The distinction between our physical and virtual lives continues to blur at an amazing pace, as reflected in the social media statistics for 2009. While analyzing statistics, however, it is important to remember that numbers by themselves are meaningless. They become meaningful when these numbers are used to delineate trends. Most statistics show that 2009 is the year for social media. People are using sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Linked In more and more as their first option to connect with the world around them.
According to the social media marketing statistics for 2009 analyzed by Neilsen Online, social networks and blogs beat other online activity, including personal email, to become the 4th most popular online activity. While 67% of the global online population visit member communities, the time spent on social media sites now accounts for almost 10% of all internet time (Nielson Online, March 2009).
Let us look at the social media statistics for 2009 for some of the most popular social networking sites to further understand the emerging trends:
- MySpace continues to be the most popular social media site in the US, capturing 31.95% of all social media visitors. Globally, however, MySpace has fallen behind Facebook as the leading social media site, with Facebook recording 65.7 million unique visitors in 2009, as compared to 54.1 million at MySpace.
- Twitter has seen staggering acceptance from the global Internet population, growing by 76.8% from February to March and a whopping yearly growth rate of 1,382%, from February 2008 to February 2009.
- Facebook grew 314% in Europe in terms of yearly traffic from February 2008 to February 2009.
- According to the February 2009 statistics released by Clean Cut Media, YouTuve us the #1 video site on the web, with 300 million visitors each month.
- According to Compete, Digg saw a 91% increase in traffic, while Stumbleupon and FriendFeed recorded a huge increase of over 180% and 3100%, respectively, as compared to 2008.
- On the other hand, HotorNot.com, Technorati and Bloglines recorded a decline of 67%. 35% and 21%, respectively in unique visitors, as compared to 2008.
Although all these figures appear staggering, no single metric can really give a true picture of what trends one should expect through the rest of the year and into 2010. For a clearer picture, one needs to analyze various aspects, such as the retention rate, time spent on the site, what the users actually do on the site, etc. to get the true picture of the social media marketing statistics.
Update: 2010 Social Media Statistics