Teens Like Hosting Images, Blogging

    September 13, 2005

We know blogging is growing in popularity. We know there are millions of em and thousands more popping up everyday. Use of image hosting has also grown exponentially and Nielsen/NetRatings says there’s a correlation between the two. With nearly 15 million unique users since January, image hosting is picking up steam.

The top image hosting sights reads more like the top blogging sites. The list from NetRatings for August 2005 include MySpace.com, Xanga.com, LiveJournal, Blogger and MSN Spaces. Other statistics from Nielsen/NetRatings report 20% of active web users, or 29.3 million people, accessed blogging or blog-related Web sites, growing 31% since the beginning of the year.

“The large rise in blogging activity has lifted other Web sites, the primary one being image hosting sites,” said Jon Gibs, senior research manager, Nielsen//NetRatings. “Simple text-based ‘diaries’ have evolved into a more image-oriented presentation.”

The highest growth came from Photobucket going from 1,537,000 in January to over 12 million in August. That’s a growth rate of 696%. Others like Imageshack didn’t do quite as well moving from 1.15 million t o 3.444 million or only a 199% growth rate. Also, a number of companies sprang up in the process.

While this information is certainly significant, the real jewels come from the teens in the study. Female teens between 12 and 17 indexed the highest out of the age groups broken down by gender and were two and half more likely to visit an image hosting site than the average site audience followed by males of the same age group.

The unique audience for females was 2.219 million or 15% of the composition whereas males in the same group numbered 1.532 million or 10% of the composition. The demographics are based on a category of 50 image hosting websites.

This area will only to continue to grow as well. Where it will level off is hard to say as sights like MySpace get bought by News Corp and get exposed to top level marketing. While much of these gets done by word of mouth among peers (the strongest form of influence), getting the word out there further, at least while the iron is hot. One can assume also that many more of these sight will probably begin to appear although the blogging companies will probably see the lion’s share.

John Stith is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.