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Stephen Logan

Facebook Leapfrogs Google in US Internet Market Share

17th Mar 2010 News, Industry News 2 minutes to read

Thanks to a year on year visitor increase of 185%, Facebook has overtaken Google.com as the most visited website in the US.

According to the latest Hitwise statistics, Google has been knocked off the top spot by Facebook; making the social media giant the most visited site in America. Whilst the difference between the two may be negligible (Google commands 7.03% of the total visitor share, Facebook 7.07%), the significance of this shift in power could be far reaching.

But before we get too carried away, there are a number of factors that can’t be ignored.

Firstly, these statistics are just from the US market. They don’t take into account any other Internet users, so aren’t representative of the wider world.

Secondly, the statistics only relate to visits each domain receives. Therefore other Google entities, including Gmail (which receives 0.85% of all visits and is the 12th in the Top 20 websites list) and Google Images (0.46% and 16th) aren’t included within Google.com’s statistics.

Finally, it’s not entirely clear what constitutes a visit. Whilst you would have to assume that every session on Google is counted and individual searches are just seen as one. Do searches through the toolbar or non-Google homepage, i.e. like the default Firefox page count? Again, you would assume so, but you know what they say about assumption.

But despite these issues, the metric used by Hitwise to judge visits has found that Facebook is indeed the most popular individual site in the US. This in itself is something of a revelation.

Google have been sitting pretty in pole position for longer than most would care to remember. With 71% of the search market cornered, their position in the US, as it is throughout the world, is incredibly strong. In fact, as evidenced in our Search Engine Market Share Statistics – February 2010, this is a position that has strengthened this year. Google have jumped from 67.3% up to 71.07% of the market. Although it should be noted that the metrics used by Nielsen (our source) and Hitwise are a little different.

Facebook’s story is one of incredible growth. As previously mentioned, visitor numbers have grown by 185% over the course of the past year. Google too have been on the rise too. However their progress has been a little more gentile, improving on last year’s figure by around 9%.

The major impact in growth is not only the distribution of high speed broadband, but surely the increased c connectivity of mobile devices. Mobile search and social media engagement are experiencing huge growth. With more devices featuring the Internet and one click sign in, you can be online wherever you are in an instant. This is bound to speed growth.

So despite their immense size and audience, there is still massive potential for growth for both Google and Facebook. But for now at least, it is Facebook.com that is ruling Google.com. Google entities might well (to which you can include Blogger and YouTube) help it to maintain a commanding overall lead, but for now the bragging rights are with social media and Facebook.

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