Facebook use falls in Israel

Google and YouTube are the most visited international sites in Israel, while Facebook is losing popularity.

Young Israelis are making fewer visits to Facebook, in line with their foreign peers, according to the Midroog Committee survey on computer Internet use. There were 3.6 million real users of Facebook in May 2013, 8.8% fewer than in January. Traffic on Facebook from computers in May was down 5.7% from May 2012. Given that the data refer only to computer use, the drop could be attributed to users accessing Facebook only from mobile devices via apps or the Facebook Mobile site. Another possibility is that Israeli users are quitting Facebook, in line with the global trend.

The Midroog Committee convened 18 months ago to officially measure Israelis' actual Internet use, after a years-long battle of the entity which would carry out the monitoring and how to do it. The survey is based on a representative sample of 4,500 Israelis who agreed to install software which monitors their Internet use, including sites visited and for how long.

The greatest decline in real users of Facebook was by people aged 15-17, which fell 25% between January and May. The drop for people aged 18-24 was 11%. The drop in real users of Facebook in other countries was also among these age groups.

Average computer time on Facebook was 8% lower in May than in January, and 13.6% lower than in May 2012. As a result, news portal ynet surpassed Facebook in average computer time on the site. In May, average time on Facebook was eight hours and four minutes, compared with eight hours and 28 minutes for ynet.

Although Facebook is the most interesting international site, it is only ranked third in its category, behind Google and YouTube. However, the Midroog Committee did not disclose official data about real users of Google and YouTube, partly because of the sites' lead in the local market and competition from Israeli sites. Google reportedly has four million real users a month and YouTube has three million.

Google draws most Israeli users because of the dominance of its search engine in the local market, and because of its popular services, such as Gmail, which reportedly has two million real users a month. Google Translate has 960,000 real users from computers a month and Google Maps has 360,000.

Unexpectedly, Google's social network, Google Plus has a strong Internet presence and traffic, with 730,000 real users in May. However, average time on the site is just six minutes, and the most common age group is 35-44.

Wikipedia is the fourth most popular international website, behind Google, YouTube, and Facebook, with 2.1 million real users in May. The number of real users was 8.5% more than in April, but 6% fewer than in January, and 9% lower from the peak of 2.3 million real users in February.

Wikipedia use data indicate that students are not its main target audience, although they frequently use it. The information site's main users are people aged 35-44, who account for 20% of real users, followed by people aged 18-24, with the other age groups having about the same levels of use.

eBay is another prominent website, with 518,000 real users in Israel. Use of the site is stable, with many Israelis ordering goods from it. The Midroog Committee survey found that 57% of Israeli eBay users are consummate digital shoppers. In contrast, 35% of Israelis who use local websites search for and buy goods online. 11.3% of Israeli users of eBay said that they tended to compare prices, information, and goods online, but preferred to buy in brick and mortar stores.

Looking for work on LinkedIn

Another popular site for Israelis is LinkedIn, which saw a 23% jump in real users between January and May. The Midroog Committee survey found that LinkedIn attracted more men than women (56.5% to 43.5%), and that men spent an average of 26 minutes on the site, 1.7 times the time spent by women. The survey found that LinkedIn was not a social network which replaced job placement websites, but a place for people seeking to upgrade their current job. Its main target audiences are non-managerial employees (35%), managerial employees (28.6%), and the self-employed (14.5%). Jobless users accounted for just 1.4% of its real users. People aged 35-44 are its biggest age group, accounting for 22.3% of users.

The Midroog Committee did not cover Instagram, Twitter, Yahoo and other international sites, because the number of real users by computers is low, and because they did not meet the criteria of a representative sample which could be used to process data.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 2, 2013

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2013

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