Stats are important –but on their own, they don’t tell us much
Stats on social networks are important, but I’m going to need your help in creating a community archive, can you submit stats as you find them? I’m often asked, “What are the usage numbers for X social network” and I’ve received considerable traffic on my very old post (way back in Jan 08) of MySpace and Facebook stats, even months later. Decision makers, press, media, and users are hungry for numbers, so I’ll start to aggregate them as I see them.
How I interpret stats
Numbers don’t tell us much without insight and interpretation, in fact, you’re going to see conflicting numbers of usage from many of the agencies and social networks themselves. The key is to look at trend movements, don’t focus on the specific numbers but the changes to them over time. I put more weight on active unique users in the last 30 days vs overall registered, in fact, the actual active conversion rate will often range from 10-40% of actual users sticking around and using the social network, so don’t be fooled by puffed numbers. No single metric is a good indicator, you have to evaluate the usage from multiple dimensions, so you also have to factor in what are users doing, time on site, interaction, and of course, did they end up buying, recommending products, or improving their lives.
A Collection of Social Network Stats for 2009
I’ll be updating this post throughout the year, bookmark it, and share it with others
All Social Networks
Techcrunch has listed out comscore’s numbers across multiple social networks, Sources: Techcrunch via Comscore, Jan 1, 2009 Compete has released stats in Feb, comments by Cnet. Unique Visitors, Total Visitors and rank information. Cnet, Feb 10, 2009 Nielsen Online shows that: Social networks and blogs are now the 4th most popular online activity ahead of personal email, Member communities are visited by 67% of the global online population, time spent is growing at 3 times the overall internet rate, accounting for almost 10% of all internet time, PDF, Nielsen Online, March Nielsen reports that Social Networks 68% more popular than email 65% (but not by much), Nielsen, Cnet, March 2009 Techcrunch has an interesting application that shows which social networks dominate by country, June 2009 eMarketer has compiled stats from themselves and others on the different age groups of Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, and LinkedIn, July 2009 Ignite has data on a variety of social networks that includes traffic and demographic data. July 2009 Gender: Royal Pingdom compares social networks based by gender, in almost all cases, women dominate social networking sites over men. Nov 30, 2009
- 39 million people visit eHow each month to accomplish their projects
- How to Boil an Egg is consistently one of the most popular articles on eHow
- eHow has more than 160K professionally produced videos
- eHow has more than 700K articles
- eHow has paid more than $1MM to members participating in the Writer’s Compensation Program
- Now over 2500 writers contributing pitches, ideas, and feedback in our virtual writers room.
- 18k+ total submissions to our daily caption contest in the month of June
- Most viewed article of all time on Cracked “The Top 10 Secret Celebrity Scientologists” hits 4.6M+ total views
- Original episodic video series, “S.W.A.I.M”, which offers hilarious commentary on oddities across the web, reaches 4M+ total streams
- Adding up article and topics page submissions, comments, craption entries, and photoshop entries, over 30k unique content submissions from users/month
Facebook has some very limited stats on their own website, view here, Facebook, often updated 150 million people around the world are now actively using Facebook and almost half of them are using Facebook every day. This includes people in every continent–even Antarctica. If Facebook were a country, it would be the eighth most populated in the world, just ahead of Japan, Russia and Nigeria. Facebook is used in more than 35 different languages and 170 countries and territories. Source: Mark Zuckerberg, Jan 7, 2009 Facebook has 54.5 million monthly unique visitors, says Comscore, with a growth rate in the U.S. averaged 3.8% per month over the last year. Source, Comscore via Techncrunch, Jan 13, 2009 175mm users, with 600k daily growth of users, with the fastest growing segment “45% of Facebook’s US audience is now 26 years old or older.” Inside Facebook, Feb 15th, 2009. Compare the dominant Facebook vs MySpace traffic, stickablilty, and engagement, Compete, Feb 27, 2009 Despite those that have over 100 friends, most only communicate with a smaller subset of friends, and the rest is broadcasting to others. Now there’s not enough data presented to see if if content actually can still spread across