A lot gets written up in press releases, blog posts, Tweets, and other communications about the number of members on the various sites. There’s a huge difference though between the number of users each site has and the number of users who are consistently interacting with others.
I recently came across some statistics that I’m going to share. These statistics were revealed in a study by Anderson Analytics and you can view the report by clicking on the company name. The study estimates that there are 110 million people who regularly use Social Networking Sites (SNS).
On average, users of SNS sites login to the sites 5 days a week, 4 times a day and spend about 1 hour on SNS each day. While not explicitly stated this is what I would assume that they consider a regular user. So here are the top sites with the number of users and the number of regular users in parentheses.
- Facebook: 250 million (78 million) 31.2% regular users
- MySpace: 150 million (67 million) 44.6% regular users
- Twitter: 28 million (17 million) *estimated membership 60.7% regular users
- LinkedIn: 45 million (11 million) 24.4% regular users
**membership numbers for MySpace and Twitter are best guess estimates…could not find an official listing and had to estimate from various web resources.
Based on the percentage of regular users it appears that Twitter is doing the best job of engaging their users. This is a little misleading though as its estimated that Twitter only retains about 40% of the people that sign up. There is also is the fact that Twitter users are more likely to have multiple accounts.
LinkedIn appears to have the lowest percentage of regular users. Compared to the other sites LinkedIn is more restrictive in how it allows its members to interact. This limited ability to communicate is both a positive and a negative.
On the positive side it makes it more difficult to spam others. On the negative side the limits restrict the social nature of the site. The other interesting thing about LinkedIn is that it’s regular users are made up of a high concentration of LIONS or open networkers…the very same people that LinkedIn has somewhat taken an adversarial position against.
Invitation limits, suspension of accounts with emails in the name, and connection limits are some of the steps LinkedIn has taken to restrict open networking. LinkedIn might find that its percentage of regular users increased if it focused more on encouraging its users to find new opportunities verses simply opportunities from people they know well.
Looking at the smaller numbers of regular users compared to the focus on total members you might think that they have been overrated as effective business tools. But having generated significant business from using these sites I would argue the point. As people learn how to better leverage these sites the number of regular users will increase. Plus new people are discovering these sites every day.
If you’re one of the regular users you have a head start on your competition. If you’re not a regular user you’re turning your back on opportunities and that’s a bad business decision. It’s not too late to get started.
What are your thoughts?