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Search or Social: Google or Facebook?

Isn't Google extraordinary? We hear today from our friends at Experian HitWise that fully 92% of all searches in the UK are undertaken through Google. Blimey. 92%. That's a lot. For all the effort that Ask, and Bing and Yahoo and all the rest put into their efforts they seem to be getting nowhere as the Mountain View, California based company put on another 1.5% of market share in a month.

We also hear that Facebook has peaked. That their growth has hit the buffers; that they're shedding users in the UK and in the US and Canada.

But I know where my money would go – data, also from our friends at Experian Hitwise, shows the share of traffic. And what is shows is that counting users might not be such a clever thing. If you look at actual activity it's clear that despite the fact that Google is grabbing 92% of the search market, the search market itself is in relative decline. This time a year ago, search was 38% of all traffic. Now it's only 34%. This is still much bigger than social, which accounts for 12.5% of UK web traffic (and Facebook is only 54% of social activity). But the direction of travel is clear.

Ad money is also going the Facebook way as I showed in this post -- Facebook's advertising is up 200% year on year, and Google's share of online advertising dropped from 61% to 57%.

The momentum is against search and the tide is running in favour of social. Google down. Facebook up. Oh and there's delicious irony here, too – the most common search term. You guessed it... Facebook.

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Comments: (1)

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 18 July, 2011, 10:38Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Let's say I'm in the market for a shirt (or a mobile phone or a book). For 'shirt', I appreciate Google Search dedicating enough resources to serve me about 972 million results in 0.21 seconds.  Unfortunately, I don't have the resources to review so many results - a lot of which are spam anyway - to make up my mind. If only I could search for 'shirt' inside Facebook. Even the 2-3 results from my friends would suffice. When I actually tried that using Facebook Search, I got one result from a friend for 'shirt'. However, I got none for 'mobile phone' or 'book', for which Facebook results only showed brand pages related to these items. If only Facebook showed more results from friends in a convenient way, I'd head to Facebook Search first and get results that are virtually endorsements. This illustrates the power of 'Social Search'.