Compete: Facebook Is Web's New No. 2
Facebook has replaced Yahoo as the second-largest U.S. Web property and is closing in on No. 1 Google, according to the latest data from Web analytics firm Compete. The social network in January drew an audience of nearly 134 million unique visitors, surging past Yahoo's 132 million. Google remained the top site, with a monthly audience of 148 million. (Google overtook Yahoo as No. 1 in Feb. 2008).
ComScore's estimate of Facebook's audience isn't quite as large. Its latest figures show Facebook doubling its audience in 2009 to 112 million, but still ranked fourth behind Google, Yahoo and Microsoft. Compete's methodology includes reliance on a panel of 2 million U.S. Internet users selected as a representative cross-section of the population. ComScore also uses a panel of 2 million, but half its members are outside the U.S.
Both firms have also underscored that user engagement on Facebook has also grown dramatically. Compete found that 11.6% of all time spent online in January was spent on Facebook, compared to 4.25% for Yahoo and 4.1% for Google.
While the time-spent share for those two has been roughly flat in 2009, Facebook's share has more than doubled from about 5%. ComScore reported last month that Facebook made gains in several engagement metrics including average monthly minutes per visitor, jumping 45% from 170 to 247.
The Nielsen Co. on Tuesday came out with an even higher time-spent estimate for Facebook, finding users on average spent just over 7 hours on the site in January, up 10% from December.
That's far more than the average of about 2 hours users spent on Yahoo and Google. While figures from the various Web measurement firms may reveal discrepancies, they all indicate that Facebook continues to grow rapidly both in audience and usage rates. From an advertiser's viewpoint, that translates as improvement in both audience quantity and quality.
Facebook itself announced earlier this month hitting 400 million users worldwide only five months after reaching 300 million. With its growth not confined to the PC-based Web, the company also recently disclosed surpassing 100 million mobile users.