Within a week, online intelligence agency Hitwise reported two big wins for Facebook over Google: a full week of heavier traffic and a higher loyalty rate of news junkies who get their news through either portal.
Facebook and Google are increasingly going head to head — for users, functionalities and the advertising dollars that sustain either site.Facebook’s first triumph comes at no fault of Google’s, whose traffic increased by 9% over the same period last year. Facebook’s traffic, in contrast, nearly tripled, joining fellow social media giant MySpace as one of two sites who have ousted Google from the position of most trafficked site for a full week (last done in September 2007).
Of the Facebook’s second triumph over Google, Hitwise analyst Heather Hopkins writes,
“Hitwise data indicate that visitors from Facebook.com are more loyal to News and Media websites than are visitors from News.Google.com. In particular, among the top 5 Print Media websites in the week ending March 6, 2010, 78% of Facebook.com users were returning visitors compared to 67% from Google News. The figures are almost identical for Broadcast Media, with a 77% returning rate for Facebook.com compared to 64% for Google News.”
Though this may seem surprising at first glance, a closer look at a couple different aspects of either site, I think, reveals why this outcome is natural, if not obvious.
2 Characteristics to Consider: Facebook versus Google News
Beyond structural characteristics, I think it’s also fair to say that context matters. In an online environment surrounded by friends, users are more susceptible to make choices that are consistent with ‘loyal’ behavior. While this may seem like a stretch, considerable research in advertising reveals that cognitive priming of context does, indeed, affect how messages are received.
On that note, I’ll end this post with a funny but relevant cartoon about social media that I came across. Enjoy, and please feel free to share your thoughts!