Monthly SL usage analysis

Monthly SL usage analysis. In April 2007, an average of 3.04 hours per month were spent per registered account in Second Life (source: Second Life key metrics data file). This statistic whilst useful in isolation, produces much more interesting analysis when back-filled using historical data. The graph below shows hours spent per month for the last sixteen months.

The average per month of around three hours appears to be a stabilisation from Dec-06 onwards. However, as clearly shown by the graph, this has been a fast-moving falling average from a high of twenty hours back in Jan-06.

So what factors are affecting this metric?

I would attribute the initial 20 – 14 range solely to Innovators being the dominant user type in Second Life. These people were and continue to be the power users. These are the shop owners, the content creators – the people that make Second Life what it is today. They are people who (clearly) spend significant time in-world.

The drop-off in usage observed from May-06 onwards coincides with the first major brands coming into SL. With the initial brand entrances came media awareness in the US and thus two triggers.

The first trigger was trialists – people in the media and marketing sectors wanting to see what all the fuss what about. In many cases ‘they came, they saw, they left’. Initial usage and then drop-off therefore lowered the average usage per month.

The second trigger was the Innovators influencing the Early Adopters. Innovators typically act as a catalyst for Early Adopters and although it’s probably fair to say that these Adopters are not/were not using SL purely on a trial basis, i.e. they are continuing to login, they are clearly not logging in as long as the hard-core Innovators.

So where do we go from here? Yes, of course they will continue to be a lot of people who are compelled to create accounts and then drop-off in usage in a trialist fashion, but as the average has clearly levelled off and stabilised for the last five month, one can assume that three hours per month is a firm average for now.

As in-world support from third party orientation venues continues to be pushed and more brands enter SL, one would expect the three hours to start to increase from now on.