As a Web professional, it's never a bad idea to take a broad look at where consumers (and your competition) are spending their time. So today we look at four online categories important to your business; social submission sites, social networking sites, video sites and search, using fresh April 2009 data from Compete.com. As you read through this post, think about where you are spending your time and money marketing your business, where your particular demographic might be, and where you need to gain a presence.
Social Submission Sites
There is still tremendous value in submitting your content to these sites, as they can drive traffic and provide good links. Digg.com is still the unquestioned leader, with 37.7 million unique visitors, up 4.49 percent for the month, and up 46 percent from a year ago.
Stumbleupon, despite questions about traffic quality and providing quality leadsis up 92 percent year-over-year (YOY), and 19 percent for the month. Mixx is up just over 1 percent in April, but 439 percent for the year. Reddit, with 5.1 million uniques in April, is up over 100 percent YOY but has reached a plateau lately. Still, the site is closing in on the likes of Stumbleupon and Yahoo! Buzz. Perhaps a site redesign might attract new users and push it even further up the list?
Yahoo! Buzz saw a 7.14 percent drop in April - likely due to the fact that it's one of the more difficult places to get submissions noticed. Propeller fared far worse - down 29 percent in the month of April, and a discouraging 49 percent YOY.
Social Networking Sites
It should come as little surprise that Facebook is blowing away the competition. What is a little surprising is how badly they have crushed MySpace in the last four months. In December 2008, unique visitors were dead even. Come April, Facebook very nearly doubled up on MySpace, to the tune of more than 104 million uniques.
The meteoric rise of Twitter continues, with another 38 percent growth in April and 1,192 percent growth YOY. LinkedIn's uniques are up 109 percent YOY, and Bebo is up just over 41 percent from last year.
MySpace. Uniques for the month are down just under 1 percent, but 8.6 percent YOY. Perhaps it's because the site's key demographic is growing older, or that Facebook has just siphoned its users. Whatever the reason, MySpace is starting to resemble Pets.com, before and after the bubble burst - big on splash, little on substance.
For our purposes, we'll focus on those sites that allow user uploads. So, you won't find Hulu on this list, even though they are the second most-visited video portal on the Web. You also wont' find Flickr. Although users can now upload video, clips are limited to 90 seconds, and free accounts only allow two uploads per month.
YouTube is clearly sitting comfortably at the top. The site had more than 77 million unique visitors in April, up 5.8 percent from last month and 24 percent from last year.
Big Winners: Three video upload sites outside of YouTube are growing; Vimeo, DailyMotion and MetaCafe. All experienced over 100 percent growth from a year ago, but Vimeo really grew - an impressive 679 percent, on its way to 3.8 million uniques in April.
Big Losers: None. Video remains the hottest thing this side of Twitter.
Because of the nature of search and their partner sites and many other factors, it's difficult to get a decent representation of their traffic levels. However, rest assured that Google is still the leader, with Yahoo!, MSN Live Search and Ask.com bringing up the rear. But things are changing in the search world. Twitter's recent announcement could very well change the scope of the industry. And one reason for this is demand. Take a look to the right - according to Compete.com, One of the top search terms for Twitter is "twitter search." That should raise some eyebrows with the big three. Also notice the top referreral sites to Twitter - they are all current competitors, or about to become such. And one more interesting note: Twitter can fit in three out of the four categories here. It's a social site, a place to submit content and, soon, a place to search for content.