As social networking’s popularity continues to rocket to stratospheric heights, the industry’s competitors, seeing the potential profit, are pushing themselves to the maximum in order to become the leader.
It is a battle which benefits Internet users everywhere: the social networking giants are continually adding functions designed to make themselves a necessary part of the everyday lives of their users – from the 18 year olds organising a party to the online companies promoting an event.
Though both the Spanish leaders differ greatly in origin, they register a very similar user number – 2.5 million unique users for Facebook and 2.4 million for Tuenti. Whilst Facebook was made originally as a US university network, in 2004 by Harvard’s Mark Zuckerburg, Tuenti is a made-to-measure 100% Spanish site, a quality which obviously counts for a lot when one considers Facebook recently decided to make their site available in the Spanish language too.
Given the majority of Tuenti’s users are young people (26.49% being students and 11.42% being younger than 18), it is a somewhat deft move to ensure that profiles are kept private from the public. The typical profile of a Tuenti user, according to the company, is a girl of 23 years of age, with university studies and living in a capital of a province. Facebook’s typical user however is somewhat different and more mature: 96.76% of Facebook users are older than 18, 34.22% have finished university level studies and the majority work in office administration (up to 15.67%).
Another relevant fact, which demonstrates what there is to be won within this battle, is that those who visit social networking sites tend to stay within their pages much longer than any other website. This is thanks to the ever expanding amount of options available to users – from uploading photos and commenting in blogs to sharing songs and sending messages to friends. The average time a user will be on Facebook, maintaining their account during a month, is 1 hour 37 minutes. The Tuenti users are significantly more dedicated to keeping their account active however, registering an average of 2 hours and 21 minutes per month (according to Nielsen Online statistics for July 2008).
It’s a battle which shows no sign of slowing down, especially due to the fact there’s a new weapon available – the mobile phone. The objective of this innovative introduction to social networking is to allow account holders to have their Tuenti or Facebook in-pocket, allowing access at any time, anywhere. It’s certainly a move which has boosted user activity: whilst traditional online traffic to these sites slows during the weekend, it has been noted that mobile activity increases.
There is already speculation about what the next move will be for these two ever competitive sites – will it be to follow in US-giant Myspace’s footsteps and introduce a tool to download music, or will it be something unheard of? Either way, it can only serve to facilitate world communication more which, in turn, can only be a good thing for users and businesses alike.
* Facebook in red, * Tuenti in blue