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Where Online Users Are Worth the Most

The conventional wisdom about social networks and the ultra-competitive world of Internet engagement is that upstarts are always on the verge of unseating stalwarts like Yahoo and Google. So The Information compiled metrics about key players to go beyond the top-line numbers. This scorecard paints a more nuanced picture.

More established players like Google and Facebook make more money per user than a company with a less mature advertising business like Twitter. But Google is in a different league, making 6 times more per user than Facebook. Google users also spend far less time per visit on Google than on Facebook. That’s a reminder that Facebook’s largely display ad business relies on people being glued to the site.

With just 14 million users, the relatively tiny online reservations service OpenTable generates more revenue per visitor than any company except for Google, thanks to software sales and restaurant reservation management fees. OpenTable and Facebook have relatively comparable forward price-to-earnings ratios of 38 and 32, respectively, meaning that investors will pay a similar price to own the stock relative to the companies' expected profits. Google’s forward P/E is 20.

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