Visits to social networks from users in the U.K. surpassed those to search engines for the first time in May, according to data from Experian Hitwise.
The online measurement company estimates 11.88 percent of traffic was to sites in its social networking and forums category, which includes social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Meanwhile, traffic to sites in its search engine category accounted for 11.33 percent of visits, with Google receiving 90 percent of that traffic.
According to Hitwise, search engines accounted for over 13 percent of visits in May 2007, representing a drop of almost three percentage points over a three year period. Visits to social networks, however, have grown consistently and significantly from the 7 percent share of traffic they held in 2007.
Within the social networking category, 55 percent of visits were to Facebook, with YouTube accounting for over 16 percent of visits, Hitwise said. Although YouTube does include social networking features and much of its content is user-generated, some suggest it should instead be categorized as a search engine, however. Since YouTube accounts for such a substantial portion of traffic in Hitwise’s social networking category, that categorization plays an important part in how the data should be interpreted.