Is Facebook More Important than Google?
In May, social media websites received more internet visits than search engines in the UK.
The social media sector accounted for 11.88% of online visits, while the search engine sector trailed marginally with 11.33% – reportedly the first time ever that social networks have overtaken search engines in the UK popularity stakes.
In March, social media giant Facebook surpassed Google in the US to become the most visited website for the week, also jumping ahead of Google to reach the number one spot on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New YearΓÇÖs Day.
Has social media finally become more important to web users than search engines?
This question has become hotly debated, with some claiming that the sector definitions are inaccurate, and that YouTube – currently part of the ‘social media’ sector – should be classed as a search engine. If this was true, social media probably would not have reached the top spot.
Others claim that the boundaries are shifting, as users are now using social networks to search for pages and information that they would previously have found via search engines.
For example, if you wanted to find a business centre video, would you start by searching on Google, or would you go straight to YouTube?
But even classification could soon fall by the wayside, as the lines between the two sectors appear to be blurring. For example, Yahoo have agreed to link up with Facebook, which will make it easier for users with profiles on both Yahoo and Facebook to update both sites in one move.
In another example, users of Facebook can now ‘like’ websites around the world, in a recent modification by Facebook that again brings social media to the fore.
Visiting a page containing the ‘like’ button will show the profile picture of ‘friends’ who have clicked the button, and the page will appear in their Facebook news stream.
As highlighted by Laura Betterly of Yada Yada Marketing, this has enormous implications.
“You could visit a page, ‘like’ it, and then let’s say you have 700 friends. Your 700 friends will also see that you liked that page. Then let’s assume 10 of those people visit the page and like it. Let’s assume that each of those people also have several hundred friends who then would see through their Facebook news stream that another one of their friends liked that webpage.”
Social media is encouraging new trends that change the way we search and use the internet, and sometimes we don’t even know weΓÇÖre doing it.
So has social media finally become more important than search engines? As Laura Betterly claims, they are certainly becoming close:
“It’s simple. It’s viral. And it scares the hell out of Google.”