Facebook vs. MySpace: Tale of the Tape

Earlier this month, Compete reported that Facebook overtook MySpace in Unique Visitors trafficking to the site:

Sure, this was a symbolic takeover, but it should have come as no surprise to anyone closely monitoring the two social giants over the past year.

Using a few different Compete PRO Site Analytics reports, I drilled down to take a closer look at trended traffic to understand the key metrics around Facebook’s rise to power in the social media arena.

The First Blow: October 2007 – Stickiness

While Unique Visitor data is certainly newsworthy, given Social Media’s value proposition to advertisers from an engagement perspective, the stickiness metrics are arguably more important than high level site traffic alone. Looking at historical engagement data, I rolled back the clock to October 2007, where we see Facebook eclipsing MySpace in the number of pages per visit for a visitor. This would prove to be the first of many battles won by Facebook along the way.


Round 2: Reach

Examining Daily Reach (people visiting a site on a given day as a percentage of all internet users on that day) over the past 6 months, we see that on January 4th, Facebook overtook MySpace in terms of Reach, surging forward in February to achieve a remarkable 15% (and climbing) Reach vs. 11% for MySpace.

Round 3: Attention

In terms of time spent, Monthly Attention (percentage of time spent on a site as a percentage of total time spent online) illustrates Facebook’s robust growth over the last year. In early 2008, approximately 7% of all time spent online was on MySpace (vs. 1.5% for Facebook), but as the year rolled along, Facebook gained more and more attention, eventually overtaking MySpace in October. As of January 2009, 5% of all time spent online was on Facebook, more than double MySpace.

The Knockout Punch?: Average Stay

If you’re MySpace, the graph below certainly stings — in the past two years, average stay for a visitor to the site has dropped from 30 minutes to 10 minutes. In the meantime, Facebook has steadily upped this number, leaving its rival in the dust. As of January 2009, Facebook kept visitors engaged on site over 7 minutes longer on average than MySpace, with the average stay still on the rise.

What will the rest of 2009 bring for both of these sites? The Compete team will continue to track the story going forward, but in the meantime, get in on the action yourself on compete.com.

Categories: Social

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