Facebook users are spending 27 percent of their time on their Newsfeeds, and only 10 percent on applications, a new study by ComScore reports. Other activities like viewing photos (17 percent) and other people’s profiles (21 percent) accounted for significant amounts of time as well. With over 160 million members in the United States, these figures reveal interesting trends about roughly half the country’s population.
The implications have a double edge. Facebook certainly knows where and how to target their users for offers and advertisements. However the Newsfeed, or Friend Feed, is a sacred place. To have corporate messages mixed in with friend’s pictures and updates from a favorite baseball team will probably not sit well with the average user.
Also, these findings reinforce some of the skepticism around the massive valuations and investments Facebook has received: Most people simply use the site to check on their friends. That’s it. Though time spent on Facebook accounts for 90 percent of all time spent on social networks, the notion that Facebook games, pages and applications would become a “new” Internet starts to seem unfounded.
Granted, members who play Facebook games are a very dedicated user base. Zynga, the site’s biggest provider of games, disclosed that one percent of its users are responsible for 25 to 50 percent of revenue — calling them “whales,” a la casino lingo.
But that is still a fragile customer base to lean on. If only 10 percent of the general population’s time is spent on games and only one percent of that accounts for significant revenue, it’s probably time to figure out newer ways to monetize your users — even if it means tampering creatively with the Newsfeed.