50% of online time on Facebook?
22.7% of US online time is spent on social networks. This is 43% more than a year ago. The biggest loser has been email that has dropped 28 percent in last twelve months. I believe this indicates that people are moving their personal communications to social networking sites. Another big loosing segment was portals where people used 19 percent less time than a year ago. (The numbers are from Nielsen).
|RANK||Category|| Share of Time|
| Share of Time|
| % Change in|
Share of Time
Source:Nielsen NetView – June 2009-June 2010
*Other refers to 74 remaining online categories visited from PC/laptops
**NetView’s Videos/Movies category refers to time spent on video-specific (e.g., YouTube, Bing Videos, Hulu) and movie-related websites (e.g., IMDB, MSN Movies and Netflix) only. It is not a measure of video streaming or inclusive of video streaming on non-video-specific or movie-specific websites (e.g., streamed video on sports or news sites).
Two growing sectors were online games and videos/movies that gained 10 and 12 percent respectively. Looking at these numbers made me think about potential for growth of the social networks. There are millions of people who play Farmville and Mafia Wars on Facebook and the social aspect of these site will lure more and more people away from traditional gaming sites.
Then there’s email. Personal communications are moving from email to social media. This means that when social networking sites would make their internal messaging applications email compatible it would make some people to give up stand-alone mail service entirely.
Facebook seems to think that you should see the news that your friends find interesting. To some extent its true but people have used news channels for their entire lives and social networks do not yet provide adequate substitute. Here is another opportunity for social networking sites or app developers. For example a social news channel within Facebook.
As I suggested Facebook should fix it search. Now Microsoft Bing and Facebook started working on joint search project. This is the first real threat to Google and its main revenue stream.
All these opportunities are multiplied by the sheer power of the Facebook’s user base and network effect. If you can get everything from one place the most of as will do just that. If Facebook plays its hand well then it is possible to grab 50 percent of the time spent online and effectively dominate the internet.