Facebook Tops Google for Traffic, Twitter for News

By March 16, 2010

Another benchmark passed. Facebook beat Google.com in weekly traffic for the first time, according to Experian Hitwise. Facebook accounted for 7.07 percent of all internet visits last week, while 7.03 percent went to Google.

This is the first time Facebook has surpassed Google for the week, though the social network was the number one site on Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year’s, as well as the first weekend in March.

Year-over-year, Facebook market share increased 185 percent over the same week in 2009, while Google’s increased 9 percent.

Note that this ranking does not account for other Google sites like YouTube or Gmail, but it is a significant record of how users’ discovery habits are trending towards recommendation-based content and away from traditional search.

"It shows content sharing has become a huge driving force online," Matt Tatham, director of media relations at Hitwise, told CNN.

"People want information from friends they trust, versus the anonymity of a search engine," Tatham said.

CNN notes with irony that the last time Google wasn’t number one was in September 2007, when the top spot was held by MySpace, which, after a recent attempt at rebranding, is rumored to be up for sale.

Facebook is also outpacing Google News and Twitter as a discovery source for news. Experian Hitwise reports that Facebook was responsible for 3.64 percent of visits to News and Media sites last week. Twitter, on the other hand, accounted for only .14 percent of similar visits.

Google News fell in the middle, driving 1.27 percent of visits to news and media sites.

Overall, Facebook was the number 3 site for upstream traffic to News and Media sites, while Twitter was 39th. One reason for this is that 60 percent of Twitter users are going Social Media and Entertainment sites, while less than 5 percent go to News and Media sites.

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