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BizReport : Research archives : November 10, 2006

Are Social Networks Declining?

Despite indications that social networking is beginning to decline, it seems people continue to blog and visit social networking sites en masse.

by Kristina Knight

"Hitwise US Consumer Generated Media Report", released Wednesday, examines trends in social networking, photo sharing and online video. LeeAnn Prescott, director of research at Hitwise said (via MarketingVOX), "The use of social networking, photo hosting, and online video websites represent a significant shift in online user behavior, and Hitwise Clickstream data is particularly useful in understanding how these users are interacting with the web."

According to HitWise, an online intelligence service, one in 20 Internet visits were to social network sites in September. Overall growth in social networking was 34%. In the top five for growth are MySpace (up 51%), (up 251%), Bebo (95%), Orkut (63%) and Gaia Online (41%).

But the growth isn’t just on networking or blogging sites. Photo hosting websites were also up, with PhotoBucket leading the way at 43% growth from March to September 2005. Visits to YouTube were also up (249%).

The draw to these sites is boosting traffic in other arenas as well. Social networkers also drive traffic to online stores, research sites and forums, all are potential gold mines for online marketers. By harnessing positive word of mouth through offerings of peer reviews and branded micro-sites, online marketers have a potentially huge audience just waiting for their products and information.

Tags: blogs, social marketing, social network advertising, social networking

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