The Facebook phenomenon continues. According to a recent ClickZ.com report, FB’s unique visitors in January 2010, at a total of 133.6MM, was second only to the mighty Google. Indeed, throughout 2009 FB’s unique visitors climbed at a record pace through June, then leveled somewhat, but rose nonetheless through the remainder of the year to surpass Yahoo (132MM unique visitors in Jan 2010) and pull up snugly behind Google (147.8MM). (ref: http://www.clickz.com/3636533)
Why is this important? The numbers above represent people who are using FB every day. These are not people who merely signed up, or have accounts that lie dormant. What’s even more interesting is the amount of time these active users are spending on the site. “Data from Nielsen says that U.S. Facebook users now spend an average of seven hours per month on the site. The time spent on Facebook in January grew by nearly 10 percent in a one-month period. Meanwhile, the average time spent on Google (GOOG) dropped 17 percent to around an hour and a half.” (ref: http://bit.ly/aETMUK)
Why are people spending so much time on Facebook? They are building their networks, connecting with friends and family, keeping in touch, etc. But much more importantly, they are using the site to do things that they used to do on several other sites or with software on their desktop computers. This includes chat, commerce, posting photos and videos, and even email. Why go to other sites when almost everything you need, and all the people you want to share things with, are right here?
Which brings up the final point: With upwards of 300MM registered users (depending on whose numbers you believe) almost everyone is now at least part of the site. Odds are more likely than ever that if you want to find/connect/communicate with someone you’ll find them on Facebook. And where there are people, there are markets.
Clearly, in the Internet age markets are moving online. Now that people are so readily available and active on Facebook businesses must move with them. But “going on Facebook” requires learning the values, rules, behavior and mores first. Businesses that successfully do this will find they have the best advertising possible — in fact, the only advertising that will succeed in the not-too-distant future, and that’s word of mouth (or more accurately, “word of mouse”). With everyone connected we’re all going to need our customers to be our sales force, because they’ll be very quick to tell others the story about how well we’re serving them.