Rules of Engagement: Users Are Spending More Time On MySpace

We’ve dug a little deeper into today’s latest set of Comscore data. As we noted earlier today, Facebook continues to show tremendous growth, and may well catch up to MySpace in terms of U.S. unique visitors by 2010. But another interesting trend, and one that is important to advertisers, are the increases in engagement both networks have seen over the past year – a metric that MySpace has been building a firm lead in.

Since last month, MySpace saw the number of minutes each U.S. user spent on the site per month grow 15%, to 266.3 minutes – a new record for the social network, and a 31% increase since last January. Facebook has also shown an increase over the last month, growing 4% since December to an average of 176.6 minutes per user, but has only grown around 3% year over year. And MySpace is still besting Facebook by around 90 minutes per user.

As the graph below shows, MySpace has had the advantage here for quite a while, but the recent spike is likely due to the site’s launch of MySpace Music, as well as growth in MySpace Video. In the struggling economy people are spending more time at home, which tends to benefit these media-heavy sites.

Page views are also up for both social networks, at least in the short term. MySpace’s page views are up nearly 10% since December to 579 pages per user per month, while Facebook has grown around 3% in the same time period to 337. Figures for both sites are smaller than they were a year ago, likely because they have both been introducing UI improvements like AJAX that don’t force users to refresh their page for every action. Such improvements generally help with lengthening visits as users are less likely to get frustrated, but they also lead to deflated page views.