Hitwise Sums Up Facebook At Five

    February 4, 2009

Today marks Independence Day in Sri Lanka, Across the Universe Day for NASA buffs, and, as you’ve surely heard by now, Facebook’s fifth birthday.  To celebrate, Hitwise took a look at the social network’s state of being and some of its more recent achievements.

First things first: Facebook is big.  Heather Dougherty writes, "Overall, Facebook was the #5 ranked website by total market share of visits in January 2009.  One year ago, visits to Facebook represented 15% of the total social networking category while MySpace captured 73%.  In January 2009, Facebook’s share doubled to reach 31%, while MySpace’s total share of the category eroded to 57%."

Hitwise US Social Network Graph

The social network isn’t just something that people are dabbling with, either.  The amount of time users spend on the site has been rising steadily for a long time, and the average visit time hit 21 minutes and 41 seconds in January.  So folks could almost watch full episodes of sitcoms instead of playing with Facebook if they felt like it.

Or maybe they could go Mercedes shopping.  Dougherty notes, "[T]he household income of the social networking audience is also another hot topic around social networks as advertising becomes a potential revenue stream.  With an older audience, it is not surprising that Facebook has a somewhat more affluent audience that may appeal to advertisers when compared to MySpace."

Facebook’s come a long way in 1,825 days.  With its existence framed that way, it’s hard to imagine where the site will be in another five years.