In May, MySpace recorded only its second monthly drop in UK traffic since November 2005, and Facebook became bigger in the UK than the US, according to a Nielsen/NetRatings study of how MySpace, Facebook and Bebo are performing in the UK in terms of growth, global popularity and the degree to which they share audiences.
With 6.5 million unique visitors in May 2007, MySpace remains the most popular social network in the UK; however, in May it experienced the first monthly drop in traffic since June 2006 and only the second drop since November 2005.
Over the last six months, Facebook’s audience has grown at 19 times the rate of MySpace’s: 523% compared with 28%. Bebo has grown 49% in the same period.
“MySpace is, by far, still the most popular social network. However, if last month’s growth rates were to remain consistent, both Bebo and Facebook would catch MySpace in September this year,” said Alex Burmaster, European internet analyst, Nielsen/NetRatings.
“Meanwhile, MySpace does trail the other two when it comes to user engagement. Bebo leads the way, with its average visitor spending just over an hour and a half on the site – almost ten more minutes than the average ‘Facebooker’ and almost a whole hour more than the average ‘MySpacer.'”
Facebook now has a greater reach in the UK than in the US, according to Nielsen/NetRatings:
- In May Facebook became relatively more popular in the UK than in the US: It was visited by 10% of the UK internet population, compared with 9% of the US Internet population.
- MySpace is far more dominant in the US than the UK: It has four times the visitors of Facebook in the US, compared with twice the number of visitors in the UK.
- Bebo’s success is fully UK-based: It is visited by 12% of online Britons, compared with just 1% of the US online population.
UK Social networking is promiscuous, according to Nielsen/NetRatings.
- Almost half a million (444,000) Britons online visited all three (MySpace, Bebo and Facebook) in May 2007.
- Over half (53%) of Facebook’s UK visitors in May also visited MySpace, as did 43% of Bebo’s visitors.
- Over a quarter (26%) of UK MySpace visitors also visited Bebo, and 26% also visited Facebook.
“The figures show that there is a high degree of audience sharing going on, as Britons online satisfy their increasing appetite for social networking or decide on which network is best for them,” said Burmaster.
“The high degree of overlap also indicates the fickle nature of the online social-networker, and it will be interesting to see when the dust settles who will come out on top – and whether they stay there for very long.”