SYDNEY: Over 70% of Australian internet users visited a social networking site in June, an increase of 29% from the same month last year according to research firm comScore.

It reports that a total of nine million Australians visited a social network service during the month, with Facebook continuing to lead the market with over six million visitors, up 95% from last year. Newcomer Twitter, meanwhile, increased its numbers from 13,000 to 800,000.

MySpace took second place with 3.5m visitors with Windows Live scoring two million. Relative minnow Orkut grew its market to 252,000 visitors, up 60%.

"Social networking continues to grow in popularity both across Australia and the world," says comScore marketing v-p Will Hodgman. "It is now an essential part of people's daily routine, providing a level of engagement and reach that far exceeds most other content categories.

"Understanding how to leverage this audience successfully is both a challenge and significant opportunity for most digital marketers today."

While social networks are grabbing the headlines in Australia, traditional media are also putting up a relatively strong performance.

Sales of Australia's main newspapers only fell 0.7% in the three months to June 30, despite the recession. This suggests a less steep annual decline than the US, where sales are off 7%, and the UK where they are down 4%.

Data sourced from MarketingVOX; additional content by WARC staff