In the UK, social networks have now become more popular than search engines. At least, that’s what the analytics firm Hitwise is claiming. Its stats show that, during the previous month, visits to social networks were more numerous than to search engines, albeit by a small margin.
“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,” Robin Goad, research director at Hitwise UK, wrote
“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,” he added.
The numbers speak for themselves, but there is one, fairly large, caveat. Hitwise counts YouTube as a social network, the second largest in fact, and by quite a margin. While YouTube has some social features and encourages users to interact and share, most people probably wouldn’t call it a social network.
What’s more, it would be more accurate to call it a search engine than a social network, as most people are more likely to search for a video than to find friends on YouTube.
Still, the trend is clear, social networks are getting bigger and becoming a larger part of the web. Facebook alone accounts for 55 percent to the traffic to social networks. YouTube is slated with a 16 percent of the visits in this category. Twitter manages to get a 2 percent slice.
When it comes to individual sites, Google still reigns with 9.29 percent of all visits to a website in the UK in May. However, Facebook is not that far behind, in second place with 7.04 percent. And considering that the social network is still growing at a much faster pace than Google, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes the largest site in the UK.