Whilst there are also technology or end-user considerations with this conundrum, Hitwise notes marketers will need to watch this issue closely as it could impact how they choose to work with scope of social networks. This could involve developing applications that are compatible for multiple social networks, or those that draw in data from the full spectrum of a user’s social graph and allow network differentiation.
And the downstream traffic from each of the major social networks to other industry players demonstrates a wide dispersal of traffic.
· Of the traffic that MySpace, Facebook and Bebo send to other Social Networks, more than 89 per cent of their downstream traffic is sent to second-tier players. While the major players hold concentrated market share of visits to the Social Networks custom category, there is significant referral traffic to minor networks. This underpins the importance of understanding multiple network loyalties.
· After visiting Facebook or Bebo, most users are likely to visit MySpace. While this is a reflection of the dominance of MySpace in market share of visits, it could also be because MySpace offers additional features to the other networks, such as bands and artists content. Network differentiation is likely to be an important factor in how Social Networks will compete for users.
· Bebo received 2 per cent of downstream traffic from MySpace, compared to 1 per cent from Facebook. This indicates that MySpace and Bebo users could have stronger network ‘affinities’, with users influencing migratory behaviour across both networks.