Facebook’s Steady Ascent to Number One

In spite of the extreme popularity of MySpace, it seems that the tides are beginning to turn in favor of Facebook. The Washington Post reported today that, last month, Facebook surpassed MySpace in number of web site visitors and page views, thanks to its increased popularity amongst a non-US population.

Facebook recently created French, Spanish, and German versions of its site to attract a wider range of visitors, and, between May of 2007 and May of 2008, grew its user base by 164 percent. United States growth alone amounted to 34%, well above MySpace’s US growth of 7%, reports the Post. Indeed, yesterday Facebook announced in its blog that visitors may use its Translation Application to translate the site into 55 different languages, including Vietnamese, Zulu, Canadian French, British English, Malaysian, and even Latin and Esperanto.

Much of Facebook’s growth is attributed to its clean, uncluttered format. MySpace has had the reputation of having busy, cluttered, and flashy pages, which may have had some effect on the growth metrics mentioned above.

No longer a haven for college students alone (the site opened to the general population in 2006), Facebook now caters to everyone from high school and college students to business professionals (I have had many co-workers request to be my friend in recent months, including the CCO of my current company) to major corporations. The latter now may have their own Facebook presence – and free online marketing tool – with the use of Facebook Pages. Facebook offers its explanation of this utility:

Every Facebook Page is a unique experience where users can become more deeply connected with your business or brand. Users can express their support by adding themselves as a fan, writing on your Wall, uploading photos, and joining other fans in discussion groups. You can send updates to your fans regularly — or just with special news or offers. Add applications to your Page and engage your users with videos, reviews, flash content, and more.

While this tool is free, there is monetary gain to be had. The Associated Press reported today that Visa has designed a small-business network for Facebook, and the credit card company will give a $100 advertising credit to each of the first 20,000 businesses that download the application needed to join the network. In addition, “Google Inc. is providing some of the features on Visa’s business network, including maps, calendars, word processing and a new template for creating expense sheets and business cards.”

Facebook is on the verge of becoming one of the de facto online marketing tools for businesses of any size, and with 80 million users already, it seems as though the future is bright for this social networking behemoth.

Categories: Social Media
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