Although Facebook has come on
strong in recent months, MySpace averaged more than three-quarters of
all US visits in 2007 among the top social networking Web sites,
according to Hitwise. The site received 72% of US visits to social networks in December 2007 alone. However…

Overall visits to a group of 53
leading social network sites were up 4% year over year, and the top
sites are becoming a mainstay of many Internet users’ routines.

“The continued popularity of
social networking activities online will drive the interest of
marketers seeking to target influential users to
approve and advocate their products and services," said Heather
Dougherty, director of research at Hitwise.

Top 10 Social Networking Sites among US Internet Users, Ranked by Visits, December 2006 & December 2007 (% market share and % change)

Facebook increased its market share of visits to more than 16% in
December 2007, from 10.59% in December 2006. The Hitwise data indicated
that users still spent more time at MySpace than at other social
networking sites in December 2007. Yet time spent there was actually
down from the previous December. At the same time, time spent per
visitor at Facebook doubled.

Average Time Spent per Visitor to the Top Five Social Networking Sites* among US Internet Users, December 2006 & December 2007 (mins:secs and % change)

"Facebook applications have had a positive effect on the amount of
time people spend on the site," said Debra Aho Williamson, senior
analyst at eMarketer. "Installing and using applications is now a key
Facebook activity."

Both sites are reaching an increasing share of US Internet
users. The reach of MySpace alone grew from 32% of US Internet users in
October 2006 to 40% in October 2007, according to comScore. Facebook’s reach doubled to 18% in the same period.

US Unique Visitors to MySpace and Facebook, October 2006-October 2007 (thousands, % reach and % change)

MySpace appears to dominate the
social networking landscape, with Facebook a distant second. But
recently pointed out that the US data misses a larger trend.

"Regardless of what data better reflects who is winning the
social-networking race in the US, the real story is happening
said Erick Schonfeld of TechCrunch.

Mr. Schonfeld referred to global comScore data for November 2007 showing that Facebook had
nearly caught up to MySpace
with 93 million unique visitors worldwide compared with MySpace’s 105 million.

MySpace is hardly standing still. A January 2008
New York
article said that the company was now in 24 countries after adding 15 in the last year. And MySpace certainly doesn’t lack
for financial backing since its acquisition by News Corp.

Social networking is already well established in many other
countries. US social networking sites wishing to dominate globally will
have to compete with existing market leaders. MySpace and Facebook
might not be each other’s biggest competitive threat worldwide.

Via eMarketer