by Dan Cash
In the UK social websites are now more popular than entertainment sites, British browsers are now pointed more regularly at sites like Facebook and Twitter than they are at iPlayer or sports websites.
According to Experian Hitwise social sites received 2.4 billion hits in January this year, that’s 12.46% of traffic or one eighth of all visits while sites classified as ‘entertainment’ received 12.18% of the British surfers share. That trend has made social media and networking sites the fastest growing genre online. Facebook, not surprisingly, sits at the top of the pile of social sites; they have 30 million users registered which is half of the entire population of the UK. Of all of those 2.4billion visits to social sites, 56% were directed at Facebook.
Not only is the number of visits increasing but the time spent on the site has also increased, the average time spent on Facebook, per unique visit was 22 minutes.
Experian Hitwise pointed out that due to the multiple platform networking that people do on the internet visiting one resource, Twitter say, was going to lead you to go to your friends’ and followers’ Facebook pages or LinkedIn profiles.
So, while this drives up intra-social platform traffic links and likes on profiles also direct people outward, onto news and entertainment sites like YouTube, iPlayer, sports and news providers like the BBC and newspapers’ online resources.
While networks compete for users there is no exclusivity, people can register with as many different social sites as they like and most, with the exception of Facebook, are happy for you to have more than one profile to suit different facets of your personality. So an eighth of people who leave one site immediately begin looking at another. Facebook is a key source of this type of traffic too, as people leave it they tend to go straight to other, smaller either local or niche networking sites while a fifth of people who hop off of Twitter’s twig hop onto some-one else’s.
Social networks have become a major source of traffic for many different types of websites and businesses who are prepared to engage. If your site depends on distributing content and attracting visitors then using social, and exploiting it effectively, can put you ahead of the curve when it comes to your competitors. If you have a transactional website and you still rely solely on web searches for your traffic and conversions you could be missing a trick. Making yourself social, getting a fanbase, increasing brand loyalty, using social to distribute news and special offers will all make your site and the product you’re selling a little bit tastier.
If you have a business, whether that’s you as a sole trader or if you have a multinational concern then setting up a social profile is one thing that you can do today that will be a hands down benefit for the future. Networking’s proved that it’s not just a flash in the pan, it’s an industry expectation.