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.
Using a snapshot of traffic from December, Compete determined that 15% of traffic to major Web portals like Yahoo, MSN and AOL came from Facebook and MySpace. The lion’s share of that traffic, 13% came from Facebook. Google, which has profited handsomely from directing Web surfers to their destinations during the past decade, was third with 7%, just behind e-commerce site eBay, which had 7.6%. MySpace was fourth with just under 2%.
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% of referrals to sites catering to movie fans, but Facebook was second with 12.4%. And in a video category, Google – which owns YouTube – was first with 22.9%, but Facebook was next at 12.7%.
David Berkowitz, director of emerging media and client strategy for the digital marketing firm 360i of New York, told SF Gate that the importance of search engines isn’t going away. “But there’s always been one downside to search,” he said. “Consumers only spend about 5 percent of their time online searching and the other 95 percent of the time at the destination. Social media is quickly accounting for a large percentage of that 95 percent.”