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BizReport : Social Marketing : January 05, 2010

Did Facebook's traffic really trump Google's on key holiday dates?

According to a report from Hitwise, the social networking giant Facebook was the most popular website in America during certain days over the holiday period. Or was it?

by Helen Leggatt

Depending on how you look at the figures, Facebook outdid Google in the Internet traffic stakes during Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Eve.

The figures, from Hitwise, aren't a huge surprise given that during the 2008 holiday period Facebook experienced a huge hike despite only having under half of its current 350 million users. This year it seems the social site's inflated population was obviously more interested in catching up with family and friends, exchanging holiday wishes and showcasing their Christmas photographs than searching the Internet.

However, as SearchEngineLand's Barry Schwartz points out, the Facebook data was only compared to Google's search engine traffic and not its other incarnations such as Gmail, Google News or Google Reader.

"That means pretty much Hitwise is comparing Facebook's overall traffic to only one aspect of Google, Google web search," writes Schwartz.

"Potentially, some visits to Google's personalized home page might also be in there. But also potentially, a chunk of Google traffic isn't being counted correctly. Add in the part of Google that weren't counted, and Google might still have been ahead."

Tags: Christmas, Facebook, Google, Hitwise, holiday, Internet traffic, social network

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