Hitwise on Fast Growing Social Networks – Implications

March 14th, 2007

Hitwise is reporting numbers on social network usage among Web users. This is what stood out:

The market share of visits to the custom category of the top 20 social networking sites increased by 11.5% from January 2007 to February 2007. Year-over-year (February 2006 – February 2007) category traffic was up 87%.

This leads to an interesting question on evolving behavior of Web users. At any given point of time, consider user attention to be at one of these categories of content:

  1. Social Networking Sites
  2. Commerce Sites
  3. Feed Readers
  4. Social Content (Blogs, Wikipedia etc..)
  5. Contextual Advertisements
  6. Organic Search Results
  7. Rest of the Web

It’s well known that traffic to the first five categories is either growing or stable. So which of the last two categories is this growth biting into? Either case, we might soon see a headliner from Hitwise that goes — “Less users searching on the Web”, or something similar.

So what does this mean to Google et al — of course less revenue from self-hosted ads, and consequently reduced margins. Solution — Buy Social Networking Sites and offer new services, a trend that will (and better) continue.

(Via Micropersuasion)