In spite of all the hoopla around online video (and I’m probably as guilty of that as anyone else), some surprising data out of the Ad: Tech Conference (yes, there’s another conference other than the Web2.0 Conference this week) this week courtesy of Neilson/Netratings — namely that the growth of social networking sites doubled over the past year, ahead of all other categories.
Social networking sites with the highest traffic growth included Feedburner (385%), Digg.com (286%), MySpace (170%), Wikipedia (161%), and Facebook (134%).
The Nielsen//NetRatings data also showed that engagement with Web 2.0 sites had grown over the last year, with retention rate increases of 10% at MySpace, 46% at Wikipedia and 20% at Facebook. Web 2.0 users also tend to be more active than typical Web users in online search, with 63.8 searches per month compared to 44.7 for the total market.
Other excellent nuggets:
Not all social networking sites are successes — look at Friendster, Engage, Ryze, and Tribe
Up and coming social sites to watch — dogster, xfire, and yelp
Advertising seems to be the dominant business model, with two categories “remanant” and “premium”
Remnant advertising — $1 CPM, Premium — $2-20 CPM.