Web 2.0 Websites Account For Only 12% Of All Website Traffic

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I’m starting to get very curious about these kinds of statistics. I saved to my del.icio.us page a news item from Media Buyer Planner called, Web 2.0 Websites Account For 12% Of U.S. Web Traffic.
"Web 2.0 websites accounted for 12 percent of all US web activity for the week ended April 7 – an increase of 2 percent compared with two years ago – according to a Hitwise study (via MarketingVox). Moreover, the market share of visits to those properties has grown 688 percent over the past two years… The study was based on the Hitwise U.S. sample of over 10 million internet users, which revealed results from a recent research study on demographic and psychographic differences between ‘traditional’ and web 2.0 internet users."
Some of the interesting findings from the study also included:
Wikipedia is the No. 1 educational reference website with over 26 percent market share of visits in a category that consists of 3,272 sites. U.S. visits to Wikipedia outnumbered those to Encarta 3400 to 1 for the week ended April 7.”
“Of the U.S. visits to YouTube for the week ended April 7, the 18-24 age group was the largest demographic of viewers; the 35-44 demographic accounted for the largest percentage of users who uploaded a video. Only 0.16 percent of those visits for the week ended April 7 involved a user’s uploading a video to the website, and of those users 76 percent were male.”
So how did they quantify what, exactly, is a Web 2.0 website? The news item is not specific, but this quote from Bill Tancer (Hitwise general manager of global research) may shed some light on my question:
“Web 2.0 websites like YouTube, Flickr and Wikipedia have achieved mainstream adoption for visits to their website… It’s the participatory aspect of Web 2.0 that is still in a very nascent stage. When online participation goes mainstream, we can expect an explosion of new content on the web.”
Big question: is a website only Web 2.0 if there is participation?
Here’s the rub: we were participating in websites long before we could create content for them. Was Geocities not a Web 2.0 environment? Also, if we look at the one-percent rule from the book, Citizen Marketers, why would we consider any of these properties Web 2.0 if only one percent of the community is truly participating by creating content?
Why am I creating all of this confusion?
I’m trying to rid us of the Web 2.0 buzz. I’m trying to get us well beyond the base of Social Media. I’m encouraging Marketers to forget about what "was" and what "will be" to focus on what "is".
All online and digital properties need some form of engagement and participation. There is a desperate need by your consumers to be embraced as co-developers. I’m starting to feel like a broken record (always repeating the same line), but if we look at all of the Web traffic and say that only 12% of it comes from sites that encourage participation (and only one percent of that twelve percent is actually participating), we’re building extremely ineffective ways to gauge success.
One concept to monitor success might be answering this question: what kind of experience are we enabling for our consumers and are they sharing it and encouraging others to take part?
You can read the full news item here: Media Buyer Planner – Web 2.0 Websites Account For 12% Of U.S. Web Traffic.