I recently discussed Twitter as a great source of traffic to sites, but the even more popular Facebook can do and is doing the same thing. In fact, reports have Facebook driving even more traffic than Google to some big-name sites.Compete shows the lines between Google and Facebook getting closer together:
Facebook gets over a third of the number of unique visitors that Google does according to comScore. And it continues to grow.
“It seems inevitable that, given Facebook’s sheer scale (180 million registered users and counting), it would at some point start referring a lot of users to some sites, but the development is surprising,” says AdAge’s Michael Learmonth. “Web users go to Google to figure out where to go next; they go to Facebook to, well, hang out.”
If Facebook’s growth continues the way it has been, perhaps it should be considered Google’s greatest threat (when I say threat, I mean competition) – maybe not in general search, but in terms of where advertisers are spending their money. Certainly in the foreseeable future, people will continue using Google to search, and advertisers will continue to spend money advertising with them (probably even more now that they are doing more targeting), but Facebook also targets, and it’s not going to be overlooked. It could put a dent into AdWords revenue.
Even within search advertising, Facebook should probably not be counted out. “Much of the Facebook-driven traffic comes from links that members post via areas like ‘Notes’ and photos,” notes Tameka Kee at paidContent.org. “If Facebook’s influence as a traffic source continues to rise, the next step would be to figure out how to monetize the traffic to those areas with paid search. That would be one way to entice Microsoft to renew its search deal (and give Microsoft a better return on its $240 million investment in the social net).”