Facebook racked up one quarter of all page views in the U.S. for a week in November, dwarfing YouTube, Google and Yahoo search. The stat is minor; the potential for ad gains is not.
Facebook.com accounted for 25 percent of page views in the United
States for one week in November, up from
16.7 percent this time a year ago.
The social network, which grew 60 percent from a year ago, also logged 1 in
10 U.S. Internet visits, according to researcher HitWise
. Google notched 7 percent of visits.
The page view traffic, almost four times that of No. 2 destination YouTube and
five times that of Google, isn't a big deal on its face. It's the other stats'
ramifications for the online ad market that are huge.
Facebook also leads in online engagement time. comScore said
in September U.S.
Web users in August spent 41.1 million minutes on Facebook, compared with 39.8
million minutes on all of Google's Websites.
Google for years has been the top destination in traffic, page views and
minutes spent online, buoyed by its own search engine, Gmail and the popular
YouTube video-sharing Website.
Facebook's rise may make it the top target for advertisers seeking a larger
online audience with the social network's 500 million-plus users.
Worse still for Google is that Facebook Connect and the social plug-ins such
as the Like button
help the social network extend its tendrils outside
the Facebook.com walled garden.
So even though Facebook has no "FaceSense," or third-party ad
platform to challenge Google's AdSense, and Facebook CEO
Mark Zuckerberg gave no indication one was coming at the Web 2.0 Summit last
week, the brand saturation is there.
This is a big threat to Google, which is planning to counter Facebook by adding social layers
across its properties.
Google has already taken several steps
to address the local search and ad market, launching
Google Places, Tags ad call-outs, the Boost SMB ad platform, Place Search and
the Hotpot local recommendation engine.
However, there is no social glue connecting those Websites to keep users
visiting them for anything other than fleeting directional lookups and business
ratings and reviews.
That's a problem Google must remedy if it is to keep users coming back.