Top UK search and social sites: Facebook loses ground to YouTube and Twitter


Facebook has lost further ground to YouTube and Twitter in the UK, with the micro-blogging site boosted by the ongoing super injunction row, according to new data. Experian Hitwise’s latest Search Engine and Social Analysis shows that Google and Yahoo! both lost market share in terms of searches in May 2011 as Bing, Ask and other search engines made significant gains.

Google Sites were still responsible for over 90% of UK internet searches in May, accounting for 0.32% fewer searches than in April. Year-on-year, Google Sites were also down by 1.40%, with a lower share of the search market than in May 2010.



Yahoo! Sites also lost search market share last month, dropping from 3.15% of all UK Internet searches in April to 3.08% in May.

The dip in performance for both Google and Yahoo! Sites can be attributed to Microsoft Bing’s growth in popularity.

Microsoft Sites, led by Bing, increased their market share of all UK Internet searches by 0.18% last month, taking the company to 4.26% of UK searches. Microsoft also improved on its performance in the search market year-on-year with a 1.26% increase in searches.

Although not as prominent as Bing, Ask Sites saw growth in May improving their market share of searches by 0.10% and the niche search engines included in the Other category also saw growth of 0.10% between April and May 2011.

“Google is still very much in the driving seat when it comes to search, and May’s minor loss in market share does little to dent the 90% share Google has in this field,” commented Experian Hitwise’s Research Director, Robin Goad.

“However, the more interesting trends are to look at year-on-year changes in the search market, where Microsoft is taking market share away from Google. The key will be if Microsoft can continue this trend and mount a stronger challenge on Google.”

Facebook loses further ground to YouTube and Twitter

YouTube and Twitter were the fastest growing social networks in May, whilst market leader Facebook lost market share of visits for a third consecutive month. YouTube consolidated its position as the second biggest social network in the UK, accounting for 20.52% of all UK Internet visits to social networks during the month.

Meanwhile Twitter had its biggest ever month of UK Internet visits, peaking on 21 May when the website accounted for 1 in every 184 UK Internet visits.

The growth of YouTube and Twitter during May had an impact on Facebook’s market share, which dropped to 53.61% of all visits to social networks for the month. Overall seven of the top 10 most popular social networks in the UK gained market share of visits in May, whilst Facebook, Moshi Monsters and MySpace all lost market share.

Robin Goad added: “It has been a pretty extraordinary month for Twitter, with more visits coming to the website than ever before. Twitter has carved a niche for itself as an excellent platform through which Internet users can share and consume news.

"As the micro-blogging platform becomes more mainstream marketers need to be able to monitor what is being said about their brand and how they can engage with this ever increasing audience online. Twitter is no longer purely in the domain of early-adopters; rather it is becoming a mainstream tool which is being used increasingly by all types of Internet users, regardless of their online preferences.”

Super Injunction row

Twitter saw its traffic shoot up as a result of the ongoing controversy surrounding super-injunctions.

"Twitter had its highest ever peak in UK Internet visits [on] 9 May 2011 due to the extraordinary revelations of the super injunction scandal, which exposed the identities of several high profile celebrities," wrote Goad.

"Visits to Twitter increased by 14 per cent on 9 May, accounting for 0.49 per cent of total internet visits that day. Twitter also became the 17th most popular website in the UK, up from the rank of 19th on 8 May 2011."

Twitter is not the only web site to have benefited from increased interest, and in the last week Experian has seen 500 unique search terms, all including the words super injunction typed into internet search engines at Google, Bing and Yahoo.

All told, searches for the controversial term have increased by 5,000 per cent in the UK in the last month.


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