Facebook keeps on growing its influence. Looking at some of the latest comparative online web traffic analytics, Facebook is nearly as big for generating daily unique visitors as either Google or Yahoo (click here for Compete.com's results).
And now the San Francisco Chronicle reports Facebook directs more online users to the major portals (like Yahoo and MSN) than Google.
That's big. And that's big influence. Which explains why Google is feeling threatened by social media's powerful growth lately.
Reports Benny Evangelista from the SF Chronicle @SFGate.com today:
A big part of the Facebook experience is how friends and family share Web links to interesting news stories, photos, videos and Internet sites.Read more:
This "friend-casting" of information has helped propel Facebook into a major force in directing traffic around the Web.
According to Web measurement firm Compete Inc., Facebook has passed search-engine giant Google to become the top source for traffic to major portals like Yahoo and MSN, and is among the leaders for other types of sites.
This trend is shifting the way Web site operators approach online marketing, even as Google takes steps to move into the social-media world.
Some experts say social media could become the Internet's next search engine.
"People are spending less time navigating the Internet on their own and are now navigating the Internet based on their friends' recommendations or their friends' activities," said Dave Yovanno, chief executive of Gigya Inc., a Palo Alto firm that offers social-media services. "That's one of the big trends we started picking up on probably four or five months ago."
For years, Web content creators had to worry whether they had the proper level of search-engine optimization to make sure search engines listed them among the top results. Now, they have to consider what companies like Gigya offer - social-media optimization.
"Marketers must focus on social marketing in addition to traditional search, as customers have a multi-pronged way of finding information," said Jeremiah Owyang, a Web strategist for the Altimeter Group, a San Mateo consulting firm with clients like Gigya. "The clear-cut channels of yesteryear are now an intricate set of connections."
Using a snapshot of Web traffic from December, Compete's director of online media and search, Jessica Ong, found that 15 percent of traffic to major Web portals like Yahoo, MSN and AOL came from Facebook and MySpace. The lion's share of that traffic, 13 percent came from Facebook.
Google, which has profited handsomely from directing Web surfers to their destinations during the past decade, was third with 7 percent, just behind e-commerce site eBay, which had 7.61 percent. MySpace was fourth with just under 2 percent.
The numbers proved eye-opening because Google used to dominate most Web-referral categories. "I was surprised to see Facebook has become No. 1," Ong said.
In other categories, Compete's data showed Mountain View's Google still on top, but Palo Alto's Facebook was not far behind. For example, Google accounted for 21.3 percent of referrals to sites catering to movie fans, but Facebook was second with 12.4 percent. And in a video category, Google - which owns YouTube - was first with 22.9 percent, but Facebook was next at 12.7 percent.
Facebook's meteoric growth as a Web destination was a factor. Facebook says it has 400 million active members, including about 225 million added in just the past 12 months. Its size now rivals that of major Web portals and its demographics mirror those of the Internet in general, Ong said.
"Putting all this information together, we can say that Facebook has become an integral part of the consumer Web experience, similar to how portals like Yahoo and MSN are part of most consumers' online sessions," Ong said. "So the message for the advertising industry is that more serious attention needs to be paid to social-networking sites like Facebook, and advertisers need to figure out how to leverage this traffic."
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Monday, February 15, 2010,