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BizReport : Social Marketing : June 09, 2010

Hitwise: Socnet popularity trumps search in U.K.

It would seem Internet users prefer finding out information from each other rather than via search engines, if Hitwise's latest figures from the U.K. are anything to go by.

by Helen Leggatt

hitwise.jpgMore Internet users in the U.K. searched social media websites than search engines last month. According to Hitwise, social media sites accounted for 11.8% of U.K web traffic, while search engines just 11.3%.

"We have been expecting this, but it is a pretty big milestone," said Robin Goad, a research director at Hitwise. "Although social networks and search engines perform different functions, they both act as gateways to the wider Internet. This data perfectly illustrates the key role that social media now plays in so much online behavior."

Facebook was the most popular social networking website with 55% of all social media traffic - almost three times more than its closest rival YouTube.

However, as Techwatch's Darren Allan points out, Hitwise included YouTube as a social networking website which pushed search out of the top traffic spot. "Without the YouTube figures, the number of visits to social sites would still be less than the total number of visits to search engines," writes Allan, "and it's arguable whether or not YouTube is a social networking project."

What's your stance?

Tags: search engines, social networking, web traffic

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