Social media moves so fast, it's hard to keep up. Here are the week's top stories in scan-friendly format:
- Yahoo Will Soon Surpass Facebook in Traffic
- Location As Your Shopping Buddy
- Social Gaming Attracts Huge Audience
- Facebook Acquires Location Service Hot Potato
Yahoo Will Soon Surpass Facebook in Traffic
Yahoo has gone through a transformation in the last few years from being a search engine to now being an online media company. As Techcrunch points out, Bing search now powers Yahoo searches so all Yahoo now has in terms of measures of success is traffic and eyeballs, in order to stay relevant to advertisers.
According to comScore, Yahoo is losing ground in audience size, especially to Facebook. Yahoo is still number three behind Google and Microsoft sites, but the gap between Facebook and Yahoo is rapidly narrowing. In July, Yahoo had 622 million unique visitors while Facebook garnered 572. The gap now stands at 50 million visitors whereas one year ago, it was 125 million users.
These numbers point out two things: first is the astonishing Facebook traffic and its seemingly unstoppable march and second is the stagnation of Yahoo. Advertisers look for two things, raw numbers and user engagement, and it seems Facebook will soon take these over from the once mighty Yahoo.
Location As Your Shopping Buddy
With the rise in social media, many companies are trying to figure our how to excite and advise shoppers into buying more. Through social recommendation or mobile coupons, how can shoppers' experiences be augmented with Internet content? It seems the answer is right in front of us: location is the best shopping assistant out there. This is what Point Inside hopes to prove as it launches an interesting service.
Point Inside uses iPhone and Android applications to guide and direct shoppers inside malls to help them find whatever good or service the seek. Also, by showing promotions and current sales, a new platform is being invented whereby businesses can market their goods more intelligently and shoppers can easily find what they're looking for.
By combining hyper-local marketing, location based technologies and innovative customer service, Point Inside looks to be a promising platform for retailers and shoppers. What about you -- could you see yourself using this app? I could, but I'm a guy who likes to get in, get what I need and get going. Please sound off in the comments below.
Social Gaming Attracts Huge Audience
There is no doubt that gaming on social networking sites is huge. Between Farmville, Scrabble and others, if you're on Facebook you likely know someone who is in the middle of some sort of game on the platform. However, who is using these games? Is it nerdy guys sitting in front of their computers? A new study from NPD Group provides some insight.
First of all, NPD showed that 56 million people are playing social games of some sort, which means 1 in 5 Americans over the age of six has played a social game of some kind. In this group, 10% of respondents have spent money while playing and 11% said they would in the future. As for demographics, 53% of players are women and they tend to be older women -- most of whom never played a video game before.
Social gaming is obviously a huge market segment of social networking. After gamers log into Facebook and check in with their friends, they seem to go to Farmville or some other game and spend hours clicking and getting lost in their game. To make money, virtual goods can be sold and also in-game advertising might set in, making this a virtual gold-mine for entrepreneurs like Zynga, the company that makes Farmville and other popular games.
Facebook Acquires Location Service Hot Potato
Facebook is on an acquisition spree lately. The company's latest acquisition will help further its location initiative which was launched last week. Hot Potato is a mobile application that helps people socialize around live events and what they happen to be doing with friends.
Unlike Foursquare which allows you to 'check in' to a physical location, Hot Potato centers around events such as "I'm watching Law and Order" and lets you share what you're doing. Hot Potato has a mere 8 employees and financial details of the deal were not made public.
Hot Potato will likely be charged with helping Facebook enhance its Facebook Places functionality released last week. Places on Facebook is a meager offering whereby you can check in to a location, with no added functionality such as comments or images. There's room for improvement, some of which Hot Potato can easily provide.