MySpace Gets Twice the Audience of Facebook

At UBS Media Conference: Fox Interactive Media's Michael Barrett

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Despite the past six months' obsession over all things Facebook, MySpace hasn't ceded ground to its rival social network in terms of audience or advertising. And Fox Interactive Media Chief Revenue Officer Michael Barrett was on hand at the UBS Global Media & Communications to gently remind people of just that fact.
Michael Barrett
Michael Barrett

"There's strong, continued loyalty and growth in MySpace," he said, touting its unique visitors and their time spent on the site and page views. "In almost every instance, MySpace is two times greater than Facebook." He also broke it down by age, noting that MySpace attracts about 9.5 million unique 12- to 17-year-olds and 24.5 million 18- to 34-year-olds a month, double Facebook's totals in those demos.

Not a 'Pac Mac' scenario
Mr. Barrett overall had nothing but praise for the entire social-networking category, noting that it's no longer a "Pac Man" scenario where one player entering the space can only grow bigger by eating existing smaller players.

"You have two very large, at-scale players in the social-media space for the first time in the history of this category," he said, which leads to more comfort among marketers.

At News Corp.'s 2007 year-end earnings call in August, CEO Rupert Murdoch suggested Fox Interactive would generate more than $1 billion in revenue in 2008, with MySpace bringing in $800 million. At the investor conference, Mr. Barrett broke down where that money was coming from, addressing the ad-sales composition at MySpace.

He noted branded-sales team, with a head count of 110, brought in 40% of the site's revenue, up from 20% 18 months ago. MySpace's performance and direct ad sales unit, with a much smaller team of 26, was responsible for 20% of the revenue. MySpace uses more than 20 different networks to monetize its remnant inventory, which makes up about 10% of its revenue, and the remaining 30% of the revenue comes from its search and contextual relationship with Google.

Interest-based targeting
Mr. Barrett touted MySpace's foray into interest-based targeting, explaining how it is dividing users on the site into category buckets, which are then further divided into 549 segments. (A category, he explained, might be sports fan and a segment makes the characterization more specific, for example "college football fan.") Marketers such as Electronic Arts, Ford, Microsoft, NBC, Procter & Gamble and Taco Bell have all tried out the targeting system, which is lifting ad performance 50% to 300%, using clicks as an indicator of performance, he said. Meanwhile ad rates based on cost-per-thousand users have risen 50%.

Mr. Barrett also touched on MySpace's involvement with OpenSocial, the Google-led effort to create social network standards so it's easier to develop applications across many networks.

The advent of OpenSocial will see companies moving "from a branded-community play to a branded-application play," he said, later adding that "the opportunities will be endless in terms of providing promotion and getting people to adopt these."
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