Facebook users spent more time using the social network than people spent on Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) in August, according to research firm comScore.
Among all internet users in the US, the total number of minutes spent on Facebook was 41.1 million. The number for Google was 38.9 million. Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO) was third on the list with 37.7 million minutes.
The news is extraordinary because it shows how much the habits of people online have changed in just the last year. Recent data show that Facebook has more advertising display units than Yahoo!, and that those units are sold for an average CPM of $.56 compared to all internet sites of $2.43.
The growth of Facebook combined with its very low CPMs will almost certainly undermine the prices that other sites can charge. That point has been made before. What has not been clear is the substantial change in the way that people spend their time when they are online.
The movement of people to social networks and away from portals and search engines has been anticipated by executives in the industry. What was not so widely anticipated is the internet users would begin to abandon search as well. That means that Google’s CPMs may come under the same pressure as display advertisers.
Douglas A. McIntyre