Facebook went past MySpace in the UK last September, and has now officially equalled MySpace globally in monthly unique visitors. MySpace still dominates in the US though - their unique visitor count still doubles that of Facebook - 76m vs. 32m. This means that Facebook has way more unique hits outside America and is dominating heavily, while MySpace is struggling with the global audience.
Here's 3 probably controversial reasons why I think MySpace is dominating America while Facebook is dominating the world, and why I think it'll probably stay that way
- MySpace is inclusive while Facebook is exclusive:
MySpace is an open network. You can become friends with anyone and it's perfectly acceptable to do so. There is scope to make new friends and connections. Facebook is completely gated. Connectivity with new people over the web is more important in the US because distances are more isolating. Europeans, Asians etc don't suffer the same social or familial isolation and the social networking is more about existing friends and connections.
- Facebook blows MySpace away in instant gratification, but MySpace pays off in profile uniqueness:
Americans have had ubiquitous Internet for much longer than Europe and their interactive engagement with the web started firmly in the Web 1.0 era. Putting effort into developing their web experience is something that is perfectly normal for the US audience, especially if the payoff is individuality and your goal is to showcase you. Everywhere else, broadband came much later and web interaction norms developed with Web 2.0. Ease of experience is everything and anything that isn't absolutely effortless is going nowhere. Individuality is not enough of a payoff when your goal is to know what everyone else is up to.
- MySpace accepts everyone... the Oldies too, while Facebook is elitist... for the hip generation only:
It's perfectly OK for your parents to have a MySpace page but there's something so wrong about your mum or dad being on Facebook. A much broader age demographic uses the web for fun, interaction and learning in America; but in Europe social networking is only just taking off and it is really only Gen Y and a bit of Gen X that uses the web for anything other than work. Facebook has all we need, but America however needs more, and MySpace caters to the long tail of users, well beyond Gen Y.
What this means is that if you're based in the US or your primary audience is US based, stop worrying about Facebook so much and take MySpace seriously!