Facebook’s platform strategy reached a critical milestone in February, surpassing Yahoo! as the most engaging web company. Compete.com reported last week that Facebook “dethroned” Yahoo!, crowning Facebook as the Attention King of the Internet.
Compete.com, a web research company, keeps a close eye on engagement using “Monthly Attention” as a metric. As of February 2009, Facebook is the “Monthly Attention Leader“, commanding nearly 6% of all time spent online by Americans.
While Facebook leads in engagement, it still lags well behind Google and Yahoo! in overall audience. MySpace is the losing end of the trends in Compete.com’s numbers, showing a dramatic fall in its attention share since Facebook’s platform launched.
Compete.com Monthly Attention Leaders Chart
Monthly Attention measures the time spent on a site as a percentage of a user’s total time spent online.
Facebook Attention Trend – Positive
Facebook surged from fourth place to first place, rocketing past Yahoo!, MySpace and Google. This dramatic shift occurred in six months.
MySpace Attention Trend – Negative
MySpace fell from 13% to less than 2% of US users’ time online. This occured in the last year and a half. Facebook’s platform launched 1.5 years ago. Coincidence? I think not.
What does it mean to by the “Attention King”?
This means its official: Facebook is the best overall value on the Internet.
Facebook is Attention King of US
The Compete.com data is particularly notable because it measures US Internet use. US Internet users are the most valuable web demographic on the planet, from a company valuation perspective.
International markets are where most of the growth of the Internet is occurring. Facebook is capturing the lion’s share of social networking’s growth as new users come online in these regions.
“Well, that’s mostly international” is a common refrain used to downplay the growth of Facebook.
MySpace, in particular, clings to its “US” monthly unique numbers as proof it is still more popular than Facebook.
“International” is also cited to dismiss the success of companies like Friendster (Asia) or Google’s Orkut (Latin America).
Facebook now removes all doubt about its global leadership. In gaining the US crown for attention, Facebook also stakes its claim on engagement – a next generation measure of web value.
Valuing Online Behavior
Facebook leads in engagement, while Google, Yahoo! and MySpace remain the clear leaders in more established measures of online success.
Engagement vs. Monthly Uniques
“Engagement” is a buzzword rising as fast as Facebook. Engagement is synonymous with “attention”.
- Engagement metrics help marketers adjust to the new reality of social networks.
- Engagement metrics help social networks sell advertising.
“Monthly uniques” refers to the number of people who come to your web site at least once a month. The number of monthly unique visitors is easy to plug into traditional media frameworks for measuring the “reach” of a TV show.
- Advertisers hear “how many users ‘tune into’ your web site” when you use this metric.
Google and Yahoo! lead Facebook 3 to 1 in monthly uniques. In all fairness, Facebook – the Attention King – barely cracks the Top 10 US web sites as measured by reach.
Here are the Top 10 US web companies, ranked by monthly uniques (excerpted from comScore’s Top 50 US Internet properties in January):
Attention King Will Rule Internet
Facebook’s strategy is emerging as the clear winner online.
Compete.com’s numbers confirm three trends:
- Facebook applications provide enough web utility that people live their online lives on Facebook, not the general Internet.
- Facebook enabled brands and other web companies to bring their experiences and services into where their audiences live, Facebook.
- Facebook has the best user experience (UX), and will attract more users than any other social network.
I believe that the company who achieves a critical mass of engagement will rule the web. Engagement = Attention. Facebook captures the most attention.
All hail King Facebook!