Revisiting Flickr versus Snapfish versus Photobucket versus Slide versus Shutterfly

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The response to the post:

Flickr versus Snapfish versus Photobucket versus Slide versus Shutterfly

has been great! Thank you very much for reading it. Here is a breakdown of the number of daily readers provided by WordPress BlogStats


I am really happy that my Spanish colleague, Gemma (who writes a great web analytics blog in Spanish called ¿Dónde está Avinash cuando se le necesita?, a great tribute to Avinash Kaushik) found some inspiration to use Google Trends (one of my personal favorite tools!).

Another great tool for broad research is Google Ad Planner (currently in Beta, so you need an invitation, mine took about a week to arrive).

Let’s take a look at the BIG 5 (Flickr, Photobucket, Snapfish, Shutterfly, and Slide) of online digital photo sharing using this tool:

using Google Ad Planner
Flickr versus Snapfish versus Photobucket versus Slide versus Shutterfly: using Google Ad Planner

Google Ad Planner provides much more in-depth information on a monthly basis (the figures for unique visitors and pageviews are on a 30-day basis).  The reach is for the United States.  As discussed on the previous post, Photobucket appears to continue to have the upper-hand over Flickr.

What I found really interesting is that if I was to theoretically put ads on these 5 sites trying to reach everybody in the United States, I would reach 31 million or have a country reach of 13% or have 660 million pageviews.

Do you think that is a lot? Wrong! Take a look what would happen if I just select Facebook and Myspace:


That’s 90 million unique visitors or a country reach of 39% or 20 billion pageviews!

Does that mean that advertising on Facebook and Myspace is better than advertising on the top 5 of online digital photo sharing?

If your objective is to monetize on printing services, I would dare to say no.


Take a look at the age and income distribution of the audience at Myspace using Google Ad Planner:


Compare it with the demographics of the audience at Shutterfly:


Obviously Shutterfly has a more mature audience with more spendable income, so they would be more prone to spend on printing services than a younger audience with a tigther budget.

Of course, you could argue against this hypothesis.

Yahoo! Flickr - 300x250

Let me hear your thoughts.

Flickr versus Snapfish versus Photobucket versus Slide versus Shutterfly

An important part of my job is to understand the trends in the online photo sharing industry and I wanted to provide a couple of insights to my readers using Google Trends.

Daily Unique Visitors of 5 key players in the online photo sharing industry.
Daily Unique Visitors of 5 key players in the online photo sharing industry.

For the period May 2007 – September 2008, Flickr and Photobucket compete for the highest number of daily unique visitors worldwide out of the five selected online photo sharing:  Flickr, Snapfish, Shutterfly, Photobucket and Slide.

Take a look at the latest performance of Photobucket and Flickr:

What caused that there were more daily unique visitors at Photobucket than at Flickr?

Yahoo! Flickr - 300x250

Photobucket is capturing more daily unique visitors than Flickr in the top photo sharing market: U.S.

However, Photobucket should not rest in its laurels, because Flickr is ahead in the second most important photo sharing market: India.

What about Slide?  Slide enjoyed an important spike in the last quarter of 2007, but its number of daily unique visitors is coming back to previous levels.   What caused this?

2 reasons: hi5 and England.

Worlwide, people who search for the the term “slide”, also search for:

As you can see, hi5 appears several times and it different languages!

This is relevant because hi5‘s daily unique visitors worldwide dwarfs that of the top 5 players in the photo sharing business (note: I drop Snapfish, because Google Trends only accepts 5 websites at a time).

Plus, Slide did pretty good during that period in England!

Finally, what about Snapfish and Shutterfly?

They depend on each other because:

People who search for “snapfish” also search for “shutterfly”.

And people who search for “shutterfly also search for “snapfish”.

In conclusion:

  1. Markets outside of the United States DO matter!  Increased demand in important markets (e.g. Slide in England, Flickr in India) can generate a lot of views, which potentially means increased ad revenue.  Just ask Dave McClure, web analytics guru and blogger at Master of 500 Hats.
  2. Despite all the hype about international markets, the leader must keep its focus on the top market, the U.S.
  3. Keep a close eye on the SEO tactics of your rivals and copy what seems to work (Shutterfly and Snapfish).

Yahoo! Flickr - 468x60

What do you think?

Language and Regional Analysis Google’s Picasa using Google Trends

First of all, it is important to point that it is not possible to see the Daily Unique Visitors graph of using Google Trends. Also a big mahalo (thank you in Hawaiian!) to fellow Photo Lover, Katharine Osborne, for showing me Skitch. This great little image capturing & editing tool for Mac has made my blogging much easier.

