Facebook Tops Google As Web's Busiest Site

Dennis Faas's picture

Facebook has overtaken Google as the most visited website among United States users. It's the first time Google has lost the top spot since September 2007.

The revelation comes from Hitwise, a web analysis firm that gathers data directly from Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in order to help advertisers get a better idea of how to reach particular markets. Because the data comes from ISPs, it's considered more accurate than some methods which only gather data from individual sites or users.

According to the firm, last week Facebook accounted for 7.07% of all US website visits, compared with 7.03% for Google. That said, it's worth emphasizing that this means that out of every seven visits an American user makes to a site, one is to either Facebook or Google.

This marks the first time Facebook has been number one over an entire week, though there have been individual days when it's held the lead, notably Christmas Day when people were more likely to be catching up with friends and relatives.

Facebook's Rapid Rise: 3x Over Previous Year

The figures mean use of Facebook has risen almost three-fold in the past year. During that period Google only rose by 9%, though of course it cold be argued that's still impressive given how well established it already was. (Source: hitwise.com)

The change in the pecking order -- which of course may only be temporary -- doesn't necessarily mean Facebook will be more appealing to advertisers. It does tend to hold users' attention for longer, with the average Facebook account holder said to spend half an hour a day on the site, whereas if Google is doing its job properly, visitors will leave quickly and visit the site they are looking for. (Source: thetechherald.com)

Targeted Advertising Key for Google

The big difference is that Google makes it much easier to sell targeted advertising based on the term users are searching for, which is far more valuable to advertisers. Facebook does offer some advertising facilities targeted by the user's demographics and the content they post on the site, but this is often seen as intrusive and unsettling.

And despite Facebook's success, it may not be a good idea for its owners to get overconfident. The last time Google lost its number one slot the victor was former social networking champ MySpace, which has since lost considerable ground, most notably of course to Facebook.

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