Social Trumps Search

As reported in a Los Angeles Times article, based on web traffic comparison data, web traffic to Facebook has just surpassed Yahoo in the United States. This makes Facebook the second most popular site on the web after Google!

If you run a Compete Rank Comparison for the past year, you see Facebook gaining fast from the 8th position and overtaking Yahoo for the #2 spot sometime in Mid-December 2009.

If you check out the Compete comparison of the Unique Visits and Visits chart for the last 6 months, Facebook surpasses Yahoo mid-December 2009 in unique visits but Facebook passed Yahoo back around October 2009 in Visits.

Another way of looking at the popularity of these social network sites is the examine how much users rely on them to share content. While in the past, users would just email each other interesting links, nowadays people will share interesting content they find via their Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets.

In a recent article in TechCrunch, they presented some interesting data from Social Sharing Enabling services on the distribution of social sites used to share content. There a many services out there now that help connect a web site to the social network by placing a social widget on a web site. Users can use these widgets to share web site content through a variety of social networks. These services have very special insight into how users are sharing content.

Based on data from Gigya, Facebook commands the most percentage (44%) of social sharing.

When you break down the data by type of web site content, you can see the percentages shift but Facebook is still on top. For News Sites, Facebook is just slightly ahead of Google, but for Entertainment Sites, Facebook is used to share content by far.

While Gigya is used by a 5000+ network of large sites, another service AddThis is used by a lot more smaller sites (600,000+). AddThis also provided some aggregate data on what they are seeing. They show a lower percentage of use of Facebook as compared to Gigya’s web site network, but still Facebook is the clear winner. Interestingly, they also show that the traditional “old-school” way of sharing content – email and printing – is still popular.

With the growing traffic volume to social media sites and the large volume of content sharing going on through social media sites, Email services alone is not enough to capture today’s users. It’s no wonder why Google is getting into the Social Media game with the Google Buzz. And even Microsoft is working on adding a Social Media Connector/Accelerator to their Dynamics CRM and Outlook products.

Takeshi Eto
VP Marketing and Business Development

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