those that do not interact. Source originally from Facebook’s sociologist, Feb 2009 This graph from Compete data shows Facebook has more users than MySpace, note the ‘crossing of the streams’, Compete, March Inside Facebook says: “the number of Americans over 35, 45, and 55 on Facebook is growing fast. In the last 60 days alone, the number of people over 35 has nearly doubled. Developers and marketers may want to think about how to serve this group of new users.” Inside Facebook, March “Women over 55 remain the fastest growing group, and growth among the teen and college-age set has been relatively paltry. In absolute numbers there are now even slightly more members between the ages of 45 and 65 than there are 13-to 17-year-olds.” Wired Magazine, March. Facebook Ranks as Top Social Networking Site in the Majority of European Countries. Facebook Captures #1 Ranking in Spain for the First Time in February, comScore, April Facebook dominates US visitors over MySpace: “Facebook pulled in 70.278 million unique visitors in the states, compared to MySpace’s 70.237 million, according to data released by ComScore. That made Facebook the most popular site in the U.S., in terms of visitors. Just a month earlier, Facebook had a little over 67 million U.S. visitors behind MySpace’s 70.9 million.” PC Mag,, June 16 Techcrunch found that Facebook is the fourth most visited website in June, 2009 Facebook hits 300mm users as of Sept 15th, they were 250mm in July, showing significant growth. The challenge? We don’t know how many accounts are active, registered doesn’t mean they are returning. Secondly, there are still large social networks like email to contend with: Yahoo, Gmail, AOL, and MSLive. Sept 15, 2009. Facebook fan page stats based on analysis of over 600,000 pages by Sysmos, Nov 2009. Demographic data released says “about 11 percent of the social network’s approximately 100 million U.S. members were African-American, about 9 percent were Latino and 6 percent were Asian, according to a blog Facebook posted Wednesday evening – a much higher share for blacks and Latinos than four years ago.” read this insight, or Facebook’s data, Dec 17th
“90 percent of its traffic coming from four countries – the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.” also “15 million members worldwide” and “comScore reports Friendster traffic in Southeast Asia dropped from 32.6 million unique monthly visitors in August 2008 to 13.7 million this August, while Facebook zoomed from 24.8 million to 71.1 million. Friendster had slipped even below MySpace, with 15.1 million, while Twitter surged from 600,000 to 10.3 million.” SFGate. Oct 2, 2009
60 million reported users, and Hi5 has introduced a gaming component. VentureBeat, Feb 5, 2009
“the site’s traffic is up in the recession. It hit 36 million members last Monday and is adding them at a rate of about one member per second. According to ComScore, it’s gone from about 3.6 million unique monthly visitors a year ago to 7.7 million today, Adage, March 2. Big growth, LinkedIn has grown to 50 million users as “As of early this morning, LinkedIn has 50 million users worldwide and we’re growing that figure at roughly one new member per second. When LinkedIn launched in 2003, it took 477 days – almost a year and four months – to reach our first million members. This last million took only 12 days” They report in Oct 14th,
Microsoft: Live, Hotmail, Messenger
Number of active WL IDs: More than 500 million active Windows Live Ids. Number of Hotmail Users: More than 375 million active accounts worldwide. Number of Messenger Users: More than 320 million active accounts worldwide. As told to me by Microsoft in April
76 million members in MySpace US, with a U.S. growth rate of 0.8% per month Comscore via Techncrunch, Jan 13, 2009 “The average MySpace user now spends 266 minutes (4.4 hours) on the site every month; a 5% increase over last month and a +31% increase year over year. MySpace says its users spend nearly 100 minutes more per visitor than the closest competitor.” Social media bible (who cites a press release), Feb, 2009 Compare the dominant Facebook vs MySpace traffic, stickablilty, and engagement, (repeated from the Facebook category above) Compete, Feb 27, 2009 Facebook dominates US visitors over MySpace: “Facebook pulled in 70.278 million unique visitors in the states, compared to MySpace’s 70.237 million, according to data released by ComScore. That made Facebook the most popular site in the U.S., in terms of visitors. Just a month earlier, Facebook had a little over 67 million U.S. visitors behind MySpace’s 70.9 million.” PC Mag,, June 16
Having spent time with Ev and Biz, they don’t provide a lot of data and certainly not a total user count, as a result, we often have to estimate based on the following sources.
