It’s fitting that a “Social Discovery” site holds people on the page longer than Facebook. In today’s ever-increasingly over-connected virtual world, we are no longer as fascinated with the daily machinations of our friends and family. We have become good at shuffling through pictures of little nephew Timmy sliding into third base with a quick Facebook like or clicking the retweet button when a friend declares their local sushi bar has the best Sake in Long Beach.
We’re ready for more. We’re ready for something new.
A recent article on Mashable was aptly named, “What’s America’s Most Engaging Social Network? You’ll Be Surprised“. Surprised we were. With all of the attention that Pinterest has received the last few months, that Google+ has received the last year, and that Twitter and Facebook have received the last several years, it is shocking that a website can get as big as Tagged without hitting more radar screens.
The company, which launched right around the time that Facebook was starting to get attention in 2004, allows users to find new people for friendship or romance. It wasn’t always like that. They started off trying to be much like Facebook but for high school students.
“We took a hard look and decided we weren’t going to win,” co-founder and CEO Greg Tseng said. “But we had found out a lot of our users were actually using Tagged to meet new people, so that led us to pivot into a new space called ‘social discovery,’ where people use sites to make new social relationships.”
The pivot has paid off. The company has been profitable since 2008. It recently purchased competitor Hi5 and other startups. Perhaps most importantly, they have been continuing to attract top Silicon Valley talent, tripling in headcount the last year to 170.
Tagged users average 18 visits per month and stay on the site for 12.1 minutes according to comScore. Facebook users by comparison stick around for 10.9 minutes per visit.
It makes sense. The learning curve for Facebook is often the biggest reason people get stuck on it for so long. Checking through our friends’ and family members’ updates is quick for experienced users and posting to the site is a breeze. With social discovery, there are limitless connections, searches, and profile-views that can happen. It’s simply a matter of how much time someone is able to spend looking for their next social BFF.
Over the next year, expect a shift in time spent on social discovery. Facebook will be the end destination for the connections we make (unless Google+ can somehow grow more quickly) but the site does not lend itself to finding fresh acquaintances, to “reloading” so to speak. Tagged may be the perfect place for freshness.