Experian Hitwise reveals latest UK Search Engine and Social Analysis Brands need to maximise their social media strategy in October and December, Facebook bounces back after seasonal dip, while YouTube loses market share for first time in 2011 London, 12 October 2011 – Brands should be maximising their social media strategy now in order to generate the best results over the Christmas period, according to competitive intelligence experts at Experian Hitwise. According to the latest seasonal trends data, social media usage is usually at its highest in the final quarter of the year, with peaks in October and December. “December is always the biggest month of the year for social media usage, but our seasonal trend data shows that October is the second busiest month of the year,” commented James Murray, Marketing Research Analyst at Experian Hitwise. “Brands need to start capitalising on this traffic and increased usage now in order to ensure that the impact of their social interaction will carry through to the crucial Christmas sales period.” Facebook bounces back after seasonal dip Facebook increased its market share of visits by 3.08 per cent, within the Social Networking and Forums category data in September 2011, bouncing back after a dip in performance over July and August. James Murray added: “With the summer holiday season now over, Facebook has bounced back to take nearly 52 per cent of all visits to social networking sites. Social media as a whole experiences a dry patch during July and August, but September always kick starts usage again with students starting university terms, kids going back to school, and the working population returning from holiday.” YouTube lost visitor market share for the first time in 2011, having consistently been the fastest growing social network for the last six months. Twitter also saw a slight drop in market share, falling from 3.87 per cent of all visits to the category to 3.40 per cent. James Murray commented: “The important message for brands is to understand the seasonality of visits to their sector, which can have a significant influence on traffic. Timing and careful social media planning can determine the success or failure of a campaign. We know that social traffic is going to account for a greater proportion of Internet usage as we get closer to Christmas, but October is a key month ahead of the December rush and those brands which can lay the ground work now will benefit later in the winter season.” Google improves market share of searches Google Sites saw the biggest growth in market share of searches this month, up by 0.14 per cent since August. In total, Google Sites accounted for 91.34 per cent of all UK Internet searches conducted in September 2011. Ask Sites also grew their share of searches this month by 0.12 per cent, accounting for 1.63 per cent of the total UK search market. Microsoft Sites and Yahoo! Sites both saw a decrease in market share of searches for a second consecutive month, although Microsoft Sites, led by the bing search engine, were up year-on-year by 0.59%. Despite Google’s success this month, year-on-year the UK’s most popular search engine was down in market share of searches by 0.72 per cent. Ask was the only search engine to demonstrate both monthly and yearly increases in its share of searches. James Murray said: “Google, the UK’s most popular search engine, is incredibly resilient having maintained over 90 per cent of all UK searches for the last five years despite its fluctuating market share. Microsoft experienced a slight decline in searches this month, but the year-on-year figures are encouraging as bing edges closer to controlling 4 per cent of the UK search market.” ENDS Contact: Alexandra Banks Digital PR Manager, Experian Marketing Services +44 (0) 7966102823 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com 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. Experian Hitwise (FTS:EXPN), www.experianplc.com, operates in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada, France and Brazil. More information about Experian Hitwise is available at www.hitwise.com/uk. For up-to-date analysis of online trends, please visit the Experian Hitwise research blog at www.ilovedata.com and the Experian Hitwise Data Centre at www.hitwise.com/datacentre About Experian Experian is the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to clients in more than 80 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. Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended 31 March 2011 was US$4.2 billion. Experian employs approximately 15,000 people in 41 countries and has its corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; California, US; and São Paulo, Brazil. For more information, visit http://www.experianplc.com. 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