According to Compete, the growth rate for Twitter was 752%, for a total of 4.43 million unique visitors in December 2008, in the start of 2008, Twitter had only around 500,000 unique monthly visitors. Source: Mashable/Compete, Jan 9, 2009 Demographics of Twitter: Lots of stats here: 11% of online adults use Twitter or update their status online Twitter users are mobile, less tethered by technology, Pew Research, Feb 12 Quantcast data on Twitter indicates that Twitter.com is a top 500 site that reaches over 4.1 million U.S. monthly people. The site attracts a more educated, slightly more female than male, young adult audience. Quantcast, March Compete shows that Twitter is receiving 8million unique visitors in the month of March 2009. Compete (via Nick) March 10 Comscore data shows that “In February, 4 million people in the U.S. visited the site, up from 2.6 million the month before, according to the latest data from comScore. That represents a 55 percent month-over-month growth rate, compared to 33 percent growth in each of the two months prior.” Comscore, March Unique visitors to Twitter increased 1,382 percent year-over-year, from 475,000 unique visitors in February 2008 to 7 million in February 2009, making it the fastest growing site in the Member Communities category for the month, Nielsen, March “Worldwide visitors to Twitter approached 10 million in February, up an impressive 700+% vs. year ago. The past two months alone have seen worldwide visitors climb more than 5 million visitors. U.S. traffic growth has been just as dramatic, with Twitter reaching 4 million visitors in February, up more than 1,000% from a year ago.” Comscore, April “-the average user has 126 followers; -only 20% of its traffic comes through the Twitter website; the other 80% (logically) comes from third-party programs on smartphones or computers. So if you’re looking at Twitter stats on your website, you’re probably underestimating that source of traffic by a factor of five; -an early peak test of the service came during President Obama’s inauguration in January, when more than 300 tweets per second were being added to the message queue.”Guardian UK (Quoting Twitter’s Engineer Weaver), June. “5% of users accounted for 75% of all activity. This finding was based on indexing 11.5 million accounts, and then looking at the top 5% users who accounted for most number of Tweets….We found that 32% of all tweets made by the most active Twitter users were generated by machine bots that posted more than 150 tweets/day. The actual percentage of machine-generated tweets among the most active users is probably higher than 32% because there many bots that update less than 150 times/day, August, 2009, Sysomos Highlights include: “This shows us the exponential growth experienced by Twitter in 2009. In Q3, this plateaus at a rate of about 8 million new users per month” and “As of September 1st, the actual number of live Twitter accounts was just above 50 million.” and “the average Twitter user has 42 followers. It’s interesting to see the distribution of users by the number of people following them” and “over 75% of all Twitter users have tweeted fewer than ten times” read more data from the source captured on, Oct 5, RJReynolds Social Networking stats indicate that microblogging adoption has increased, those that are ‘younger’ are embracing (there’s limited age breakdown to justify what young means) and those with mobile devices are more likely to tweet. From RWW and Pew, Oct 20th
Yelp had 25 million daily uniques in August 2009 and have over 7 million reviews on the site to date –told to me by Yelp in October 6, 2009.
Need more? I have stats compiled in 2008 for AdultFriendFinder, Bebo, Digg, MySpace, Hi5, and many others.
A note about sources:
I’m simply collecting them in one spot unless I indicate so, these are not stats from my research. As a result, you’ll often see a discrepancy in numbers depending on source. I need your help, as you find references to usage, visitors, or registered members numbers in articles or reports, please leave a comment with the URL.