It has long been felt that people go downstream to Twitter from sites such as Google and Facebook. However, a recent post from analytics firm Hitwise, shows that the reverse is also true.
Data collected by Hitwise during the month of February 2009 shows that the maximum downstream visits from Twitter went to Google (5.20% of downstream traffic share) followed closely by visits to Facebook (5.11%). Twitpic (3.43%), MySpace (3.19%) and Twitter Search (1.98%) followed at 3rd, 4th and 5th places respectively.
Next in line were Yahoo! Mail (1.91%), YouTube (1.88%), Twitter Support (1.80%), Gmail (1.79%) and Yahoo! (1.29%) in order of downstream traffic share.
The high percentage of traffic driven to search engines could be due to users searching for details on topics of interest that they read about on Twitter. For example, when a user sees a number of Tweets about an event, the first impulse would most likely be to go to a search engine like Google to find out more about it.
Further analysis of the categories of post-Twitter visits shows that 40% of users went across to computer and internet sites such as social networks, search engines and email services.
Entertainment sites such as those related to photography and multimedia are visited by less than 20% of users, while less than 10% of users go from Twitter to lifestyle sites such as blogs, personal websites or news and media sites.
Far more users were found to go to social networks and entertainment sites from Twitter than they do from search engines, other social networks and email services.
On the other hand, fewer people go from Twitter to search engines, email services, business and finance sites and shopping and classified sites than they do from search engines, social networks and email services.
These details seem to indicate that Twitter is used like most social networks are, and while Twitter can be effectively used by content owners to distribute their content, it might not be the best channel to drive new business.