the U.S. will rise to 114.6 million people, or 62% of the U.S. online population. Yet despite the potential, social networking sites have still to solve the problem of monetization.

by Helen Leggatt

The use of social networking sites is quickly embedding itself in the lives of people across all age groups, from teens to octogenarians. In the U.S., use of social networking sites increased by 11% in 2008 and eMarketer estimates growth will continue at a similar rate over the next five years.

The research firm also projects that 79.7 million people, 40% of all U.S. Internet users, will create content on social networks at least once a month this year, either by updating a profile or communicating publicly.

By 2013, eMarketer estimates that the number of people using social networking sites will have increased by 44% to 114.6 million, or 62% of the total U.S. online population.
"The steady stream of social network updates and news is now a weekly - or even daily - habit for many online users," said Debra Aho Williamson, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the report, 'Social Networks: Five Consumer Trends for 2009'.

"That stickiness is good news for social networks. Social network usage is not tapering off - it is growing. Not only are more consumers joining social networks, but their level of involvement is deepening."

But while the use of social networking sites is growing, and despite millions of active daily users, they have failed to become money-spinners. The race is on to monetize the sites. According to a report by Deloitte sites such as Facebook just don't make that much money per user. "The book value of some social networks may be written down and some companies may fail altogether if funding dries up," said Deloitte researcher Paul Lee.

Tags: Deloitte, eMarketer, monetize, profiles, social networking

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  • Facebook has had considerable success in 2008, they've grown consistently and the data shows their growth trajectory to be significantly higher than MySpace.

    I think one of the real successes of Facebook is that they have innovated quite a lot over the last year. They changed their user interface and have been adding a fair number of new features to their offering. This is really essential given the rapid growth in members they've had. As you grow your membership and user base changes. You need to change with them.

    But Twitter is the real success story of 2008 with incredible growth catapulting them to the 3rd most visited social network.

    I've written a bit more about this (and what Twitter can learn from Facebook's growth) if anybody's interested:


    Matt Rhodes




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