Wednesday, 7th April 2010
In 2008 Bebo the social networking site peaked for popularity and was promptly bought by AOL for a mere $850million. Two years later Bebo is to be sold or closed with no great surprise to industry watchers.
The social networking landscape is changing at a stellar speed. Data from comScore, a leading organisation that measures the digital world (http://www.comscore.com/), shows that social networking audiences have been consolidating around Facebook. According to their figures Facebook had 462 million visitors, MySpace 100 million and twitter 69.5 million. Bebo’s visitors in February were 12.8 million, which was down 45% on 2009.
Social networking is a fickle business and it seems that the more minimalist formats are becoming increasingly popular. This could mean more business for twitter and Facebook in a highly competitive market.
However, social networking markets vary considerably across the globe. There is some very interesting data from the Asia Pacific market, again from comScore. This data is from the World Metrix service and excludes China; but includes the Philippines, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, India, South Korea, Vietnam and Japan (http://digbig.com/5bbjrm).
The study from February 2010 found that 50.8 percent of the total online population in the Asia Pacific region visited a social networking site in that month, reaching a total of 240.3 million visitors.
The main news is that Facebook are competing with local brands for the title of top social network across the board, but it is still a market leader in many of the countries. The regional players include Orkut in India, Mixi.jp. in Japan, CyWorld in South Korea and Wretch.cc in Taiwan. An executive from comScore reports that the dynamics in the Asia Pacific region exhibit more market differentiation than any other global region.
Social networking penetration in the Asia Pacific market is highest in the Philipppines, Australia and Indonesia. Social networkers in the Philippines also showed the highest levels of engagement on social networking sites too.
In the last two years the social networking landscape has changed with such a force it is difficult to predict where we will be this time next year. It is a global phenomenon and it looks set to continue as an experience we like on the Web. But who will be around and who won’t be? And factor in where you are in the world then we could be looking at a very different market place indeed!
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