Top 10 most searched for brands of 2010: Facebook, YouTube and eBay top list


Facebook was the top online brand of 2010, followed by YouTube, eBay, Amazon and Argos, according to new data from Experian Hitwise. Twice a year, Experian Hitwise awards the 10 most popular websites according to the market share of visits a website receives relative to other websites in their industry. This year’s top 10 brands include a mixture of social networks, retailers, automotive and news and media sites.



Facebook was the clear winner in 2010, ranked as both the most searched for brand and the number one website in the Social Networks and Forums category.

Social networks grab top two spots in most popular brand list

Facebook is consistently the number one search term in the UK, a major reason for its success at this year’s awards. During 2010 over 3.5% of all searches typed into Google, Yahoo! and Bing were for ‘facebook’.

Taking into account variations of Facebook with misspellings and abbreviations such as ‘facbook’, ‘fb’ or ‘facebok’ – Facebook now accounts for approximately 6% of all searches in search engines.

In second place was YouTube, the second biggest social network as measured by UK Internet visits. During 2010 visits to YouTube grew by 22%, consolidating its place as the number one video content website in the UK. Searches for ‘youtube’ now account for 1% of all Internet searches in the UK.

“Social networking is now the most popular activity online for UK Internet users,” commented Experian Hitwise’s Research Director, Robin Goad. “We know that these social networks are extremely popular, but it’s interesting to see how much impact brands like Facebook are having online against major retailers and news and media brands. The key for companies now is to make the most of the brand equity Facebook has and to ensure their own brands are represented well on sites like Facebook.”

“While some brands think that Facebook begins and ends with their fan page there are some more profound possibilities. The real value of Facebook is unlocked when something like an active fan page is placed in the context of a wider strategy. For example, using Facebook engagement to gain a level of insight into consumer preferences and using this information to deliver highly innovative and relevant social advertising campaigns,” said Paul Smith, Managing Director at Techlightenment, an Experian company.

Retail one-stop-shops increase brand equity online

Half of the top 10 most searched for brands were in the retail category. Online-only retailers eBay and Amazon were the most popular retail brands, however there was a strong performance from multi-channel retailers: Argos, Next and Tesco.

In the top 10 awards, eBay was the number one website in the Shopping and Classified – Auctions category and Next was number one for Apparel and Accessories. Amazon, Argos and Tesco were the top three entrants in the Department Stores category.

2010 was a very strong year for the top retailers with Amazon, Argos, Next and Tesco all experiencing double digit growth of Internet visits year-on-year. Visits to Tesco in particular increased by 23% between January and December 2010.

Commented Goad: “Of those retailers that have made our top 10 brands list, four of the five have benefited hugely this year from offering an ever-increasing inventory of items, making them one-stop-shops for consumers. Amazon for example has evolved from an online vendor of books and DVDs to the largest department store online. When we had severe snow last December in the UK, people were buying snow chains from Amazon instead of car specialists, and that’s a testament to the strength of the Amazon brand online.”

BBC most popular News and Media brand online

Making up the rest of the top 10 most searched for brands are the BBC, Sky and Autotrader.

Autotrader has carved its own niche as the most popular Automotive website in the UK but the battle between the BBC and Sky continues in the News and Media category.

The BBC was sixth most searched for brand in 2010, ahead of Sky in eighth place.

Coverage of major news events in 2011 including the Egypt political revolution and the Japanese earthquake will ensure these brands continue to be at the forefront of online popularity.

To see a full list of the 2010 Experian Hitwise award winners, click here.

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