YouTube’s US traffic is closing in on Facebook, and could eventually surpass the top social network in a matter of years.
The data come from How Much Media? 2013, a new report from the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business.
The study relies on Nielsen, comScore, analysts and company disclosures for its statistics, and suggests that Facebook’s 31 million unique visitors lead from 2012 will drop to 14 million by 2015. Facebook reported declines in its US user base as far back as 2011. In its quarterly earnings reports, the company combines the US and Canada in reporting its monthly active userbase — and that number has largely flatlined in the past year or so (international growth has trended better for Facebook).
Looking at the chart below, it’s apparent that YouTube’s US uniques could surpass in the not-too-distant future if current trends continue.
There are two potential flaws, or oddities if you prefer, in the study: First, including YouTube as a “social media site” makes for a strange comparison, in my opinion, with sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others. Second, where’s Google+ in this comparison?
Elsewhere, the study also reports that social networking currently accounts for about 24 percent of time spent on smartphones (in the US) and about 10 percent of time spent on tablets.
Meanwhile, the study’s author also makes this salient point that I think we can all agree with when it comes to comparing one social network with another: “Measuring social media activity is more art than science.”
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