Social Networks Now More Popular than Search Engines in the UK


Social networks now more popular than search engines in the UK

Social networks received more UK Internet visits than search engines for the first time May
Facebook accounts for 55% of all social networking traffic in the UK
Google UK remains the most popular website overall

London, 8 June 2010 - Experian Hitwise, the leading online competitive intelligence service, today reveals that social networks now receive more UK Internet visits than search engines. During May, social networks accounted for 11.88% of UK Internet visits and search engines accounted for 11.33%. May was the first ever month that social networks have been more popular than search engines in the UK.

“Social networks are a key part of the online landscape in the UK, and their popularity continues to grow,” commented Robin Goad, Research Director for Experian 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.”

“The majority of online marketing spend is currently diverted towards search, and this is likely to remain the case in the short to medium term,” continued Goad. “Search remains the primary source of traffic for most websites, particularly in sectors that account for the majority of online transactions, such as retail, finance and travel. Many marketers and brand owners have yet to grasp the full potential of social media marketing, but spending on the channel will increase as more proven success stories emerge. There will be particular opportunities for sectors that have traditionally struggled with online and remained tied to traditional media, such as FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) and automotive.

Facebook accounts for 55% of all social networking traffic in the UK, Google UK remains the most popular website overall
Facebook ( accounts for 55% of all UK social networking visits, almost three times as many as the next most popular social network, YouTube ( Twitter, one of the fastest growing and most talked about websites of the last two years, is now the third most popular social network in the UK, putting it ahead of former favourites such as Bebo and MySpace.

However, despite its popularity Facebook doesn’t yet dominate the UK social networking market to the extent that Google dominates the search market. Together and accounted for nine in every ten web searches carried out in the UK during May. Consequently Google UK was the most visited website in the UK during May, accounting for 9.29% of all visits. Facebook, in second place, accounted for 7.04% of all UK Internet visits during the same month.

Jannie Cahill
Experian Hitwise
+44 20 3042 4773

About Experian Hitwise

Experian Hitwise is the leading online competitive intelligence service. Experian Hitwise gives marketers a competitive advantage by providing daily insights on how 25 million Internet users around the world interact with more than 1 million Web sites. This external view helps companies grow and protect their businesses by identifying threats and opportunities as they develop. Experian Hitwise has more than 1,500 clients across numerous sectors, including financial services, media, travel and retail.

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About Experian

Experian is the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to clients in more than 90 countries. The company helps businesses to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision making. Experian also helps individuals to check their credit report and credit score, and protect against identity theft.

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