Compete’s latest statistics show that Facebook had a slow summer, growing by only 2 million users between June and the end of September. While summer traffic growth was practically non existent, last month the company posted just under 2 percent growth. This is slightly more negative data than we posted last week which showed Facebook dominating MySpace domestically, growing over 200 percent in the past 12 months.
While Compete also shows Facebook tripling its traffic over the past year, the past few months have been relatively slow. Given that the total number of internet users in the U.S. is approximately 227 million (according to internet world stats), Facebook already has close to 55 percent saturation. Facebook continues to see the standard “S curve” growth in each market it enters and it appears that the company has reached the top of its curve in the U.S.
So what does this mean for the company? Right now I would still wait another month to see if growth has definitely slowed, but given that traffic has been relatively consistent for the past four months, U.S. saturation may actually be leveling off. Facebook continues to grow abroad which should push it closer to 400 million users, however the 1 billion user target that Twitter and Facebook both have, may be a much more distant target.
Also, considering that Compete shows Google reaching 147 million users in the U.S., Facebook probably doesn’t have much room left for domestic growth. This slowing of growth may actually be the one good sign for MySpace which has been getting creamed by Facebook over the past year. Unfortunately for MySpace, Compete shows the company traffic dropping by 10 percent just in the past month.
We’ll have to wait and see if all MySpace users make the shift to Facebook and the much discussed class separation between the social networks.