According to recent findings from the analytics company Hitwise, Facebook is now sending more traffic to some sites than Google.
It is a well known fact that Facebook is the biggest social networking site in the world at present It already has 180 million registered users and that number is still growing. Given this fact, it is not very surprising that the site refers a lot of traffic to certain sites.
Even though Facebook has only about 50 million users in the U.S., which is only slightly more than one third the number of Google’s 149 million users in the U.S. – according to comScore – Facebook has referred more traffic to certain sites such as PerezHilton.com, Dlisted, CaféMom, Evite, Tagged.com and Twitter since the beginning of this year.
The number of people being referred to CafeMom and twitter can perhaps be explained by the fact that CafeMom has a Facebook page and Facebook and Twitter users can synchronize updates with each other.
Gossip sites like PerezHilton.com receiving so much traffic from Facebook is a little more difficult to explain. Maybe it is the simple fact that users just spend a lot of time on both social network sites like Facebook as well as on gossip sites like PerezHilton.com
This year PerezHilton has received 8.7% of its traffic from Facebook as opposed to only 7.6% from Google. On the other hand another gossip site TMZ received only 3.8% traffic from Facebook and 12.2% traffic from Google. The difference could very well be due to better optimisation, a bias in the user base or a more significant presence on Facebook.
Traffic being referred to video sites from Facebook has also gone up according to NewTeeVee. According to figures released by Hitwise, 3.3% of traffic to video sites came from Facebook last month, compared to less than 2% in the same month last year.
This just goes to prove that social networks and content sharing are becoming big business at a very fast pace.
It is possible that companies that are currently spending a lot of money to get traffic from Google may now allocate a substantial portion of their marketing budgets to social sites in the future.
Last year $12.2 billion were spent on search optimiation by various companies to get traffic directed towards themselves from Google, according to eMarketer.
Speaking to AdvertisingAge, Peter Yared CEO of marketing firm iWidgets says “Soon the spend will start to follow the eyeballs and transition from Google to Social Media.
However, as one commenter points out, “Hitwise does not measure how much traffic has been referred from one site to another, it simply shows which site a user was on prior to visiting another.” The statistics could therefore merely indicate that most visitors to facebook also check out the gossip sites as part of their brwosing / socialising routine online.