Social sites and blogs are the talk of the Net

Social-networking sites and blogs have come from nowhere to being among the most talked about aspects of the internet in just two years.

Social-networking sites and blogs have come from nowhere to being among the most talked about aspects of the internet in just two years.

The larger sites have tens of millions of users and their huge popularity should prove attractive to marketers, although the best ways to advertise on these sites have yet to be agreed – most are experimenting with a combination of banner ads, sponsorship and free content. In their favour, the sites generally have plenty of information about their users, making targeting appropriate audiences more straightforward.

Until recently, MySpace was the most popular such site in the UK, although it has recently been overtaken by Bebo, according to Hitwise. Piczo claims to be the fastest growing in the UK.

There are plenty of other, more specialist networking sites outside the top ten quoted here, such as Orkut, which is owned by Google and is particularly popular among Brazilians, and the invitation-only, elitist Asmallworld.net, aimed at the affluent around the world.

For now, visiting these sites and posting content on them is overwhelmingly a youth phenomenon. According to Ofcom, seven in ten online 16- to 24-year-olds have used sites for keeping up contacts, and more than half do so at least weekly. Nearly half of 25- to 34-year-old internet users and around a third of those aged over 35 are also using these sites.

The billion-dollar valuations being touted around for sites such as Bebo and YouTube give the situation the feel of another dot-com bubble waiting to happen. But while the sector appears to have enough momentum behind it to keep growing for some time, the question that advertisers can’t answer is which sites will be able to keep hold of their audiences and which will just become unfashionable.

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here