Why Picasa?  Well, in my personal opinion, the 2 main players for desktop applications in photo organizing & sharing for Mac OS are:

Teaser: what are the differences between the 2 of them? : ) Coming soon!

Since it was not possible to look for the Daily Unique Visitors graph, I looked for the Search Volume Index of the term “picasa”.  Here’s what you get:

The letters correspond to relevant news, here’s the list:

The biggest spike, highlighted with the letter A, happened after the release of Picasa 2.0 by Google, back in 2005 which included a series of improvements such as picture captioning and blog-posting ability (for the whole list check here).  A spike in the search volume of the term “picasa” is expected around the date of a new release.  This is supported by event F, because on September 3, 2008, Picasa 3.0 was released.

What was really interesting is that the United States does not appear among the top 10 regions where the term “picasa” is searched for!!

Is this possible? Is it an error? Let’s analyze the following:

Notice that there appears no U.S. city on the top 10 cities that search for “picasa” and that English does not appear on the top 10 languages!

This finding is very interesting so I adjusted the upper right setting for region from:


and I found that English is the 3rd language of the region when searching for “picasa”!


  1. The term “picasa” is searched more around the release date of a new version of Picasa.
  2. Google’s Picasa has a stronger presence abroad than in the United States.
  3. Google MUST consider that the majority of its users come from outside of the U.S., so web sites version in different languages might be needed to support its users.  This situation is not strange, the same thing happened to

Why are these conclusions relevant?

Consider the following for Apple’s iPhoto, when looking for the term “iphoto”, this is what I found:

Notice that:

  • United States is the second region where most searches happen.
  • 8 of the top 10 cities, where the searches happened, are inside of the U.S.
  • English is the top language of the queries.

This illustrates the difference in strategies between Apple’s iPhoto and Google’s Picasa.

What do you think?

Web analytics of using Google Trends

On the latest post from web analytics guru, Avinash Kaushik, he discusses into a lot of detail the use of Google Trends as a free and acceptable competitive intelligence tool.

So what is so hot about it?

According to Google:  “With Google Trends, you can compare the world’s interest in your favorite topics. Enter up to five topics and see how often they’ve been searched on Google over time. Google Trends also shows how frequently your topics have appeared in Google News stories, and in which geographic regions people have searched for them most“.

Interesting!  Not only that but “When Google Trends detects a spike in the volume of news stories for a particular search term, it labels the graph and displays the headline of an automatically selected Google News story written near the time of that spike.”  In simpler words, we can find the a plausible explanation for that spike in the search term.

As part of my work, I have to follow closely the activities of  After reading Avinash’s entry I rushed into doing some web analytis of using Google Trends.

Let’s see what I found out.

Daily unique visitors at
Daily unique visitors at
  • The graph above indicates the number of daily unique visits at  Flickr’s daily unique visits has gone up and down over time but has an upward trend wordwide.
  • Worldwide visitors who visited this site also visited:
  1. (no surprise there)
  2. (tools/widgets/applications to use in Flickr)
  3. (e-zine for women, so I can have the hypothesis that photo sharing websites should focus on women!)
  4. (a place to kill time)
  5. (photo-blog)
  6. (photo-blog)
  7. (name says it all, independent consumer report site, don’t really understand the connection here)
  8. (blog that teachers better photography techniques)
  • Flickr is searched mainly in the USA.  Second to the USA, India is ahead of all other countries in looking/visiting Flickr.
  • Inside of USA, California is by far the most active subregion with Flickr.
  • According to this data, and are the top other sites visited by Flickr visitors.  #3 is
Search Volume Index of term, photo sharing, using Google Trends
  • The second graph above shows the search volume index for photo sharing.  The letters indicate important news related to that point in time.  It is interesting that these stories are related to a company/organization promoting a better photo-sharing product/service (e.g. Flickr, Avanquest,, Ubicom.


  1. Photo sharing is only exciting if it is better.
  2. Tools&widgets communities support the further development of a photo sharing community.
  3. Women spend time looking at pictures online. Let’s focus on them!  The wedding photography idea is really good.
  4. There is a connection between and  No idea what it is, but it might worth the while to check it out.
  5. People that spend time looking at pictures online also spend time looking at photo-blogs for quick laughs.

The term conclusions seems a bit overwhelming, I would prefer to name them hypothesis that I would like to further investigate.  However, the main point of this exercise is to demonstrate that Google Trends is a free competitive intelligence tool that provides good ideas to check your web analytics processes.

What do you think? : )