eMarketer http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?id=1004543

All those MySpace friends are apparently high-maintenance.

All those MySpace friends are apparently high-maintenance.

Visits to MySpace accounted for nearly 12% of all time spent online by US Internet users in December 2006, according to Compete Inc. The firm’s December 2006 Internet traffic data put US Internet user time spent at MySpace higher than any other sites, including eBay, Google, AOL and YouTube. Yahoo! came in second, accounting for 8.5% of time spent online by US Internet users.


The amount of time spent at MySpace suggests that people are leaving the site open during the day to see when new instant messages or e-mails arrive from friends. The multitasking habit is especially strong with teen Internet users, notes Debra Aho Williamson, eMarketer senior analyst and the author of the new Multitasking Consumers: Distracted or Connected? report.

“Several of the sites on the Compete list could easily be used simultaneously: MySpace, Facebook, YouTube and AIM all appeal to the younger generation of Internet users, and this group is also most likely to multitask when online,” says Ms. Williamson.

Adults are hardly unitaskers themselves. More than 80% of the time that US adults are e-mailing, instant-messaging or using the Internet, they are also doing something else, according to Ball State University’s Center for Media Design.



Marketers who worry that Internet usage is cannibalizing consumption of other media (especially television) are half right. According to a September 2006 study by Veronis Suhler Stevenson, the number of hours of Internet usage by US consumers has doubled since 2000, while the number of hours spent with television has increased during the same time by a comparatively low 6%. Still, television usage has risen, not fallen. With usage of both forms of media rising, and with multitasking becoming the standard for how consumers get their media exposure, the question is less one of cannibalization and more one of engagement: The Internet may not be taking absolute hours away from television, but it is increasingly unlikely that you are getting a viewer’s undivided attention.



For more on what other activities consumers are doing while online, see eMarketer’s recent Multitasking Consumers: Distracted or Connected? report.