Facebook traffic tops Google for the week

By Julianne Pepitone, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Facebook topped Google to become the most visited U.S. Web site last week, indicating a shift in how Americans are searching for content.

Web analysis firm Experian Hitwise said Monday that the social networking site surpassed Google to take the No. 1 spot for the week ended March 13.

"It shows content sharing has become a huge driving force online," said Matt Tatham, director of media relations at Hitwise. "People want information from friends they trust, versus the the anonymity of a search engine."

Facebook accounted for 7.07% of U.S. Web traffic that week, while Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) received 7.03%. The study compared only the domains Facebook.com and Google.com -- not, for example, Google-owned sites like Gmail.com.

Though the traffic levels were close, Facebook's year-over-year growth far outpaced Google's that week. The number of visitors to Facebook spiked 185% compared with the same period last year, while Google's traffic climbed just 9%.

"It's definitely a big moment for Facebook, even though they beat by a small margin," Tatham said. "We've seen it coming for quite a long time."

Facebook had never before beaten Google over a full weeklong period, though it has been the most visited site on recent holidays: Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Facebook was also the top site on the weekend of March 6-7.

But Tatham noted that when he added up traffic on all Google properties like Google Maps and YouTube, the company's sites comprised 11.03% of visits. Yahoo (YHOO, Fortune 500) was second with 10.98%.

Google.com had been the No. 1 site each week since Sept. 15, 2007, when ironically it passed another social networking site, MySpace.com, in order to take the crown.

Of course, the MySpace connection could be a bad omen for Facebook. MySpace enjoyed dominance on the social networking scene for years until it saw traffic plummet following Facebook's rise.

"By nature, the Web is ever-changing," Tatham said. "The Internet can be a fickle crowd." To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 18,080.14 21.45 0.12%
Nasdaq 5,092.09 36.02 0.71%
S&P 500 2,117.69 4.76 0.23%
Treasuries 1.92 -0.03 -1.54%
Data as of 12:32pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Microsoft Corp 47.87 4.53 10.45%
Apple Inc 130.28 0.61 0.47%
Comcast Corp 59.64 0.41 0.69%
AT&T Inc 34.01 -0.22 -0.64%
Xerox Corp 11.99 -1.15 -8.75%
Data as of Apr 24
Sponsors

Sections

Shares in Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo dropped sharply Friday after hoaxers claimed its CEO had quit after faking billions in profits. More

The impact of rising immigration on Britain's economy has become a hot topic in the election campaign. More

Stars of Youtube, Vine, Snapchat, and Twitter are attending this year's White House Correspondents' Dinner. More

A Girl Scouts Cookie Oven rolling out to Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart stores this summer will let you bake those iconic thin mints right at home. More